Teaching that (in)famous “Poetry”


Michael Dickel

(apologies to Marianne Moore)

Her (dis)like of poetry showed through
her pure contempt while reading it. She thought
high interpretation of the unintelligible half poets
elevated an autopsy to a false revery for birth, and
that all the academics criticize what they understand
would be detrimental to their careers. She wanted
a genuine toad, not a prince, an imaginary secret
garden, no flowers, a raw poem eaten, savored,
complete with a belch after gulping beer.

My students hate the image of an autopsy,
don’t like to consider births except in the abstract,
think if someone says “poetry,” then, poetry.

Abstract amphibious poetry
Digital art from photos
©2017 Michael Dickel

What use definitions, declinations, nuance
or inflections? Metaphors just hide the truth,
what matters comes out straight and clear.
Who cares about red wheelbarrows,
blackbirds, or pigeons, for that matter?

And certainly, they argue, we don’t dislike
all that we don’t understand.


Originally appeared in Fragmentarily/ Metaphor(e) /Play.


© 2017, Michael Dickel

2 thoughts on “Teaching Poetry | Michael Dickel

  1. You have so much more experience with poetry than I, but as I was reading this, I kept thinking, “Give them some beat poets to read. They’ll have their fill of nitty-gritty poetry soon enough!” lol 🙂 Thanks for making me smile this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

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