Welcome to this month’s poetry classroom, with poet and professor Marjorie Maddox. We invite you to respond to the poems we’ll share here—their forms, images, sounds, meanings, surprises—ask questions of Marjorie and each other, and write your own poems along the way.
are what we want,
thick as the blisters
stacked beneath our sneakers.
sprawled provocatively across clean sheets.
Give us beer
for the can opener in the bathroom,
gossip for the in-room fax,
touch-tone fingers for the hundred-plus
channels of cable
deliciously at our command.
Let every tour
dine in castles without us,
dance the pre-paid waltz
beside the postcard Danube.
We are in love
with room service at midnight,
with miniature soaps, whirlpools,
eternal hot water, the overwhelming,
seductive allure of terry.
1. What do you notice about the title as related to the first line of the poem? Have you ever considered writing a poem in this way? What might make such a choice more or less successful?
2. Consider the impact of word choice. What if the newspapers had been “scattered” as opposed to “sprawled”?
3. This is a poem about towels. Or is it? One line break in particular is very telling. If you write poetry, have you ever considered how a single line break could affect the meaning of your poem? Will this affect your use of line breaks in the future?