Monday, May 29, 2006

The War of the Poets

Via the New York Times, this link to a fun contest that pits two poets 'against' each other (well, not really, but you know), giving them an inspiration for a poem and 15 minutes to write the poem in. Good stuff. Aristophanes would have been so proud.

The inspiration for the first contest was Elizabeth Bishop's paragraph about how poetry is an unnatural act. You can read the final poems on the contest's website. I thought Moss's version was interesting, but Muldoon's was crap (it wasn't a bad poem, exactly, it just had almost nothing to do with the inspiration).

Never one to give up on a challenge, I figured I'd try my hand at it too - obviously, I have no way of proving that I wrote this in 15 minutes, so you'll just have to take my word for it*.

Poetry is an unnatural act

Like sodomy.

Both impress by inflicting pain.
Both are concerned with the penetration of life,
With the forcing of one's emotions
Onto something external -
Whether page or ass.

Both are acts of desperation
Perpetuated by aging, lonely men
Hungry for love
Who seek innocence by betraying it,
Achieving climax in another's tears.

Both are misunderstood.
* To be honest, it was probably more like 16 and a half, but I'm giving myself a little leeway for the fact that I was in the middle of lunch when I started thinking about the 'topic', and it was only some five minutes later that I thought - hey! maybe I should try this. So the actual writing of the thing probably took about 10.

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ozymandiaz said...

Ya know, this explains alot actually. Now I know why so many of the comments left on my poetry blog have the words "ass" and "pain" incorporated...

Anonymous said...

not bad at all 2x3x7...but couldnt get the hang of the 'Both are acts of desperation
Perpetuated by aging, lonely men' in it dosent seem to fit in the whole context...maybe maintains the coherence but deviates from the theme...but again my understanding of poetry is of a maybe you can add something...

Anonymous said...

just as an aside: anal sex is not painful after a while, though obviously that was not your point;)

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