October 08


Poetry for the Weary

I went to a poetry reading on Monday night. It had already been a long day of student meetings and emails to catch up on – not to mention helping with the First Year Career Expo all afternoon. So, needless to say, I was dragging by the time I sat down next to my department colleagues and my students in the campus auditorium to listen to a program called “A Trio of Poets.”

What I listened to, however, shook me out of my Monday-inspired weariness. The three poets all brought their unique take on what “poetry” and “art” really are: memories of childhood and working at a dry cleaner by painter/poet Kate Greenstreet (who informed us that she didn’t really “become” a poet until she was 57); musings about nature and splinters and stolen shopping carts by Adam Clay, a poet I first heard read in that same auditorium six years ago during my first semester as a professor; and funny, profanity-laced random outbursts by Peter Davis, the kind of writer and professor who could make any hater embrace a book of poems.

Davis’s book, Tina – featuring poems directed to a non-existent “Tina” – was a great find for me, and I was happy to stand in line behind countless poor college students to purchase a copy.

Here’s my favorite so far … just to pique interests for your own bedside reading:

tinaA Note to Tina, Peter Davis

No matter what anyone says,
you’ve got a beautiful way about you that
suggests something more, better
than regular grammar. I was thinking
of assailing you with metaphorical examples
but instead decided on nothing. Thus,
we find ourselves in the midst of this,
perhaps bored or stunned dumb.
There is no other way of displaying this
to the world, but, believe me,
if I could make a billboard I would.
I would put it on your highway.
You would drive by me and say, Ah.
It’s like a Poison album, but different.