Thursday, May 11, 2006

Poetry and Potatoes

While teaching poetry to my students, I've learned how preferences evolve over the years. My feeling towards poetry wasn't quite apathetic in college, but I struggled finding poets I enjoyed. Then I discovered Billy Collins and Ted Kooser, coincidentally the previous and the current poet laureate. They brought a newness to the genre, spanning from thoughtful to the tongue-in-cheek. I loved how they manipulated language and brought their sense of humor through to the reader.

While teaching poetry the last two years, I've tried to have a mix of older and newer pieces. The older ones are traditionally more structured and rhymed, while the newer ones were delightful in their word pictures. As students read the mixture, the majority were drawn to the ones with predictable rhyme and structure. I'm trying to recall when I made that switch. However, when students had opportunity to look through some anthologies and select poems they enjoyed, one kindred spirit found a "Mashed Potato Love Poem" that tickled my humor. As Eric and I indulged in sampling a new restaurant tonight, it was brought to mind. Eric had a spectacular baked potato, so this is only appropriate. While he knows my love for all things spud, he's confident I wouldn't go this far.

Mashed Potato Love Poem
-Sidney Hoddes
If I ever had to choose between you
and a third helping of mashed potato,
(whipped lightly with a fork
not whisked,
and a little pool of butter
melting in the middle...)

I think
I'd choose
the mashed potato.
But I'd choose you next.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i think this poem is lovey and my teacher also used this poem as an example in skool i think your poems rule