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  1.  (10002.1)
    Yeah that's right. Do it.

    thought this DOES qualify for the beat poetry thread...

    • CommentTimeJul 3rd 2011
    Best? Andrew Marvel's "To His Coy Mistress." Not likely to turn up on youtube, he's been dead for centuries. Keats' "Ode On A Grecian Urn" is a close second.

    Best performances of poems? I was in a little folk music circle, and a woman who'd previously demonstrated no particular talent announce she'd set Lord Byron's "So We'll Go No More A'Rovin'" to music. It was incredible. I memorized the poem and her melody in that one hearing.

    On the other end of the spectrum, Frank Hayes (hilarious songwriter, columnist for Computerworld), once sang the opening stanzas of "Howl" to the tune of "Little Bunny Foo-Foo." Just astoundingly wrong.
    • CommentTimeJul 3rd 2011
    Pablo Neruda, Gloria Anzaldua, Emily Dickenson, a guy I used to know named Peter

    I'm crap with poetry on nearly every level. Most of it I don't particularly care for or I ignore it as poetry and enjoy it for the stories/visuals (e.g. Shakespeare, Edger A Poe). Because I feel very }:/ about most poetry I've ended up avoiding it even though I'm sure there's stuff out there that even a plebeian like me would like.

    I don't know what it means that overwhelmingly I appreciate verse in Spanish over English. I like the elasticity of meaning, maybe.
    • CommentTimeJul 4th 2011

    A neat piece from a group of Frost poems that got set to music by Randall Thomson:

      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeJul 4th 2011
    @ Birds _Use_Stars - Burroughs is Hip, not Beat. there's a difference. I used to have a collection of essays about Burroughs that made this point but I sold it. Burroughs never thought of himself as Beat but he just got conflated with them.

    I used to be big into Bukowski but largely grew out of him. "Play The Piano Drunk" is still one of my favorite books of his, though.

    A.A. Milne's "Now I Am Six" is one of my favorite poems of all time.

    I've published some poetry here and there (mainly in a magazine called Taddle Creek - they have a website and everything. If you go to, you can find it.) Most of it's doggerel but I'm fairly proud of it, I guess.
      CommentAuthorHEY APATHY!
    • CommentTimeJul 4th 2011 edited
    if it don't ryhme it ain't poetry. I don't know, whatever,
    these ain't obscure but they are pretty good ...

    Tyger, Tyger, burning bright
    In the forests of the night,
    What immortal hand or eye
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

    In what distant deeps or skies
    Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
    On what wings dare he aspire?
    What the hand dare seize the fire?

    And what shoulder, & what art,
    Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
    And when thy heart began to beat,
    What dread hand? & what dread feet?

    What the hammer? what the chain?
    In what furnace was thy brain?
    What the anvil? what dread grasp
    Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

    When the stars threw down their spears
    And water'd heaven with their tears,
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

    Tyger, Tyger, burning bright
    In the forests of the night,
    What immortal hand or eye
    Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


    The Tyger by Blake

    and of course

  2.  (10002.7)
    "I sailed away in a paper ship, Away on an unknown sea; And all the fishes were hollow, my dear, And all of them swam at me."
    THE PAPER SHIP and all the rest of The Anyhow Stories by Lucy Lane
  3.  (10002.8)
    oh yeah forgot about my all time favorite poem

    Yesterday upon the stair
    I met a man who wasn’t there
    He wasn’t there again today
    Oh, how I wish he’d go away
    When I came home last night at three
    The man was waiting there for me
    But when I looked around the hall
    I couldn’t see him there at all!
    Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
    Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door
    Last night I saw upon the stair
    A little man who wasn’t there
    He wasn’t there again today
    Oh, how I wish he’d go away
    "Antigonish" (1899)
    William Hughes Mearns
  4.  (10002.9)
    oh nice ones imaginary! ( I can't sleep!!! so I will google your recommended poets instead ...)
    • CommentTimeJul 5th 2011 edited
    • CommentTimeJul 5th 2011
    • CommentAuthorGordon
    • CommentTimeJul 5th 2011
    A Story That Could Be True
    by William Stafford

    If you were exchanged in the cradle and
    your real mother died
    without ever telling the story
    then no one knows your name,
    and somewhere in the world
    your father is lost and needs you
    but you are far away

    He can never find
    how true you are, how ready.
    when the great wind comes
    and the robberies of the rain
    you stand on the corner shivering.
    The people who go by--
    you wonder at their calm.

    They miss the whisper that runs
    any day in your mind,
    "Who are you really, wanderer?"
    and the answer you have to give
    no matter how dark and cold
    the world around you is:
    "Maybe I'm a king."
  5.  (10002.13)
    Bars Poetica by Bob Hicok

    This is the story I’ve tried to tell. Guy
    exists. Father mother sister brother.
    Oh pretty stars, oh bastard moon
    I see you watching me. The trembling
    years leading to sex, the trembling sex.
    Death as garnish. Death as male lead,
    female lead, death as a cast
    of thousands. God in, on, as, with,
    to, around, because who knows
    because. All the while feeling air’s
    a quilt of tongues, that spaces
    between words are more articulate
    than words. It’s not like you’d hope,
    that anyone can make sense.
    Look around you, let your ears
    breathe deep — almost no one does.
    Have another drink. When they throw us out
    there’s a place down the street
    that never closes, after that
    we’ll climb a fire escape and praise
    the genealogy of light. The Big Bang
    sounds like what it was, the fucking
    that got everything under way.
    That love was there from the start
    is all I’ve been trying to say.
    • CommentTimeJul 5th 2011
    The Benjamin Franklin of Monogamy

    by Jeffrey McDaniel

    Reminiscing in the drizzle of Portland, I notice
    the ring that's landed on your finger, a massive
    insect of glitter, a chandelier shining at the end

    of a long tunnel. Thirteen years ago, you hid the hurt
    in your voice under a blanket and said there's two kinds
    of women—those you write poems about

    and those you don't. It's true. I never brought you
    a bouquet of sonnets, or served you haiku in bed.
    My idea of courtship was tapping Jane's Addiction

    lyrics in Morse code on your window at three A.M.,
    whiskey doing push-ups on my breath. But I worked
    within the confines of my character, cast

    as the bad boy in your life, the Magellan
    of your dark side. We don't have a past so much
    as a bunch of electricity and liquor, power

    never put to good use. What we had together
    makes it sound like a virus, as if we caught
    one another like colds, and desire was merely

    a symptom that could be treated with soup
    and lots of sex. Gliding beside you now,
    I feel like the Benjamin Franklin of monogamy,

    as if I invented it, but I'm still not immune
    to your waterfall scent, still haven't developed
    antibodies for your smile. I don't know how long

    regret existed before humans stuck a word on it.
    I don't know how many paper towels it would take
    to wipe up the Pacific Ocean, or why the light

    of a candle being blown out travels faster
    than the luminescence of one that's just been lit,
    but I do know that all our huffing and puffing

    into each other's ears—as if the brain was a trick
    birthday candle—didn't make the silence
    any easier to navigate. I'm sorry all the kisses

    I scrawled on your neck were written
    in disappearing ink. Sometimes I thought of you
    so hard one of your legs would pop out

    of my ear hole, and when I was sleeping, you'd press
    your face against the porthole of my submarine.
    I'm sorry this poem has taken thirteen years

    to reach you. I wish that just once, instead of skidding
    off the shoulder blade's precipice and joyriding
    over flesh, we'd put our hands away like chocolate

    to be saved for later, and deciphered the calligraphy
    of each other's eyelashes, translated a paragraph
    from the volumes of what couldn't be said.
  6.  (10002.15)
    @ Edwin -Yes that some AWESOME forgotten lore !!! qouth stan the man forevermore ...
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2011
    @dorkmuffin - through all the really great turns of words in that one, this simple bit is what really hit me:

    I'm sorry this poem has taken thirteen years

    to reach you.

    Very nice!

    Here I'm posting not the whole thing, which is just really long, but maybe the best part, and it stands on it's own as a fragment:

    Morning Song From "Senlin" - Conrad Aiken

    IT is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning
    When the light drips through the shutters like the dew,
    I arise, I face the sunrise,
    And do the things my fathers learned to do.
    Stars in the purple dusk above the rooftops
    Pale in a saffron mist and seem to die,
    And I myself on a swiftly tilting planet
    Stand before a glass and tie my tie.

    Vine-leaves tap my window,
    Dew-drops sing to the garden stones,
    The robin chirps in the chinaberry tree
    Repeating three clear tones.

    It is morning. I stand by the mirror
    And tie my tie once more.
    While waves far off in a pale rose twilight
    Crash on a white sand shore.
    I stand by a mirror and comb my hair:
    How small and white my face!—
    The green earth tilts through a sphere of air
    And bathes in a flame of space.
    There are houses hanging above the stars
    And stars hung under a sea...
    And a sun far off in a shell of silence
    Dapples my walls for me...


    Read those 8 lines and don't get the neckhair prickle, I dare you!
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2011 edited
    Nah, this is the best version of The Raven:
  7.  (10002.18)
    Having failed to find an on-line copy of his 'Selected Poems' (2009), which I've currently lost in the chaos of my house, here's one of the most well known poems by Robert Bringhurst. Not the one I wanted to share, but still:

    These Poems, She Said


    These poems, these poems,
    these poems, she said, are poems
    with no love in them. These are the poems of a man
    who would leave his wife and child because
    they made noise in his study. These are the poems
    of a man who would murder his mother to claim
    the inheritance. These are the poems of a man
    like Plato, she said, meaning something I did not
    comprehend but which nevertheless
    offended me. These are the poems of a man
    who would rather sleep with himself than with women,
    she said. These are the poems of a man
    with eyes like a drawknife, with hands like a pickpocket’s
    hands, woven of water and logic
    and hunger, with no strand of love in them. These
    poems are as heartless as birdsong, as unmeant
    as elm leaves, which if they love love only
    the wide blue sky and the air and the idea
    of elm leaves. Self-love is an ending, she said,
    and not a beginning. Love means love
    of the thing sung, not of the song or the singing.
    These poems, she said....
    You are, he said,
    That is not love, she said rightly.

    Robert Bringhurst, “These Poems, She Said” from The Beauty of the Weapons: Selected Poems 1972-1982. Copyright © 1982 by Robert Bringhurst.
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2011
    Another of my favorites, from Edgar Lee Masters' "Spoon River Anthology"

    I was the first fruits of the battle of Missionary Ridge.
    When I felt the bullet enter my heart
    I wished I had staid at home and gone to jail
    For stealing the hogs of Curl Trenary,
    Instead of running away and joining the army,
    Rather a thousand times the county jail
    Than to lie under this marble figure with wings,
    And this granite pedestal
    Bearing the words 'Pro Patria.'
    What do they mean, anyway?

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