Thursday

Jan. 22, 2009

Personals

by Robert Phillips

I'm honest, discreet, and no way a lech.
Staying home with a rented video is just fine.
I'm seeking a friend first, we'll see what happens next.

My definition of fun is not very far-fetched:
Enjoy fishing, four-wheeling, casinos, and wine.
I'm honest, discreet, and no way a lech.

Want face-to-face conversation, no phone sex,
Non-smoking, drug-free women—the old-fashioned kind.
I'm seeking a friend first, we'll see what happens next.

I like a lady to let her hair down, get a little wrecked.
I have brown hair, brown eyes, am built along trim lines.
I'm honest, discreet, and no way a lech.

I'm thirty-seven, white, have two teenagers by my ex.
Looking for a lady, any age or race, similarly inclined.
I'm seeking a friend first, we'll see what happens next.

No psychos! (My ex didn't play with a full deck.)
I live on the northwest side, near the refinery.
I'm honest, discreet, and no way a lech.
I'm seeking a friend first. We'll see what happens next.

"Personals" by Robert Phillips, from Spinach Days. © The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

It's the birthday of the Romantic poet Lord Byron, (books by this author) born George Gordon Noel in London, England (1788). His father was nicknamed "Mad Jack," was deeply in debt, made his living by seducing rich women, and may have killed his first wife.

Byron was the product of his father's second marriage. He was a poorly behaved child. After college, he went off to travel in the eastern Mediterranean and kept a diary of his adventures there. He turned it into a book-length poem, Child Harold's Pilgrimage. It was published between 1812 and 1818, and it made Byron one of the most popular poets of his time.

Byron wrote many more books of poetry, including Don Juan (1819). He lived a life of controversy and excess, so when he died at age 36, his friend burned Byron's unpublished memoirs before he had even been buried.

It's the birthday of the poet Howard Moss, (books by this author) born in New York City (1922). A quiet, unassuming man, he served as poetry editor of The New Yorker magazine for almost four decades. When he was asked his definition of a good poem, Howard Moss said: "One I like."

It's the birthday of poet Timothy Steele, (books by this author) born in Burlington, Vermont (1948). He is an advocate of metrical poetry, as opposed to free verse. He said, "I believe that our ability to organize thought and speech into measure is one of the most precious endowments of the human race." And he said, "The original free-versers hoped their revolution would lead to a new metrical system. They did not want their efforts to result in poetry's degenerating into lineated prose, which is sort of what's happened."

Timothy Steele teaches at California State University Los Angeles. He wrote: "Form gives you a way not only of expressing things, but also of understanding them. The medium makes you look at phrasing and thought from different angles and almost inevitably leads you to think about elements of this or that experience or subject in ways you would not have otherwise."

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®

 









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