test for poetry

Will the poem follow you? Will the poem affix itself to you? Will the poem inflect the course of your life?


Joseph Hutchison said...

Thirteen Ways a Poet Reads a Poem
by Joseph Hutchison


1) I know what it’s doing,
but I could make
a poem myself
that did the same.

2) I know what it’s doing,
and knowing I could
never do it, I also know
I’d never want to.

3) Knowing what it’s doing,
I know I could never
make a poem do it
but would kill if I could.

4) I don’t know what
it’s doing and suspect
the poet also doesn’t have
the faintest clue either.

5) I don’t know what it’s doing,
and my knocks at the door
have gone unanswered,
and there’s no welcome mat,
no place at all to look for a key.

6) Though I don’t know
what it’s doing, I can’t stop
re-reading it, beguiled
by this dreamy commotion
between my ears.


7) I know what my poem
is doing but know,
too, that any trained
monkey could do it.

8) I know what my poem
is doing and yes, I never
wanted it to do it but it’s
doing it anyway.

9) What I know about what
my poem is doing, and what
I don’t know about why,
weigh the same, and I know
I must honor that balance.

10) What my poem is doing
I don’t know, and moreover
fear it may be onanistic,
though maybe it’s only a way
to pass time before the living end.

11) I don’t know what it’s doing,
my poem, and have thrown
many pebbles in the night
at my own bedroom window,
in vain.

12) My poem is doing something,
though I don’t know what,
but I keep rewriting it as if
I knew why—lost in the dark
bardo of that “as if”.


13) I know
that I don’t know
what I’m doing
writing this.
Et tu, Reader,
reading it?
If you do know,
lend me your tongue!
The suspense is
killing me.

Yes, not really a poem ... nevertheless...

JforJames said...

A kind of taxonomy of poetic approaches. And amusing too.