Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Books" by Campbell McGrath

Source: Slate Poetry Podcast (mp3)
Length: 1 minute, 40 seconds
Reader: Campbell McGrath

The poem: If you haven't already noticed, I love books. This poem combines books with biology, another great passion of mine. McGrath starts with a simile comparing books to the honey stored in beehives, then goes on to reference trilobites, the inhabitants of benthic vents, and whale evolution.

The imagery here is a kaleidoscope for the senses, but the metaphors are so dense that they overwhelmed me on first listen. I found it better to go where the poem took me than to try to analyze each part. McGrath's flow from one image to the next make the poem a journey through a library of books, with each subject as fascinating as the one before it.

Rating: 8/10

The reader: Slate poetry podcast offers poems from living poets, often reading their own work. The webpage provides the text and a discussion by readers, making it easy to follow along. McGrath reads his poem with a voice that has a conversational tone, but with the rhythms of poetry. He speaks clearly in a general American accent and reads at a slow-to-moderate pace that lets the words fill the mind as they go by.

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