Sunday, August 15, 2010

Your Sunday Poem

Interesting snippet from the Aug 2 L.A. Times, “E-poems? A wait o’er font, integrity issues.” Seems that poetry and the new e-books won’t be an easy fit because “publishers and e-book makers have not figured out how the integrity of a poem can be guaranteed. “A three-line stanza might be expanded to four if a line is to long or a four-line stanza compressed into three if the second and fourth lines have sharp indentations . . . and a displaced word, even a comma can alter a poem’s meaning as surely as skipping a note changes a song.”

“The critical difference between prose and poetry is that prose is kind of like water and will become the shape of any vessel you pour it into,” poet Billy Collins says. “Poetry is like a piece of sculpture and can easily break.”

So, for now, there may be limited e-poetry work available as technology tries to catch up this ancient form. And many people think poems are just words arranged weirdly on a page, any page. Nope. Which is why book designers are so critical for any printed work, and why a well designed book is just a joy to look at while turning each page over and over and over. This is especially true for a book of poetry. Which is why I keep reminding you to support your favorite (and some new) poets; buy their (real) books.

And now for Tony Hoagland, from his latest book, “Unincorporated persons in the Late Honda Dynasty.”

The Loneliest Job in the World.

As soon as you begin to ask the question, Who loves me?,
you are completely screwed, because
the next question is How Much?,

and then it is hundreds of hours later,
and you are still hunched over
your flowcharts and abacus,

trying to decide if you have gotten enough.
This is the loneliest job in the world:
to be an accountant of the heart.

It is late at night. You are by yourself,
and all around you, you can hear
the sounds of people moving

in and out of love,
pushing the turnstiles, putting
their coins in the slots,

paying the price which is asked,
which constantly changes.
No one knows why.


franc4 said...

I curse you--not really--for your posting of poetry a while back, which made me hungry for something I never thought about, because I never tried to understand, I guess.
You've "created a monster", so to speak. (I'm considered that already by most responders of your blog) I find myself looking up stuff like "iambic pentameter" and "ballad metre" ,etc.
What's to become of me?
Seriously....thank you!

Churadogs said...

Franc4. Hooray for you. But don't get stuck in technical stuff. Just start reading. Billy Collins is wonderfully accessible. Ditto Mary Oliver. There's collections of poetry at the library to brouse through. Sip them all like a fine brandy, let them sink slowly in and unforld. Sometimes it'll take a while and repeated visits to the same poem before it begins to reveal it's deeper levels.