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The following is an excerpt from "Every Poem Is a List Poem," by James Davis, which I really liked in a recent issue of the Nashville Review.

[...]Every poem
is about life, especially the ones about death, and life
is a list of lists: A and D, bucket and shit,
top tens and next-ins, and the list
goes on [...]


To read the rest, click here.


As a big fan of lists, list poems, lists of lists, listings, list-making utensils, etc., I chose this poem to highlight today. Mary Lee Hahn hosts the Poetry Friday roundup at the very fab A(nother) Year of Reading on March 31st. We're on the verge of National Poetry Month, and while I feel great enthusiasm about it this year, I have nothing planned so far. I better start making a list.


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Susan, clever post. I like the beginning defining lists, the fascinating discussion of lists in Davis' poem (by the way, I did choose donkeywork) Then your sweet conclusion. There will be no shortage of ideas for National Poetry Month! My list is growing daily.

Me, too, Denise! Maybe James Davis is making “donkeywork” famous. I’m trying to read around & see what the lit journals are publishing. This poem was so appealing.

Oh, how I love lists! There are at least four within my sight (not counting your post). How clever that you started your post with the dictionary and Davis ends his poem with the dictionary! For the record, I chose plink, but it's raining (again) so it seemed the most pertinent. Maybe I'll write a list poem of rain sounds...

I never fail to think of “plink, plank, plunk” and Blueberries for Sal when I see that word! I look forward to reading the rain poem, Mary Lee.

This poem made me laugh out loud, as well agree fervently with the premise. I believe that listmaking is donkeywork, and I am already married to it! Thanks, Susan.

What an imaginative poem! Thanks for sharing it. I have nothing planned yet, either, but am thinking. List poems are fascinating as they flesh out a topic or help you consider something you've ignored or just surprise you with a word you've forgotten. I look forward to see what everyone does this month.

Wow, lots to think about with this poem. I felt smugged because I picked gentoo😅 Happy Poetry Month!

"Listmaking is donkeywork" made me laugh, Heidi. Often I like to write the list more than I like to do what's on it.

Janice, you are right about list poems! Sometimes just seeing the words on paper is enough to get the ideas flowing.

Laura, I had no idea until I looked it up that "gentoo" is an archaic form of "Hindu." I only knew it from gentoo penguins. And those I familiar with because of reading to 1st & 2nd graders!

Happy Poetry Month to all.

Lists! I could not get through a day without consulting one. And there is little as satisfying as striking something off of one.
Thank you for this great poem.

Yes, better start your list! What fun to read this, sometimes our own lists seem nothing but mishmash, which is on my favorites list. Happy Friday & Poetry Month!

I really like this poem-- especially the phrase "the dictionary is a list of mutants." There's a story somewhere in that phrase... Thank you for sharing!

Ha, yes! I need to start that list too. :)

Not only do I not yet have anything planned for NPM, I didn't even get a post done for yesterday. But never fear, every month is Poetry Month for many of us, so it's all good. :)

Lou, you're welcome. James Davis does have a book out, and I plan to track it down.

Linda, Happy Poetry Month. I can't believe it's April already.

Sarah Grace, yes, take that line and run. I know a good poem will result.

Karen, so true. I do hope to share some poetry with my first and second grade friends this coming week. I'll let y'all know how it goes.

A list has saved me more than once in my struggles with poetry. That being said, Davis definitely takes this to another level. Thank you for sharing.

Ha! He does. Thanks for stopping by.

I definitely chose donkeywork! Thanks for sharing the poem.

You're welcome, Patricia. I've enjoyed reading around some of the current issues of the lit journals.

Thanks for sharing Davis" playful poem-love all his words, mutant, and the list that follows, thanks!

Michelle, I'm glad you liked it. I was considering a dictionary-centric National Poetry Month, so we'll see what the results are!

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