21 August 2006

Not a blue one

I was reading Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird to my nephews (4 & 8) recently; they both picked at a guitar (not a blue one to my eyes) through sections 2-7, and in section 8, Owen (4yo) said “stop lying to me!” Owen insisted I keep reading, though, and the more arcane the diction got, the more they picked at the guitar.

It’s in a book about teaching different poems to children by Kenneth Koch. When I started a couple of weeks ago, Frank (8yo) didn’t know what a poem was. He asked me what they are and I said it’s when people can do whatever they want with the words. Owen doesn’t know what they are but he likes them.

1 comment:

david raphael israel said...

a good excuse or occasion, this, to reread the poem. Seems rather better than ever. (Perhaps one must read the poem more than 13 times before it quite sinks in.)

An oddity is this: the uniqueness of this poem (so far as I've noted) in Stevens' work. He never seemed pushed to write any other poem very much akin to it. Which makes the poem all the more strong or at least curious . . . But the same could be said for the other 2 Stevens poems (The Emperor of Ice Cream, the Man with the Blue Guitar) found at your link #2. Perhaps more recent poets (of various stripes) have gotten me more used to a sense of repetition or variation of form & idea.

The poem somewhat conjures for me Chinese/Japanese black-ink depictions of birds. Nice to learn of the Koch volume.