Friday, May 26, 2006

Book club and Friday poetry blogging

The other night a group of women from the university got together at a local bookstore to choose some books to read and discuss together. Most of us had gotten together once before to discuss a book we'd chosen and had a grand time of it.

We met, then split up to wander about. After a while, we got back together at a table and laid out our suggestions. Then we talked a bit about each, and chose some. My suggestion was Octavia Butler's Kindred. We chatted and enthused over books, and came up with a few for the summer, and planned some days to meet, too.

While I was looking over books, I recalled one of my very favorite poems by a poet who's not actually dead yet. I'd run across it in some anthology for an Intro to Lit course at some point, taught it, enjoyed it. And then I lost track of the anthology, and couldn't find the poem again. But I remembered the poet's name, and then had the great good luck to actually find the book of poetry with the poem I was after! So I bought it. (Having a disposable income to buy books still sort of shocks and elates me.)

I love this poem because it seems almost medieval in having a deeply religious sense along with intense irreverence. But maybe I'm wrong. I'd love to hear what other folks think, and especially if you've had experience teaching it.

Sharon Olds - "The Pope's Penis"

It hangs deep in his robes, a delicate
clapper at the center of a bell.
It moves when he moves, a ghostly fish in a
halo of silver seaweed, the hair
swaying in the dark and the heat--and at night,
while his eyes sleep, it stands up
in praise of God.

(Olds, Sharon. "The Pope's Penis." The Gold Cell. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004. 19.)

Go buy the book! You know you want to! (Her poetry's GREAT!)

4 comments:

  1. What an EXCELLENT poem! I love it! (It does feel kind of medieval, in a way.)

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  2. Awesome. Reminds me of that medieval lyric, "Kyrieleyson".

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  3. I love Sharon Olds. My favorite living poet, I think. I love how her poems, every one of them, have that moment, somewhere in each one, that knocks you breathless.

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  4. I'm so glad you folks like this one. Delagar's right that it knocks me breathless.

    Note to self: more Sharon Olds for Friday poetry blogging!

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