In our last blog entry this fact was mentioned:
What, then, do the following disparate verses, as well as every other successful poem in every language, culture, form, niche or era have in common?
- We real cool. We
skip school. We
Lurk late. We
- from the first known curgina, "We Real Cool" written by Gwendolyn Brooks in 1959.
- "Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang."
- from Shakespeare's Sonnet LXXIII, a critics' choice for best English language poem.
- You'll wonder where the yellow went
when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.
- Perhaps the 20th century's most recognized couplet.
- And hunger not of the belly kind, that’s banished with bacon and beans,
But the gnawing hunger of lonely men for a home and all that it means;
For a fireside far from the cares that are, four walls and a roof above;
But oh! so cramful of cosy joy, and crowded with a woman’s love
- from "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" by Robert Service, the best selling poem from the best selling poetry volume of the 20th century.
- Look at me now!
It is fun to have fun
But you have to know how.
- "The Cat in the Hat", the best known poem by Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss), the best selling author--not poet but author--of the 20th century.
- He growls as he storms the country,
A villain big and bold.
And the trees all shake and quiver and quake,
As he robs them of their gold.
- from Steve Sabol's "The Autumn Wind" (1974), the closest thing to an iconic poem in the last half century.
Hint: Poems are made up of words.
If you've given this any thought you know the answer: all poems are memorable. Commercial jingles interrupting our favorite television shows remind us that hearing poetry may or may not be a [pleasurable or] memorable experience, but poetry always involves memorable words.
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