Pretty Words by Elinor Wylie

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Pretty Words

Elinor Wylie

 

Poets make pets of pretty, docile words:

I love smooth words, like gold-enamelled fish

Which circle slowly with a silken swish,

And tender ones, like downy-feathered birds:

Words shy and dappled, deep-eyed deer in herds,

Come to my hand, and playful if I wish,

Or purring softly at a silver dish,

Blue Persian kittens fed on cream and curds.

I love bright words, words up and singing early;

Words that are luminous in the dark, and sing;

Warm lazy words, white cattle under trees;

I love words opalescent, cool, and pearly,

Like midsummer moths, and honied words like bees,

Gilded and sticky, with a little sting.

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You, Reader

reads

You, Reader

Billy Collins


I wonder how you are going to feel
when you find out
that I wrote this instead of you,

 

that it was I who got up early
to sit in the kitchen
and mention with a pen

 

the rain-soaked windows,
the ivy wall paper,
and the goldfish circling in its bowl.

 

Go ahead and turn aside,
bite your lip and tear out the page,
but, listen–it was just a matter of time

 

before one of us happened
to notice the unlit candles
and the clock humming on the wall.

 

Plus, nothing happened that morning–
a song on the radio,
a car whistling along the road outside–

 

and I was only thinking
about the shakers of salt and pepper
that were standing side by side on a place mat.

 

I wondered if they had become friends
after all these years
or if they were still strangers to one another

 

like you and I
who manage to be known and unknown
to each other at the same time–

 

me at this table with a bowl of pears,
you leaning in a doorway somewhere
near some blue hydrangeas, reading this.

Review of “B” by Sarah Kay

 

If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she’s going to call me Point B.

 

Hearing a poem recited and reading a poem are two totally different experiences, so I didn’t quite know what to expect when I saw a print copy of Sarah Kay’s poem B. I was not disappointed with my read.

 

I loved hearing Sarah Kay perform “B” in a TED talk, which I have included above, but was fearful that her voice would carry into my reading of her poem. It didn’t. With the spoken word poem, Kay’s tone and emotion takes the forefront, but in translating the spoken to the visual, readers add their own imagination into the poem.  B transforms into a more personal experience. The reader sets the pace. If you want to, you can linger over words and let your mind wander. Listening to someone speak requires a certain amount of attention.

 

At less than 50 pages, B is a quick read (or listen) that encapsulates a mother’s conversation to a future daughter. Sarah Kay does a great job reciting the poem, but in keeping her one step removed from her words and her audience, take on a power and emotion of its own.

Notes on the Art of Poetry by Dylan Thomas

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Notes on the Art of Poetry
Dylan Thomas

I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on
in the world between the covers of books,
such sandstorms and ice blasts of words,,,
such staggering peace, such enormous laughter,
such and so many blinding bright lights,, ,
splashing all over the pages
in a million bits and pieces
all of which were words, words, words,
and each of which were alive forever
in its own delight and glory and oddity and light.