Tag Archives: Heather McHugh

“Snow Leopards at the Denver Zoo”

For this inaugural monthly Animal Poem post, a look at Snow Leopards at the Denver Zoo” by William Matthews.

It’s a gorgeous poem from his 1973 Rising and Falling collection, which is one of my “desert island” books. The immediate beauty is of course in the largest metaphor — the snow leopards “jump / down and jump up, water being / poured,” a visual image of their physicality that is reinforced, with a heavy emphasis on the endangered aspect of the snow leopard, in the last three lines of the poem (the “them” refers to his children): “I save them whatever I can keep / and I pour it from hand to hand.” But in between that introductory image and the end, man what a lot happens in this 18-line poem. Continue reading

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Beasley / Biespiel / Jensen / Friebert

A short look at: Bruce Beasley’s Theophobia  (2012), David Biespiel’s Wild Civility (2003), Laura Jensen’s Memory (1982) and Stuart Friebert’s Funeral Pie (1996).

One of the (oh so many) things that drives me nuts about statements like, “I don’t like poetry” or “I could just never get into poetry” is the underlying idea there that poetry is a single thing. It’s like saying, “I don’t like movies” or “I don’t like food.” Just because I can’t stand beets (I really can’t stand beets) doesn’t mean I’m going to write off all red foods, or all food. You could say a strawberry and a beet look sorta the same, couldn’t you? But the taste?

One of the things that struck me reading these four collections (all of which I like) is how vastly different their use of language is, what a nice spectrum of diction they represent. Friebert and Jensen all use very everyday vocabulary. In “Pocket Gopher,” Stuart Friebert writes, Continue reading

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