Thursday, September 30, 2021

Poetry For Dummies

Remember the old Cliff Notes which were more enjoyable than Shakespeare itself. You’d get the best lines and an easy to understand summary of the plot. Reading Shakespeare is almost as bad as having to go to a production of one of the plays. Now comes Poetry for Dummies. Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Bishop are undoubtedly great but why try to figure out the conceits and double entendres in each line when someone can do it for you? Reading “Sailing to Byzantium” or “The Four Quartets” in the original is like traveling by buggy when you have a Tesla in the driveway. Louise Gluck, who won the Nobel, can be difficult, but help is coming along with “Howl” and “Coney Island of the Mind.” Is it heroic to read “The Rape of the Lock,” just because of the couplets. But let’s get back to “Howl” which will make you "laugh" after you read Poetry For Dummies.
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked/ dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix…” Great gag huh? Then there’s Larkin’s famous opener “They fuck you up your mum and dad…they fill you with the faults they had.” You react with a surprised “what ?’” Then you come to a modern masterpiece like Dorothea Lasky’s “Porn,” with the memorable “I just watched a woman fuck a hired hand.” If nothing else Poetry For Dummies will help you to navigate all the fucks. Don’t be a dummy and get caught with your pants down. There’s nothing worse than waxing poetic when you’ve got wax in your ears. 

Read "When a Stranger Doesn't Call" by Francis Levy, HuffPost 

and check out, "Got to Give It Up" by Marvin Gaye

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