Poem "Eating poetry" Mike Stand
Healthy Eating Poem - YouTube
Maureen Doallas, a friend of this blog – of many blogs, writers, and artists – proof positive that Twitter and Facebook are a benefaction, and a blogger herself at , is among her varied talents also a poet, whose collection Neruda’s Memoirs, if not written, at least published on paper, is just out from . You can find it at . Maureen has been featured once before in the Eating Poetry series, with her poem “” back in April of last year, but still drawing reaction just days ago, from commenter Cindee. Here is what I’ve had to say about Neruda’s Memoirs.
eating poetry: gocco printing with chocolate
A while back, an essay of mine, "Eating Poetry," appeared in (Winter 1974). I was much taken, at the time, with Mark Strand's poem of the same name, "Eating Poetry" (from , Atheneum, 1968), and I teased out of it a controlling metaphor for reading poetry. By eating the poem, taking it into himself and making it his ownmuscle, blood, tissue, bonethe stuff of his life, the reader transforms himself. "I am a new man," Strand's eater (reader), having eaten (read), says. The poem nourishes and sustains the reader. He needs it, as his body needs food. "When I read poetry," quoting myself, "I read as if my life depends on it, because it does." But there is more to the eating poetry metaphor than I suggested in my "Eating Poetry" essay.
Part Two: in which I demonstrate, by reading Mark Strand's poem "Eating Poetry," how the metaphor works and that an awareness of it exists--at least among poets.The Librarian in Strand's poem reminds me of the librarians ("and cultural ambassadors and / especially museum directors") in Ferlinghetti's (1958), who think "truth is the secret of a few," their few. She "does not understand" the Eater, and she "does not believe what she sees:" Him, eating poetry. Without belief and understanding, both of which the Eater seems to require of her, the Librarian has no argument for herself. She is helpless and hopeless. Shelving poetry, not eating poetry, is her business, and she minds it. (She is, after all, the library's counterpart to the grocery's stock-boy, and the library here is a grocery--to the Eater, at least.) All the resistances that she has accumulated over the centuries in the library and in herself (head, not stomach) surface here and plague her. She naturally protects and defends herself, withdraws, as if threatened, into the safety of her clothing: "she walks with her hands in her dress." What she fears, or seems to fear, perhaps understandably, is that the Eater will attack her as he has poetry. She represses her basest, and hence most necessary and alive, instincts: to let herself go and join the Eater-becoming-dog. The frustration she experiences is too much for her, and she begins to "stamp her feet and weep."