Bonus Track for May Swenson: “Analysis of Baseball,” and Concrete Poetry

Image of "Easter Wings", a "pat...
Image of “Easter Wings”, a “pattern poem” published in 1633 by George Herbert. As a pattern poem, the work is not only meant to be read, but its shape is meant to be appreciated: In this case, the poem was printed (original image here shownA) on two pages of a book, sideways, so that the lines suggest two birds flying upward, with wings spread out. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’ve been discussing theories about how to read poems, how to pause, what to do with line endings, etc. As you can imagine, I have a lot more to say about the topic. But don’t worry, like Silverstein’s little girl who ate the whale, we’ll tackle it in small bites. This is a busy couple of days for me, so if I don’t respond right away, I assure you I will as soon as I can, so let’s keep this discussion going. I’m interested in my readers’ thougths on this.

Concrete poetry, or shaped poetry poses its own challenges, and can be subject to interpretation. It seems to me that unless the listener has a copy of the poem in front of him or her, the elements of line and space in a shaped poem must be somehow interpreted in the voice of the one reading. Or could it be that such poetry is not meant to be read out loud? Hmm . . . I can’t swallow that myself, but bear with me; I’m still struggling with the concept of prose poems!

Personally, I think my reading from earlier today is the weakest one from this National Poetry Month project, but that’s ok. It’s a learning experience for me as much as anything else.

I was searching for other Swenson readings online and discovered this delightful reading by a creative young man on YouTube. I hope he doesn’t mind my sharing with you his reading of Swenson’s “Analysis of Baseball.”  You can find the text of the poem at the Poetry Foundation site here. 

10 Comments Add yours

  1. I love your concept! Frankly, I don’t listen to as much poetry as I should, and line breaks are one big challenge I have.

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    1. sonofwalt says:

      Thank you! And it’s such a relief to find other poetry nerds… erm, I mean lovers online. Poetry lovers online, I should say, not just lovers online… That’s it. I’m for bed.

      Like

  2. solingenpoet says:

    Loving your work. I find the poems good and what you have to say very informative.

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    1. sonofwalt says:

      Thank you so much! That means a lot to me.

      Like

    2. solingenpoet says:

      Look forward to following your blog.

      Like

  3. Always happy to meet someone with a passion for poetry. I am digging your piece on concrete poetry; it is an interesting form of poetry and I think it falls on the reader on how it should be read out loud…good stuff man.

    Like

    1. sonofwalt says:

      Hey, thank you for chiming in. I really appreciate it. I am enjoying this poetry month more than ones previous, as I’m meeting a lot of great poegers– poetry bloggers. I just made that word up. Corny as hell, right?

      Like

    2. yeah, its been cool…It is corny, but I kind of like it. Keep…Poegering

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    3. sonofwalt says:

      Maybe we’ll make that word famous. 😉

      Like

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