Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Eating What?!

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
~Mark Strand, "Eating Poetry," Reasons for Moving, 1968

I remember being in a poetry class at Westminster College and reading these lines. I distinctly remember the physicality these lines portrayed to my brain.

Those few lines actually made my mouth feel full.

I'd always liked poetry, but something about these particular words gave chewable form to that fact.

Then, today at the Library, where we are of course celebrating April as National Poetry Month, I read the New York Times Book Review from April 2nd (we're a little behind in our reading at work). The essay on the back page by Jim Holt is called Got Poetry? The Case for Memorizing Poetry. In the essay, of course, the author asserts a great case for memorizing poetry.

(He also says that not everyone needs an iPod. That instead of having an iPod, you could be memorizing poetry. Apparently, he hasn't run into my iPod, on which resides the complete recitation of Beowulf in the original Anglo Saxon whatnot. You can ignore his iPod remark is my point.)

Anyway, reading that essay made me remember how much I used to love to memorize poems. When I was younger, I actually used to tape up poems that I liked to the wall next to my bed. At night, while I was falling asleep, I would try to memorize them.

I know. Hang on while I turn off the flashing GEEK sign over my head.

(Actually, the GEEK sign will probably never stop flashing after the earlier Beowulf admittance.)


Among the things I read before bed were Shakespeare, Shelley, Blake, Dickinson. I can even still remember the summer I memorized the first part of Khubla Khan, which is one of my absolute faves. I also liked Shel Silverstein. And, a million others.

(Of course, my Blisschick writes beautiful poetry, and she is my absolute favorite contemporary poet. But, I didn't know her when I was in my memorizing stage. If you haven't read any, check some out here.)

My point here is that poetry used to be a way bigger part of my life. I feel sad that I've lost that. I mean, it's actually not really gone anywhere (unless Miss Zoe has perhaps eaten all the poetry), but it is sort of missing from my life right now.

"What poetry? I'm not (lick, lick) licking my lips.
I haven't eaten any poetry. Whatever do you mean?"

But tonight, all that will begin to change.

Tonight, the Blisschick and I, along with our Writing Group and our good friend Miss Kitty are going to Gannon University to see and hear Li-Young Lee, one of our most well known and greatest contemporary poets.

I have to admit, though he is one of the Blisschick's faves, I don't know that much about him, nor have I read much of his poetry.

But, you know what? It doesn't even matter.

The point is just to go. And sit. And listen. And absorb.

The point is to eat some yummy poetry like it's a delicious and expensive meal that includes a kick-butt bottle of Petite Shiraz or Chianti and a chocolate dessert that you have room in your tummy for.

Maybe this summer I'll start memorizing some poems again like I used to.

In fact, I'm going to ask Miss Zoe right now what her favorite poem is. We'll start with that one.

Oh, and Happy Poetry Month. Try reading some poems to celebrate!!


Emma said...

Happy Poetry Month to you, too! I didn't realize it was Poetry Month. This is giving me ideas... To Be Continued!

Anyway, I hope the event tonight is wonderful and delicious! :)

Kavindra said...

Oh Li Young Lee! It makes my heart race!

Happy poetry month, munch munch.

Marcy said...

he did make our heart race!!!

he was awesome!!!