Saturday, September 25, 2010

Poetry Mix Tape: Ordinary Things

I try to start my year with poems students will enjoy. When they come to me, their exposure to good poetry is fairly limited. So what I want to help them do is realize how fun poetry is. I do this with some silly rhyming poems, but also with poems that have poetry moves that they can easily understand and enjoy, moves like metaphor and repetition and multiple meanings. (I used Hughes to talk about a lot of these things).

Now, I like to hit them with free verse and show them that poetry can truly be about anything. Check that. Not just anything. But ANYTHING. There are no limits really, I tell them, when it comes to where poems "hide."

In that spirit, for the next few weeks we'll be reading poems about everyday, commonplace, mundane, and ordinary things. This Mix Tape may be the easiest to add to for the wonderful readers out there. So feel free to comment and contribute more poems. But here's my Mix Tape of poems about ordinary things, also known as poems that make the ordinary seem extraordinary...

The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams
Between Walls by William Carlos Williams
Daddy Longlegs by Ted Kooser
Gas Pump by Jed Chambers (can't find this one anywhere but here -- scroll down to find it)
Safety Pin by Valerie Worth
Ode to My Socks by Pablo Neruda
To Television by Robert Pinsky
The Broken Sandal by Denise Levertov
The Heron by Linda Hogan

And finally, I'm not sure if this qualifies, but it is a poem about an ordinary situation involving ordinary things. And it paints a vivid, beautiful picture of the situation...

In the Basement of the Goodwill Store

In musty light, in the thin brown air   
of damp carpet, doll heads and rust,   
beneath long rows of sharp footfalls   
like nails in a lid, an old man stands   
trying on glasses, lifting each pair
from the box like a glittering fish   
and holding it up to the light
of a dirty bulb. Near him, a heap   
of enameled pans as white as skulls   
looms in the catacomb shadows,   
and old toilets with dry red throats   
cough up bouquets of curtain rods.

Read the rest at the Poetry Foundation, please. And, of course, add your favorite "ordinary" poems in the 

1 comment:

  1. The Pablo Neruda poem and "Between Walls" are ones that I will save -- thanks for sharing them!