Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Poetry Week Day Two: Daniel Hoffman

We continue our week of poetry on poetry with this great opening piece from Daniel Hoffman's collection of sonnets, Makes You Stop and Think:

The Sonnet
(Remembering Louise Bogan)

The Sonnet, she told the crowd of bearded
youths, their hands exploring
rumpled girls,
is a sacred

vessel: it takes a civilization
to conceive its shape or know
its uses. The kids
stared as though

a Sphinx now spake the riddle of
a blasted day. And few,
she said, who would
be avant-garde

consider that the term is drawn
from tactics in the Prussian
war, nor think
when once they've breached

the fortress of a form, then send
their shock-troops yet again
to breach the form,
there's no form--

--they asked for her opinion of
"the poetry of Rock."
After a drink
with the professors

she said, This is a bad time,
bad for poetry.
Then with maenad
gaze upon

the imaged ghost of a comelier day:
I've enjoyed this visit,
your wife's sheets
are Irish linen.

(NB: The poem is presented here sans formatting, since html is unfriendly to unconventional spacing.)

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