Guest Post: A Skeptic Recommends Three Poems for National Poetry Month

This guest post was written by Isaiah Vianese. You can read his blog and selected poems here.

I should warrant a disclaimer: I once wrote a lot of poems, and sometimes I still actually read the stuff, so you might want to be skeptical of what I tell you. However, to give myself some credibility with the cynics out there, I confess I do not care for Poetry these days. We are on hard times. Poetry can be boring, obtuse, self-indulgent, and pretentious. Sometimes when I get together with Poetry, all he wants to talk about is himself; he can be a complete narcissist.

Though I am not writing poems, I have a few glimmers of hope that my past several years with Poetry have not been wasted. These glimmers are the following poems, which show that the genre can be fun, kind, and accessible. Perhaps they are just raft-boats evacuating the Titanic, or the last few kisses goodbye. Either way, even if you do not read any other poems this month or the rest of the year, I suggest you give these a try. They keep me hoping for reconciliation.

“Kinky” by Denise Duhamel

Duhamel writes poetry like standup comedy, and her Barbie poems are the best examples of her work. When I taught poetry, I would start with this poem, which is the title piece for a collection about America’s most famous fashion doll. Duhamel can charm the most dour doubting Thomas.

“Fun” by Wyn Cooper

Does this poem sound familiar? If it makes you think about Sheryl Crow, you are onto something. She adapted the piece as the lyrics for her hit, “All I Wanna Do.” The poem brims with breezy optimism, and it makes you want a good beer.

“Turtle” by Kay Ryan

Ryan writes poetry for the little guy. She writes for the person who looks at his position and smirks at its humility. “Turtle” is a good example of all her poems, which take pleasure in rhyme, humor, and word play. She recognizes that such devices make verse, like Dr. Seuss books, so appealing to us when we are young. So, she bottles that magic in poems for adults. Her work, more than any other, reminds me that I could still love poetry.

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