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Singing School, with different poetic fantasies

December 17, 2013 by Reader's Connection

Singing School : Learning to Write (And Read) Poetry by Studying With the MastersFor the person on your gift list who is trying to write or read poetry, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky has released a new anthology called Singing School: Learning to Write (And Read) Poetry by Studying with the Masters.

There are famous poems, and some not so famous, accompanied by Pinsky’s provoking thoughts. Introducing John Keats’s famous ode which he addresses to a nightingale, Pinsky asks, “Can you, in the twenty-first century, write a second-person ode without irony?”

In at least a couple of cases, Pinsky follows a poem with a parody. Here’s a poem and its parody, complete with Pinsky’s comments.


Without the “pavements grey” the poem would not amount to much. It’s about imagining, about daydreaming–it would be less interesting to merely crank the dream-machine, without situating the dreamer.




All good parody is also a tribute. An imagination conceding the power of another imagination, while also noting the irrational or goofball or idiosyncratic element in that power.



Makes me want to give it a shot.

No. My attempt at a parody makes me appreciate both Yeats and Pound.


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