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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Thursday, June 20 2002 

Verse, or worse

Though I once may have thought I did, I now have to profess that I don't "get" poetry. Even as a child and more understandably as a moonstruck youth, I found poetry meaningful and was often moved to dabble in writing verses. But for some years now I seem to dislike even the idea of poems. Reading the daily Chicken Soup for the Soul emails are usually a highlight of my mornings, but if I see the piece is formatted in verse form I mentally grimmace, thinking it will be a chore to even try reading it, much less getting much from doing so. If I do make the effort, usually my misgivings seem well founded. Maybe it was the final adjustment to giving up all interest in romantic love, after my divorce, that brought me to this illiterary pass. But, presumably, poetry is not just or even mainly about romance.

Still, if literature is my vocation, am I missing something? In facing that question, it might be constructive to examine just what a poem is and whether poetry has any significant purpose, and ask any of you who'll oblige to join the search for insight. So here are some exploratory propositions for the sake of conversation, not necessarily reflections of my own opinions:

A poem is the highest form of human utterance. Poems put thoughts in their best dress. The poet turns utterance into art. A poem is a gift from and of the soul of its giver, a bouquet of words, a spiritual flower. If the proposition that "art is qualified (defined) by its allusiveness" is true, that which "alludes to" aspects of life most poignantly, causing us to be gripped by the power and the beauty of its conveyance, is the best art. This can pertain to a painting, a song, a performance, a novel, film. play, or poem.

Perhaps poetry is a no-longer-relevant artform? There was a time when a great moment—a triumph, a tragedy, the end of a life, a tribute—virtually required a poet. The classic Greek poets like Homer set the precedence, as did in English such pioneers as Geoffrey Chaucer and John Milton. But now the rap musicians, hard rockers, evening news anchors, and talk show hosts have the floor of our collective consciousness, and aren't likely to be yielding. You think?

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Just for teachers

This is reportedly the answering machine message of the Pacific Palisades High School.

"Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting the right staff member, please listen to all your options before making a selection:
To lie about why your child is absent - Press 1
To make excuses for why your child did not do his work - Press 2
To complain about what we do - Press 3
To swear at staff members - Press 4
To ask why you didn't get information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several flyers mailed to you - Press 5
If you want us to raise your child - Press 6
If you want to reach out and touch, slap, or hit someone - Press 7
To request another teacher for the third time this year - Press 8
To complain about bus transportation - Press 9
To complain about school lunches - Press 0
If you realize this is the real world and your child must be accountable/responsible for his/her own behavior, class work, homework, and that it's not the teachers' fault for your child(ren)'s lack of effort, hang up and have a nice day!
"

— Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz

Thought for today

If we were able to see God's image in our neighbor, do you think weapons and generals would be needed?

—Mother Teresa

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