Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Cabaret Ludwig" by Rachel Wetzsteon

Source: Poetry Magazine podcast (mp3)
Length: 42 seconds (starts at 2:23)
Reader: Don Share

The poem: As Poetry Magazine editor Don Share points out in this podcast, not many modern poets use rhyme in their poems. Rachel Wetzsteon does, and uses rhyme with such ability that I immediately had to listen to this poem again, then again. The effect is like a hit song where you're drawn in by the sound before you even get a grasp on what the words are saying.

The words hold up to the sound. Wetzsteon starts out confrontational, but shows her playfulness with the last line of the first stanza: "for this is not a duck". The poem becomes flirty: "Let's multiply and twitch our noses", then concludes with a determination to find love despite difficulties and despite what others might say.

Rating: 8/10

The reader: I could have picked any of over a half-dozen top-notch poems from this episode of the Poetry Magazine podcast. Eleanor Ross Taylor's "Vita" is a tiny gem of childhood life. Jane Mead's two poems have a lovely sound and are really enhanced by the podcast's production. The second poem by Bob Hickman, about his dying 17 year old dog was both touching and laugh-out-loud funny. The commentary by Share and associate editor Fred Sasaki point out images and words I missed on the first listen and made me want to revisit these poems. If you're a fan of poetry, this is a monthly podcast you'll want to add to your listening list, and Poetry Magazine may be something you'll want to add to your Christmas list.

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