School has resumed and with it, two writing classes. The first is Reading and Writing Poetry, a pre-requisite for the English in Writing Major. It is also a pre-req for all the other pre-reqs, making it one of the hardest classes to get into at Northwestern. Two people showed up on the first day hoping registered students wouldn’t show – alas, we all made it.
My professor is probably in her mid-twenties, a doctoral candidate for some impressive literature specialty, but what really matters is that she has an MFA in poetry from U of M. Our textbooks are the ABC of Reading by Ezra Pound, the Longman Anthology of Poetry (edited by NU professor Averill Curdy), and a Poet’s Guide to Poetry, written by the founder of Northwestern’s creative writing department, Mary Kinzie.
I guess I’d better read these books.
Our first assignment was to write a bad poem. As I wrote mine, I guessed that our professor would use it as an example to show that even bad poetry can be interesting and have hidden meanings. While this wasn’t the point she made, I still think it’s valid.
Writing a bad poem was surprisingly hard to do, and I will admit with some shame that most of my classmates had worse poems than mine. While I tried to overuse apostrophe and alliteration, they leaned upon worn-out metaphors and themes and rhymes that left their poems sounding much worse. Still, I hope you cringe a little at the badness of my poem:
Oh, white Moon
How soft thy curves!
Like the lips of a lover
Caressing the cool, crisp night.
Oh, bright Moon
How smooth thy blemishes!
Like a visage viewing
Our black, brooding night.
Oh, round Moon
How short thy stay!
Like the favors of a fair-weather friend
Slipping through the silver of time
To leave us only a sliver
Of what we once loved.