Don't mind me. I've just been asleep for two days. I didn't realize how worn out I was until I fell asleep watching porn (kidding [or am I?])
At any rate, April is National Poetry Month, and while I don't spend much time talking about poetry on this blog, I do love it. Unlike some others I know, I am a reacreational poetry reader as I find that I often just don't get it the way I "get" novels, short stories, comics, etc. Poetry is my own personal bastard stepchild literary nemesis, but I still like to tackle it, take it for a ride, and see what I get out of it. And, more importantly, once the affair begins with a particular poem, I will love it loyally until the day I die.
In honor of the Billy Collins interview in the April issue of Estella, I'll start the April poetry lovefest with one of his poems. I don't remember the day or year I discovered Billy Collins--one of his two stints as Poet Laureate, I'm sure--but I do know he did a reading on The Today Show. The poem was "The Lanyard," and I found it disarmingly simple, funny, and charming. As I've read through his books I would still choose those three words to describe his work, but I certainly don't mean to imply that his poems are low on "literariness." The simple ones often hide a wealth of complexity.
One of my favorites, and fittingly so:
"Introduction to Poetry"
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide.
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to water-ski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
If you're interested in doing something special for poetry month, go to Poets.org and sign up to receive a poem a day in your e-mail inbox. Their offerings for April are all from new works, so it won't be a barrage of the classics you've read a dozen times.