Welcome to this month’s poetry classroom, with poet and professor Julie L. Moore. We invite you to respond to the poems we’ll share here—their forms, images, sounds, meanings, surprises—ask questions of Julie and each other, and write your own poems along the way.
I’m into ornithology now—
it’s poetry’s fault the birds
zoom into this line
or that, and I don’t want to say,
generically, bird—no anonymous
fowls for me, no!—I want to write
Yellow-rumped Warbler or Scarlet Tanager
or here, this one, White-breasted Nuthatch.
Ah, yes, this one can skip along the trunk of a tree
like a stone across a pond. And it can hammer
at seeds and peck for bugs while its hind nail
digs into bark, balancing
its plush body on the primal edge
1. The poet says it is poetry’s fault she is into ornithology. Has poetry gotten you “into” anything you never expected? What can you blame on poetry?
2. How does the use of specific names affect a poem? This poem? Would you be just as happy if the poet had simply used “birds”?
3. The poet claims not wanting anonymity. How does anonymity affect relationship? If poems avoid anonymity, is there a way, then, in which they could change the nature of any given relationship?