Friday, April 3, 2015

Poetry City

If I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect.
~Charles Darwin

When I was thinking about what I wanted to do for National Poetry Month, I knew only this: I wanted to keep it simple. I thought about a number of ideas, sort of circling around like a dog before it lies down, and finally settled on poems about poetry, books, and words.

I like that kind of poem, e.g. these by Eve Merriam, Billy Collins, William Stafford, Taha Muhammad Ali, and Laura Purdie Salas. I've written some myself, such as this one called Poetry City. Today's poetry happens to be from a book by Dave Morice called Poetry City: A Literary Remembrance of Iowa City, Iowa

I spent two happy years in Iowa City when I was in graduate school, so I recognize some of the places that turn up in Dave's poems. (The poems I'm sharing with you today, though, are not really Iowa City-specific.)

I wonder whether Dave has seen this photo? I'm guessing he has. I thought Poetry Fridayers might be interested in seeing Nobel prize-winning poet Rabindranath Tagore and professor Sudhindra Bose in Iowa City circa 1912:

Take it away, Dave!

Dave Morice, Iowa City Press-Citizen

Books Read You
by Dave Morice

Books read you
Cooks feed you

Pages make you
Ages take you

Words write you
Birds sight you

You sight birds
You write words

You take ages
You make pages

You feed cooks
You read books.


The Ping-Pong Game
by Dave Morice

At the Rec Center,
I watch two people
playing a game
of ping-pong.

The first player's paddle hits the red
ping-pong ball with a squishy splat.
The ball rolls, not bounces,
over the net.

The second player whacks it back.
The first player returns it.
And so on, with a splat
accompanying each player's hit.
And then it dawns on me:
These two players are
ex-girlfriends of mine!

I watch the game a while longer,
And then I shout,
"Hey! Wait a minute!
That's no red ping-pong ball.
That's my heart!"


Poetry City Motto
by Dave Morice

Poetry is a way
Of keeping sane
When things
Get too insane.

Poetry is a way
Of keeping insane
When things
Get too sane.


The Poem Farm has the Poetry Friday round-up today.


Diane Mayr said...

Thanks for sharing these! Dave Morice's The Adventures of Dr. Alphabet is a favorite. I think it is the book that made me realize that poetry doesn't have to be all serious, and unknowable by the general public. It can be hung from the ceiling or written on the floor!

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater said...

These are great. I love that ping pong ball heart and am coping "Poetry City Mottl" right into my notebook. Happy Poetry Friday! xo, a.

LInda Baie said...

I love these, Tabatha, have never seen them, & looked Dave Morice up, see that he has a book about teaching poetry, & it's at my library! Thank you.

jama said...

Oh wow, Dave Morice is new to me too. Love the spare style -- he makes it look so easy.

Are there many tea fountains in Iowa City, O Mysterious One?

Mary Lee said...

I love the mirroring in that first one!

Donna Smith said...

I loved the first one especially. Thanks for sharing it. I'll need to check out more of his.

Carol said...

Dave Morice is new to me too. I'm fascinated by the mirroring in the first poem. I can never imagine being able to do that with words. And I love the third poem as well. Some big truth there, I think. I'll be back to read more of your offerings this month!

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

Oh my. That photograph of Tagore just blew me away. Gorgeous!
Loved the Poetry City Motto - oh yes, it does keep things delightfully crazy, and such joy it is.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Delightful groupings of words over here indeed this week, Tabatha! (Well, techincally, last week - I'm late.) Loved reading your "Poetry City" poem and also making the acquaintance of Dave Morice and these samples of his work - love the playful nature of them.

Bridget Magee said...

Dave Morice is a poet after my own heart - short and to the point, but with impact. The red ping-pong ball is terrific. Thanks for sharing these gems, Tabatha. =)

Joye Chizek said...

Dave's 27th published book "Poetry City: A Literary Remembrance of Iowa City, Iowa" came from Dave opening his collection of spiral notebooks with poems and observations jotted since 1969. As the city has sped up its destruction of histoical buildings like 3 writters cottages from the 1880s and too many of Dave's brothers in word have fallen to life - like publishing pioneer Allan Korblum who went from the Toothpaste Press in West Branch, IA to the Coffee House Press in Minneapolis, MN - Dave opened the resources he has donated to the University ot Iowa Libraies and let an editore pick those poems that best spoke to the Iowa City Dave still loves with poems written in place. Unlike many of Dave's collections, Poetry City is a love poem to an era with friends, places, once again presented vivid and alive with wonder and fun.