Welcome from Amy D. Unsworth

Language, Literature, Learning & Life.

Pocket a Parsley Poem

The Academy (poets.org) wants everyone to carry around a poem in their pocket to celebrate April and Poetry and such. I don't know what to carry this year. I carry a few in my heart by Auden, by Lux, by Kenyon, by Hirshfield, and more, and more.

This year, I'm thinking about carrying one of Billy Collin's poems. He has a great take off of the Three Blind Mice nursery rhyme. I think non-poetry inclined people might enjoy it (maybe even more that avowed poetry people:

I Chop Some Parsley While
Listening To Art Blakey's Version Of "Three Blind Mice."

(Thanks to another blogger. . .)

Now this one is fun, yet touching in its own odd way. I enjoy the long "Chinese" style of the title, the playfulness of the theme, the empathy, the "jazz riff" style of the poem and the good sensual detail. I think it's also fun, because the poem asks all the questions I wanted to ask as a kid. (Nursery Rhymes don't always make much sense and it's rather reassuring to think that someone else notices these oddities too.)

In the sixth grade class where I teach both reading & writing poetry once a week, this has been a nice introduction to poetry. At the beginning of the year, I open with this one. The kids like playing with nursery rhymes, since it gives them something to write down and musses up the blankness of the page: a start. And that's a great thing, somewhere to start thinking about language as not just as story but as a way of playing. Play leads to love of words, love of words leads to adeptness of language, and taken together with a nudge in the right direction the two will lead to poetry.

I'll not lie though, I'm always pleased to find someone who will talk difficult with me, who will get down to the very words, and wrestle with the poem's ideas (meaning and significance), and find 13 ways of looking. And discuss theory, or theology, or etymology, or contexts, and literary allusions; and how these influence our interpretation of the poem. Oh, but how few and far between those exchanges are. But I look for those conversations, and I think about poetry even if I must read alone, all by myself.

What will you poem will you put in your pocket? April is sneaking up, while March tries to decide: lion or lamb. And the daffodils push up through the mulch, tempting us to forget snow, and ice, and cold for another year.

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