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Take any two poems and open them up. Imagine they are clockwork clocks or watches. Relative to their respective lengths, which one is most liberally provided with moving parts - in your opinion? Do you not think this one the better poem, The more moving of the two? Billy Collins's Japan * has more moving parts than either Little Giddings** by T. S. Eliot or Margaret Atwood's This is a photograph of me.*** Discuss. If you prefer, discuss among yourselves. Choose any poem you admire. Highlight in yellow all the moving parts. Do they make sense without the rest? Do the rest add up to anything without them? ............................................ * Japan ** Little Giddings *** This is a Photograph of Me
Back Story Yesterday I went to my Amazon account and was surprised to discover that two books were wending their way towards me: One which has been on my shelves for a year or two now and was marked as being due for delivery in September 2010; the other I had not heard of, but being only a few pounds and being that I might have ordered it and then forgotten all about it, I decided to let it be. It was (is) called Moving Parts. It served to remind me that once long ago I wrote an essay comparing a poem to a watch with moving parts. (This was long before the digital age, of course. The essay has gone the way of all flesh. I might have to rethink it, but here for now this knocked-off poem!
And having foisted this load of nonsense on you, I am ducking off now, taking cover until early next week when I will once again stick my head above the parapet and endeavour to answer any comments you may have left. Adios.