Tuesday, 25 March 2008


Don't be Scared of Poetry

I am going to start my reintroduction to poetry by reading Frank O'Hara. I started the March 22nd show with Billie Holiday singing "Strange Fruit" followed by a reading of O'Hara's "The Day Lady Died" by my guest, Professor Tim Conley. I got even more attached when I played the recording of O'Hara reading this:

"Poem," by Frank O'Hara:

Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up

After reading that poem I"m sure you will agree with Professsor Tim Conley (left), that "poetry doesn't have to be serious and dull." I saw Tim on TVO (he's a Best Lecturer Series nominee), and invited him on the show to help us all get back to reading poetry.

What came out of the discussion is the need for us to find the poet that works best for us. We don't all have the same tastes, we are no longer in school, so if I like Shakespeare and you don't, try another poet whose words make you feel. Don't focus on whether or not you understand the work right away; you can digest the meaning at your own pace. Go with the taste of the words the way kids find joy with every new word they learn.

During the show Conley highlighted the works of: Frank O'Hara (The Selected Poems of Frank O'Hara), Paul Heroux (Memoirs of an Alias), Harryette Mullen (Sleeping with the Dictionary), and Juliana Spahr (This Connection of . Frank died in a horrible freak accident in the late '60's, but the other poets are alive. You might want to check out some books from the library to start, but once you find a poet you like, support them by purchasing a book.

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