A poem a day in April from Rutgers English PhD students and friends.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

sonnet 23, fred 0.

(for becca & caolan. ♥.)

"they may suppose, because i would not cloy your ear--"
i'm surprised, given that there are two poets--
not to mention ladies, scholars!--who know it's
john berryman from whom i steal--that's clear--
(frank o'hara, sure, i hold him v. dear,
& ted roethke provides me w/ some bits--
do people call him "ted?" on google, a few hits.
also: the stark in p. larkin, the austere.)

to finish my thought from the stanza prior:
i wonder why they've not said to my face,
"your &s & abbrevs come straight from john, fred!"
b/c they're ladies, scholars--that's why! errr ...
but, what about the use of lower case?
say "e.e. cummings" and i'll strike you dead.


  1. Oh, Fred, you abbrev. w/ v. much more virtuosity than ol' john b ever did. W/r/t &s, and yr tremendously berrymanic (ha! best word ever--is that what people say?) rhyming: maybe more deriv., but great!

  2. Also, 10 pts for 1st sonnet! If I'm not mistaken.

  3. I woulda guessed Berrigan, not Berryman!
    Another Ted for ya.

  4. Also it made me full of GRRR the way this poem got away with calling us lady scholars without calling us lady scholars -- so, I think, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

  5. blame it on the rigid structure of the petrarchan sonnet, not on me. in the ms, i had crossed out "gentlemen & scholars" b/c it's too many syllables, so don't read too much into it.

    but, wait--isn't that our job?!

  6. Yes, you'd be off the hook were it not our job!

    I just thought it was a clever touch in a poem full of references to dude poets!

    And no, I can't think of any poems with "Motherfucker" in the title, but I'm tryin'.

  7. yes, I was graciously taking it as "a scholar and a gentleman" rather than as "lady scholars," but you're right, Becca--how much respect would any of those guys have for any form of lady scholar? Some more than others, maybe.