(Cross-posted from Pantoums and Persistence.)
Even the non-poetry blogs are talking about Elizabeth Alexander’s poem and its delivery at the inauguration. I had wanted to make a comment about it, nearly identical to Jeannine’s regarding poems that fall flat and Evie’s note on Alexander’s reading style, but there is something to be said for not adding negativity to the universe.
I have come to praise Elizabeth Bartlett‘s poetry. I have come to extol her cynicism, her music of the everyday, her flights of fantasy, the blood and the dirt beneath her nails which have gone into her poems. I have come too late.
by Elizabeth Bartlett (published in A Lifetime of Dying: Poems 1942-1979)
We are the ones with Faberge’s eggs
concealed about our persons, or walking
humpty-dumpty up the ante-natal clinic path.
No doubt you wish we were not here at all,
gazing out over the heads of sleeping children
at the boxes which are our homes, and gardens
full of prams and strung with washing line.
We are the ones who don’t appear too much,
the ones which modern English poetry
could do without. We don’t hold degrees,
except perhaps of feeling, the mercury
shooting up and down like crazy.
Oh lord, the thermometers we break,
the sweaty sheets in which we lie awake.
We have no O levels, or A levels either.
We didn’t fight and we didn’t win,
we only ran to get the washing in.
Look out, you just missed us
as you crossed the crowded campus.
We were only there to clean the floors
and hand your morning coffee out.
Hey everyone! My name’s Jeannine Hall Gailey, and I’m excited to be a part of this blog project. I’ve just moved from Seattle to San Deigo and started teaching a poetry seminar at National University. My first book, Becoming the Villainess, was published by Steel Toe Books in 2006. Poems from the book were featured on NPR’s the Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor, Verse Daily, and in 2007’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. I’m working on two new books, one on fairy tale characters trapped in sleep, towers, and coffins and another on Japanese pop culture and folk tales. I volunteer at Crab Creek Review as a consulting editor and write poetry book reviews and essays on a regular basis. My blog is listed in the links, if you want to keep up with my goings-on, readings, etc, and you can learn more about me at www.webbish6.com. Hey, this post is peppered with links!
I think it’s really important for people to have fun with poetry. To paraphrase an old evangelical saying, it’s a sin to bore people with poetry. So, to that end, I write a lot about popular culture – the culture that binds me and my x-er generation together! Let’s see, what else…I have a very supportive, poetry-loving engineer husband and two less supportive cats, do a little journalism on the side, and spent ten years as a web and technical writing manager before I became “serious” about poetry. I’m looking forward to doing more with this blog collective!