Truly Blank Verse

Truly Blank Verse
Truly Blank Verse | Source

I am not at all what might be considered a fan of poetry.

Oh, don’t get me wrong; I read, and read voraciously. I consume mounds of magazines with rigorous, some might say rabid, regularity (as long as they are not People magazine or some other similar checkout line nonsense). And though I may simply skim those padded portions of the local daily newspaper — the social pages or local happenings or political punditry or fond remembrances of heroes of past wars or gardening tips or high school scores — I will diligently scan the national and world news and items of financial or fiscal or environmental or metropolitan import.

I am also quite the consumer of books. (Just check out my stuffed and sway-backed shelves if you doubt my word.) Having long ago exhausted the canons of the greats of science fiction — Verne, Wells, Heinlein, Dick, Le Guin, Asimov, Pohl, Clarke, Bradbury, Herbert, Adams, Ellison, Zelazny, etc. — I have moved on through many other genres of fiction and fact. I have enjoyed the adventures of James Bond and Mike Hammer. Sam Spade and The Continental Op. Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple, The Thin Man and Lew Archer. Harry Bosch and Dave Robicheaux. Philip Marlowe and that violin-playing addict of 221B Baker Street. I have been detained by, and entertained by, both the girl with the dragon tattoo and the girl with the lovely bones (as well as a veritable smorgasbord of female cops, detectives, skip-tracers, federal marshals and DAs).

I find Stephen Hawking very enjoyable (though not so much Stephen King). Elmore Leonard’s always good for an interesting evening, as are Edgar Rice Burroughs and John Grisham, Jared Diamond and Michael Crichton, Lewis Carroll and Scott Turow. I have even found it a pleasant pastime to simply leaf my way through Encyclopedia Brittanica, absorbing entries as I go.

But, while I still chuckle at almost anything penned by Ogden Nash, and smile at lots of Dr. Seuss’ loopy concoctions, I tend to draw the line at lines of verse.

In my view, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner might more aptly be titled The Crime of the Ancient Versifier. If only Alfred Lord Tennyson had traveled just half a league more (and lost that bloody manuscript in the process). Tyger, tyger, burning bright — can’t you blaze well out of sight? How do I love thee? Let me count the way — silence!

You say the Owl and the Pussycat have gone to sea? I say, “Good riddance!”. If she walks in beauty, then let her keep on walking, and quit rhapsodizing about it already! No, do not go gentle into that good night! Go out with a bang, not a whimper, and take all of your rhyming couplets with you, for Pete’s sake!

So, in the final analysis, what can I really say about the tweedy pontificating gent who has deigned to share his latest creations with us at tonight’s poetry reading? What is my considered opinion of this fella’s blank verse. “Why, it’s the best kind!”

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Comments 5 comments

SlyMJ profile image

SlyMJ 5 years ago

You need to try William Topaz McGonagall -

Love the drawings.

rickzimmerman profile image

rickzimmerman 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio Author

Thanks, SlyMJ, I will try him. (I actually wrote this entire hub, tongue-in-cheek, just to accompany the cartoon. I actually enjoy poetry, and have even written quite a bit of it. Heh heh heh.

SlyMJ profile image

SlyMJ 5 years ago

My suggestion of McGonagall was also tongue-in-cheek ;o) Wait till you read some

suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 5 years ago from Taos, NM

What a wonderful hub! I have read many of the authors you mention and they are quite good, to say the least. I love the voice and style you write in. Somewhere in another life were you ever a book/poetry critic for print journalism; or broadcast, for that matter? You really should consider this profession - you are good at it! Great Hub! Voted up!

rickzimmerman profile image

rickzimmerman 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio Author

Thanks so much, Suzette. With encouragement like that I'll be churning past 700 hubs in no time.

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