Monday, May 9, 2011

Poetry and High School

Why isn't poetry more popular? My sister recently sent me this poem and I loved it. Here it is:


Craig Arnold's “Why I skip my high school reunions” (1999)



[From: Arnold, Craig. Shells. New Haven, Yale University Press: 1999.]

Because the geeks and jocks were set in stone, 

I, ground between.
Because the girls I ate 

lunch with are married now, most out of spite 

--because the ones I spurned are still alone. 

Because I took up smoking at nineteen, late, 

and just now quit--because, since then, I've grown 

into and out of something they've never known. 

Because at the play, backstage, on opening night 

she conjured out of the vast yards of her dress 
an avocado and a razorblade, 

slit the one open with the other, flayed 

the pebbled skin, and offered me a slice




--because I thought that one day I'd say yes, 

and I was wrong, and I am still afraid.


I like this poem because I recently missed my 20 year reunion and still feel some regret over it. I didn't miss my 10 year reunion. I went to it with a lot of expectations and left with a lot of those expectations unmet.

I also like it because those four years of my high school life, which is really a tiny sliver of my overall existence, still mean so much to me and seem to have an outsized importance of how my life seems to have gone since.

I like it because I'm still afraid that I am the same basic person I was then, and in fact, I still am....

I like poetry because you can capture so much emotion with so few words. Can someone tell me why poetry is not more popular?

1 comment:

zoewriter said...
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