So here I’ve been consuming contemporary verse
along with long essays about contemporary verse,
a nearly paralyzing experience that has taught me
that I know nothing about poetry, despite the fact
that I’ve been scribbling poems for all my long life.
If I tell you about an amazing tree in my son’s yard,
I probably shouldn’t have a real son and that son
probably shouldn’t have a yard with any sort of tree,
especially a tree which I here so carefully describe:
it has several scrawny trunks and a name I forget.
What you have to understand is how this odd tree
represents the various subdivisions of a philosophy
which is currently fashionable among intellectuals
who profess at Ivy League colleges or perversely
in a few large universities or endowed foundations.
If you are a true practitioner of this new philosophy
you must automatically scorn any old fuddy duddy
who still insists on introducing distractions such as
leaves or roots or bark in any high-level discussion
regarding trees. Moral: If any fool can see it clearly,
well then, it clearly doesn’t exist.
Penelope Scambly Schott is a past recipient of the Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Her newest collection is called WAVING FLY SWATTERS AT ANGELS.