Poets Teaching Poets, part 2

The advanced poetry class in which I am enrolled, began last night. Two of the four predictions I made regarding the class are right (the other two will be determined later):

1. 25 percent of the students are male
2. 16 percent of the students are under the age of 40

The first night of class was an amiable experience and it seems as if several of my classmates know each other from other writing classes. I’m bracing myself for an onslaught of confessional lyric poems about grandchildren or childhood or something along that line. A good gardening poem would be preferable, in my humble opinion.

One of the poetry books I am reviewing collects poems about the decline of the working class in America. It is a fantastic subject and book. Can’t wait to see what the editor thinks of my review. It’s that type of material I want to tackle in poetry; some subject that changes peoples life or at least causes a physical reaction. The editor of Main Street Rag once said that the poems he likes the most are ones that make him react physically; meaning he laughs or cusses or throws the book across the room. A few years ago, I witnessed someone shed a few tears after I read one of my poems. That’s the stuff I want to write (and hopefully publish); the stuff that creates a place for the reader to inhabit. The teacher told the class last night that the word “stanza” is Italian for “room.” If that is the only thing I learn from this class, it will be enough; the composition of inhabitable poems. Maybe that’s why I like today’s featured poem at Writer’s Almanac; I can get into its space.

“Literature in the 21st Century” by Ronald Wallace

Sometimes I wish I drank coffee
or smoked Marlboros, or maybe cigars—
yes, a hand-rolled Havana cigar
//read more

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