Monday Challenge: Eating Poetry

When it comes to poetry its just not enough to read poetry. Poetry is far more visceral than that. To really enjoy poetry you need to eat, drink and breathe poetry and then maybe…just maybe you can capture its true essence. Nobody explains this better than Mark Strand in his Poem, “Eating Poetry”.

I love this poem by Mark Strand for so many reasons, most profound of which is the dark imagery it renders. The first line hooks you right away with its “Ink runs from the corners of my mouth” opening sentence. You cannot help but want to know of this person who is consuming enough poetry that its starting to bleed from his mouth…ink and all. Right from the opening line surreal images just leap out from his words into your mind. Within a few short sentences you are transported into the dimly lit library where the “poems are gone”. You can now see what has scared the librarian enough to cause her to “stamp her feet and weep”. The man has consumed so much poetry that he turns into a dog, a joyful one at that, “I romp with joy in the bookish dark.”. His joy is in sharp contrast to the sad and petrified librarian who does not understand what is going on perhaps because she has not yet enjoyed the taste of poetry.

For your challenge today, I ask you to take your own deepest emotions about poetry and turn them into something surreal. Don’t just rhyme or verse, paint me a picture throbbing with vivid imagery. Hook me in with your best hypnotic metaphors. Still unsure how to start, write a snippet of a story that is so surreal, it leaves one panting for more. Feel free to publish the poem on your blog and pingback to ubecute or just copy and paste your poem with your name and blog details in the comments section. Let the creative juices flow…

Eating Poetry
By Mark Strand
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.
The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.
Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.
She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.
I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.
In case you are curious about what Ubecute has to say about poetry check out this poem written a few years ago.