Monday, May 02, 2005

The Acrobat is Nervous; What if they want her to sing

From the diary: “April 4, 1982

“I bought a couple magazines at Merit [a bookstore] and a poetry book, (California Poets-in-the-Schools for Marin Country [anthology]) The Acrobat is Nervous; What if they want her to sing. I wrote a poem about the circus from that.”

I love the title. Once in awhile it will ring through my head even now. I don’t remember the poetry, but I think I reread the book when I started my copy-out-poems project six years later. I have notebooks filled with poems I’ve hand copied from published sources. I started doing that because I wasn’t able to answer the who-are-your-favorite-poets question. But we are looking at a time when all of poetry was new to me. It was intimidating. Already I knew I didn’t get and didn’t like a lot of stuff that was called poetry. I was hesitant to buy a book of poems for fear of finding pages and pages of the sort of thing I couldn’t stand in textbooks.

Having done the after school poetry class -- it was part of the California Poets-in-the-Schools program -- I was especially curious to see what gatherings of poems from other students looked like. The Acrobat is Nervous was nice looking, art on the cover, perfect bound paperback. Like I say, I don’t remember the poetry, but I do remember admiring the package and I don’t remember disliking the poetry. Sometimes I remember dislikes better than likes. The better to avoid future bad experiences, I suppose.

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