Friday, August 1, 2008

1921: T. S. Eliot Discards An Early Draft

August is the humidest month, breeding
Muffin tops and dewy sweat on the fuzz
Of upper lips

I don't think very much of September either
No bank holidays until Christmas and the traffic
Is simply beastly


Ever imagine what a poem would have looked like if written in another place or time--or by another person?

In a recent piece in the NYT Book Review, David Orr wrote that if Seamus Heaney’s oeuvre were revealed to have been written by a Portuguese guy living in Toronto, it would entirely disrupt our sense of his poetry.

I'd love to see some new opening stanzas: Sylvia Plath's version of "Daddy" after they've gone to family therapy. e.e. cummings' version of Wordsworth's "Ode: Intimations of Immortality." Langston Hughes writes about dreams deferred, but during this election year.

Or, if you really want a challenge, a poem of Seamus Heaney's as written by a Portuguese guy living in Toronto.

3 comments:

Norman de Plume said...

rewrite of Sonnet 18:

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
You're just as sweaty, and your arm pits stink
As, one imagines, the armpits of May...
Which, though in spring, makes my point, don't you think?
For ah, nature is a foul-swelling beast--
A true perv out casing the roller rink
And we do best to accept its lewd wink
Or it may attack us, and on us feast.
But I have gone Petrarchan where I first
Embarked all bard-like...oh well; we are cursed,
We poets, to molest the proper forms,
To bed them and spank them: for we are worms
Who will never admit our only need
Is kin not to flowers but to their seed.

M. C. Allan said...

thanks for an excellent one, Norm [not your real name]

Ogden Nash rewrites Plath's "Daddy"

You stink, Pops.
You're practically a Nazi.
Whenever you arrive in the fiery place of incredibly painful torments and chortling demons,
I hope you rot-zi.

Umberto Due said...

A parody of T.S. Eliot by a true master, V.V. Nabokov, in chapter 5 of "Lolita:"

...Fräulein von Kulp
may turn, her hand upon the door;
I will not follow her. Nor Fresca. Nor
that Gull.