Friday, January 30, 2009

Steven Wright Knock Knock Poems

A while ago, Geof Huth wrote a great post about the language poetry of comic Steven Wright. I wrote a few Steven Wright/poet jokes in his comments stream. I thought tonight I'd present them here:


Steven Wright trips in
the woods. Is it just me or
did the trees fall up?

Steven Wright looks into a mirror. “I think I’ve seen you here before.”

Steven Wright looks into a mirror. “Come here often?”

Steven Wright and a dictionary make a bet. “I guess it’s my word against yours.”

Steven Wright “I was reading a poem about everything. I wasn’t in it.”

Steven Wright and a visual poet walk into a.

Steven Wright and a surrealist walk into a bear

Knock Knock?
Who's there?
Damn. I was hoping you could tell me.


I was explaining to my friend, writer Greg Betts, about the various ongoing correspondences that I maintain, both here on my blog and in email. I was speaking about finding many writer friends online with whom I share common concerns and to whom I can relate. My daughter, Rudi, who is 11, injected and said, deadpan, "Dad, you know that those are just 9 year old boys posing as middle-aged writers, leading you on, trying to lure you by talking about punctuation, poetry, and visual work." "Dad," she said. "Don't agree to meet them no matter how real they seem."


Geof Huth said...

Ah, you wouldn't want to meet us anyway, Gary.


(or am I?)

Chris said...

That last bit is hysterical!

Also it ties in with certain things I've been thinking about certain types of poetry and -- oof, it's complicated to explain. But certain types of poetry (which might be connected historically with "grammatical" approaches to reading/writing/understanding texts) (rather than "rhetorical" approaches) might be particularly appealing to people who are interested in things the way certain clever 9yo boys are (or at least, one that I was hanging out with a bit over Christmas) (and who are, in particular, the foundation of who that grammar is supposed to teach). But I want to say this without it coming off as a sort of "arrested development" theory, but maybe one about not being societally normalized at a certain age (9 or so, or maybe around puberty) (and by the norms of our present society, which are not the only possible norms -- of course) or at least not having that particular aspect squelched in the standard way -- well, anyway, it actually connected with a line of thoughts I'd been mulling over (and haven't really decided on yet) (obviously).

gary barwin said...

Dear Nine year olds,

Thanks for your perspicacious commentary. You are the 'Zach & Cody' of literature, an afterschool reference which I'm sure you'll catch, though will bury with allusions to Derida, Skool of Kwyahtood, and VisFic.


Your point about the training, the normalizing of the imagination (which I would tie into societal normalization) is very apt.) I know you were tying it to a more specific point (about types of poetry) however, I'd generalize the point. I see an enormous normalizing of the imagination in middle school into the socially acceptable or easily interpretable. On Friday, two 10 year old boys were singing for an in-class test, a pirate song of their own invention which had a pirate getting two ferrets shoved up his nose. One little girl said, 'Don't they know that a ferret is much larger than a nostril.' (BTW, I'm not tying this in to gender, though the process of socialization, I think, may take place somewhat differently and at different times and stages in girls. Our attitude toward certain interests and identity in boys and girls are different though.)

I agree with you that, to use another phrase from a Grade 5-written pirate song, 'nerdling' boys often have a particular interest in certain things -- from intense detail in the spec of cars, airplanes, rock bands, arcane word play, certain kind of language, etc. Many girls share some of this interest in arcana too, though, in my experience, they mostly have a better sense of how to mediate it socially, or their interests seems less 'nerdy' to society (horses, cows, cheese, tween pop stars, etc.)

Really interesting point, Chris. Thanks.

troylloyd said...

= )

great post.

can't say much, i'm up past bedtime...