National Poetry Month card #13

National Poetry Month greeting card with Billy Collins

I’m doing one of these a day until the end of April. To send it, copy the permalink or the image file link into an email, tweet, Facebook DM, etc. — or just download and make free with the image.

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  1. The alert reader will notice that the card shortens the quote from Collins’ “Introduction to Poetry” a little, omitting the words “with rope,” which I find utterly superfluous.

    By the way, here’s the best response to Collins’ dictums I’ve seen: “Poetry for Dummies.”


  2. You’re a funny, mad poet. With a good point. Rope is superfluous. Linguine would not have been.


    1. Collins’ inclusion of the rope makes me think he relished the image maybe a bit too much. Probably an S&M enthusiast.


  3. Even telephone cord would be a little bit unexpected.

    A little S&M might add a touch of something — ambiguity? excitement?

    Love the postcard. Love the article at the link.


    1. USB cord? Nah, probably more poetry in a telephone cord, for those who still remember what that is.


  4. Art withstands scrutiny: amen.

    Collins is not an S&M enthusiast, but rather an enthusiast’s device.

    If only Louise Bogan could be unearthed for one last round of New Yorker poetry reviews.


    1. Louise Bogan! There’s a poet’s poet. The only dispeptic observation of hers that has stuck with me was the one about the pressure to produce that she felt most of her fellow poets had succumbed to. As I recall, she maintained that there was nothing wrong — and a lot right — with spending a year writing a single poem. One wonders what she would’ve made of NaPoWriMo.


  5. The rope wouldn’t be superfluous if it had been a noose. Now that’s strangling a poem out of every nuance.


  6. Miss Bogan from the grave hones her sharp knife, and dreams of NaPoWriMo’s neck. But surely it would be an honor to be the subject of her vivisection.

    Feh on those who dismiss her as a minor poet, particularly as that judgment surely rests in part upon her refusal to publish less than her best. Although I do gather that her relatively pauce output was due not only to a perfectionist personality as tightly wound as the lyrics, but also to being often tight.

    Do people no longer read her? Say, those editors at the New York Times Book Review who published Katha Pollitt’s Forwarding Address: “old postcards/rave in their box like the sea.” Compare Bogan’s Packet of Letters: “In the shut drawer, even now, they rave and grieve”.


    1. Other people’s critical judgements about who’s major and whose minor don’t trouble me in the least — though I admit I was taken aback the other week when someone on the Women’s Poetry (WOMPO) listserv said her doctoral advisors steered her away from writing a PhD on Sylvia Plath because “she’s not considered a major poet.” There are so many problems with that attitude…

      I haven’t read Bogan in a long time, and now I’m thinking I should, as soon as I’m done the book I’m re-reading right now (Patricia Fargnoli’s Necessary Light — highly recommended).


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