Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Daily Poem Project, week 1

This semester, I am teaching a course called "13 Ways of Looking at a Poem." As part of this course, I am repeating the "Daily Poem Project" that was part of the course on "Quality" that I taught last summer with my colleague Lucia Michalcak.

The Daily Poem Project involves reading the poem on Poetry Daily every day for a week. Then the students in the course vote, as I do, for the best poem of the week. As the course is on Tuesday mornings, our week runs from Tuesday to Monday. After we have done this for twelve weeks, we will have a final vote in the last week of the term on the best of the winners. Last summer, the winning poem in the end was "The Shout," by Simon Armitage. Poems by Bob Hicok and Ted Kooser came in second and third.

The first vote for this semester took place this morning. The poems were those on Poetry Daily from Tuesday, April 4, to Monday, April 10, including a selection from Czeslaw Milosz's brilliant "A Treatise on Poetry" (which is included in a new and selected edition that has just been published) and "Elena Ceauçescu's Bed," by W. D. Snodgrass, a poet I have recently come to admire.

But the winner was a much younger poet, as well as a poem that I recommended yesterday in my last blog entry: "Fragment," by A. E. Stallings. Not only did it win, it won hands down: it received 11 votes, and all the other poems received one each. I was quite surprised that AES's poem won so easily against such strong competition (in addition to Milosz and Snodgrass, Tomaz Salamun; for the complete list, see PD's archive). Alicia beats the old guys!

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