APAD 10: Poetry, by Marianne Moore

Poetry

I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond
all this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
discovers that there is in
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
they are
useful; when they become so derivative as to become
unintelligible, the
same thing may be said for all of us—that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand. The bat,
holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless
wolf under
a tree, the immovable critic twinkling his skin like a horse
that feels a flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician—case after case
could be cited did
one wish it; nor is it valid
to discriminate against “business documents and

school-books”; all these phenomena are important. One must
make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets,
the result is not poetry,
nor till the autocrats among us can be
“literalists of
the imagination”—above
insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them,
shall we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand, in defiance
of their opinion—
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness, and
that which is on the other hand,
genuine, then you are interested in poetry.


For me, this poem could end with hair that can rise/if it must. Those first few lines say it all, don’t they?

This year I resolved to share poems with coworkers — most of whom I’ve seen crinkle their noses when poetry is mentioned — rather than sharing solely online with an audience made up of avid readers and writers. The results have been pleasing. Much like that first stanza above. I’m so pleased that I now intend to share daily poems with EVERYONE! So, here’s Marianne Moore. Enjoy.

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2 thoughts on “APAD 10: Poetry, by Marianne Moore

  1. “these things are important not because a

    high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
    they are
    useful”

    To me, this line is key. It speaks to what draws me to certain poems or poets. A relatable poem holds my attention and has me contemplating its facets all day. If a poems is nothing but adjectives and fawning superlatives I find it distasteful and hurry off to put something else in my brain.

    There was another line in this poem I really liked. Let me reread it and I’ll be back.

    Like

  2. “the result is not poetry,
    nor till the autocrats among us can be
    “literalists of
    the imagination”—above
    insolence and triviality and can present

    for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them,
    shall we have
    it.”
    Aside from my delight at the prospect of real toads in imaginary gardens — because in my head the toads have imagined their own garden blurred with a misting rain and populated by iridescent green insects and dragonflies forced into slow motion — I appreciate the idea poet’s call for substance or purpose as a requirement to elevate the writing to the title of poetry. There are some very famous poets who wrote a lot of words in stanzas and never said a damn thing. They are some of the culprits responsible for the most common complaints of people who don’t like poetry. “I just don’t get it.”
    Good on ya for sharing poetry with your coworkers.

    Liked by 1 person

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