Yeah, we talked about sex. A lot about sex. After all, what discussion of poetry is complete without a knock-down-drag-out session of sexual metaphor building?
But, first, I talked. Lectured, rather. I used my power as a professor to talk at the (un)fortunate captive audience, reading poems that have spoken to me--just a smidgen from the pantheon--about the nature of, the purpose for, the audience of poetry.
Here's the list (I only read portions, and then babbled on about why I'd chosen them, including vast patches of shameless self-promotion which I will call Whitmanic Rhapsody):
- Song of Myself, Walt Whitman
- "Adam's Curse," W. B. Yeats
- Four Quartets, T. S. Eliot
- "Asphodel, that Greeny Flower," W. C. Williams
- "In Memory of W. B. Yeats," W. H. Auden
- "Diving into the Wreck," Adrienne Rich
- "The Bear," Galway Kinnell
- "The Poem You Asked For," Larry Levis
- "The Mountain," Louise Gluck
- "I Go Back to May 1937," Sharon Olds
- "The Words Continue Their Journey," Margaret Atwood
Ever the Whitmanic wheelbarrow woman (so much depends upon/ the slickly fuckable wheelbarrow,/ glazed with hot poetry,/ next to the white woman), I wanted to pour every idea into a body and then to examine that body from every angle.
So my question now is not what poetry can or should do, or for whom, but this:
If poetry were a person, who would it be and how would you interact with him or her?