Thursday, May 17, 2007

poetry thursday: humorous poem

I took a class in college from Garrison Keillor on comedy writing and was not terribly successful. He read one of my pieces once to the 100 or so students in the stadium seating lecture hall, which made me burn with pleasure. It was the only time I gave in to college humor though, writing about Adam and Eve and how they were caught by God in the backseat of a car after a kegger and this is how The Fall began. We were supposed to parody the Bible, so I started with Genesis, the only way I knew how.

But as a teacher of creative writing, I am always pushing my students as hard as I can, letting them know they need to do this themselves--take a challenge on. So it makes sense that the first prompt for Poetry Thursday that I will attempt is one that makes me feel slightly frustrated, pushed a little out of my comfort zone.

I tell my students, "Feel comfortable with failure. Allow this of yourself. You don't know what will come out of it that works, that will be beautiful."

So I attempted a humorous poem in my notebook, but it didn't work. Instead, I will write a first draft about the joy of laughter, which seems to fit in an odd sort of way:

We are tired, the caverns beneath our eyes wet
with sweat and we know
if we do not get this scene right, we will
meet the janitor's ugly gaze. We need
to finish, we need to get the blocking right, but too much
comes from our gut, not enough from our
heart. Laughter echoes in the halls
of the empty auditorium, for you have forgotten
your line again, you have forgotten your
entrance and the jester says, "No stopping!" but
he cannot say it without machine gun sputtering.

We are in that heady stage, just before
it gets hard. We have learned our roles,
are just now becoming a character that is not us,
are just now caught up in twining our imagination
in the script. It is the small moments that bring
the greatest joy, that remind us
of each other before we are swept into frustration
of too late nights, not enough coffee, and opening night.

See other poems with bright laughter here.


Teri said...


First of all, I love your poem. And I really admire your fearlessness around sending your poetry out into the world. YES!

Second, I LOVE Garrison Keillor! What a thrill to have taken a class with him AND to have had him read one of your pieces!! ::swoon::

Third: thanks for stopping by BP and reading the archives and making such thoughtful comments. Nice to meet you!


Becca said...

I loved this poem...having been involved in many theatrical productions, you captured every emotion involved in preparing and rehearsing.

I also loved the advice you shared - encouraging us to take a risk with our artistic tendencies. It's so true - something beautiful often evolves!

Great post!

bookbinds said...

Great poem! It really demonstrated the different emotions artists experience before a production.

gautami tripathy said...

This is good. All the tension that artists face before a show is depicted in here. This is a journey of sorts.

Welcome to PT.

Clare said...

Very nice poem! I especially love the line "are just now becoming a character that is not us."

Crafty Green Poet said...

acting or life? Could be either i think !