Friday, May 05, 2006

Daily Poem Project, Week 4

This week's vote for the Daily Poem Project took place on Tuesday, May 2. (I have only found the time to type it up just now, on Friday night.) The poems in question were those on Poetry Daily from Tuesday, April 25, to Monday, May 1.

The vote was again exceptionally close. The winner, "Woofer (When I Consider the African-American)," by Terrance Hayes (from his new book Wind in a Box), received five votes, while three other poems received four votes each: Seamus Heaney's translation of the anonymous ninth-century Irish poem "Pangur Bán," Martha Silano's wonderfully titled "Getting Kicked by a Fetus," and John Hodgen's equally wonderfully titled "When Dylan Left Hibbing, Minnesota, August 1959." Come to think of it, Hayes's poem has a wonderful title, too.

In fact, the four poems receiving the most votes were the four that I had on my (quite long) short list. I ended up voting for Hayes's poem because of its witty, memorable, and intellectually convincing dissection of the expression "African-American":

I think of a string of people connected one to another
and including the two of us there in the basement
linked by a hyphen filled with blood;
linked by a blood filled baton in one great historical relay.

That's the poem's conclusion; it also includes a wonderful story about a pickup line:

..........I met her waiting for the rush hour bus in October
because I have always been a sucker for deep blue denim
and Afros and because she spoke so slowly
when she asked the time. I wrote my phone number
in the back of the book of poems I had and said
something like "You can return it when I see you again"
which has to be one of my top two or three best
pickup lines ever. ...

Week 3
Week 2
Week 1 (with explanation of project)


Anonymous said...

I just read the Terence Hays poem, and have a question that perhaps you can answer: what are "tek nines" ??? --

Andrew Shields said...

I googled "tek nines" and the first few links are to Hayes's poem, but then most of the rest of the links are to rap lyrics, which suggest that "tek nines" are a type of gun:

"Selling cocaine, and holding tek nines"

"So these cats bring 38's, tek nines and 45's"

Or from a blog:

"The Police went ahead with M16's, The gunmen stepped up too, with M16s, Uzis, Tek Nines, AK47s et al."