I've been reading poems about poetry with my students this week. We started with Eve Merriam's brilliant "How to Eat a Poem" and then moved on to one I recently discovered that I thought was a nice follow-up, "Eating Poetry" by Mark Strand. I think my students enjoyed the former, but they weren't really sure if the latter made sense to them. (Although it did give me a chance to stress to them that you don't have to understand a poem completely to really like it.)
Then today we read another Merriam poem that is pretty new to me. It's called "In Reply to the Question 'How Do You Become a Poet?'" It goes like this...
- take the leaf of a tree
trace its exact shape
the outside edges
and inner lines
- memorize the way it is fastened to the twig
(and how the twig arches from the branch)
how it springs forth in April
how it is panoplied in July
Read the rest here. It's splendid, isn't it? I love the word "panoplied" and is there a kind of play with "forth" and "July" or am I making that up in my head?
By the way, a few spots below "Poems About Poetry" on my list, right between "McSweeney's" and "Lucky Charms" and "Using the Word 'Splendid'" (they are tied), are "Poems with Great Endings." This poem fits into that category, too. Looks like "Poems by Eve Merriam" might need to crack the top-50 during my next list revision.
P.S. Although I posted this on Wednesday, it's been a busy week, so I'm going to pass it off as my Poetry Friday post, too! Be sure to check out the round up at a wrung sponge.