Truly Blank Verse
Aah! A Perfect Sound!
Prose for Me, Thanks
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 Us or People magazine or some other similar checkout line nonsense). And though I may simply skim those padded portions of the rare remaining daily newspaper — the social pages, or the local 'happenings', or the political punditry, or the fond remembrances of heroes of past wars, or the gardening tips, or the high school scores — I will diligently scan the national and world news, and items of financial or social 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 deerstalker-wearing violin-playing cocaine 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 and male cops, detectives, skip-tracers, federal marshals and DAs).
Preferred Reading Matter
I find the works of Stephen Hawking very enjoyable (not so much those of Stephen King — though, I will admit, Stephen King's writings occasionally make better movies). 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. (You'd be surprised how many interesting bits actually fall between 'elephantiasis' and 'embarcadero'.)
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 — 1. silence!
You say the Owl and the Pussycat have gone to sea? I say, “Good riddance to both of them!”. If she walks in beauty, then let her just keep on walking, and quit rhapsodizing about it already! No, no, do not go gentle into that good night! Go out with a bang, not a whimper, and take all of your rhyming couplets and iambic pentameter 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 convoluted and abstract creations with us at tonight’s poetry reading? Just what is my considered opinion of this fella’s blank verse? “Why, I say, it’s the very best kind!”
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