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December 24, 2010

Poetry Friday--"Shoplifting Poetry"

Today I've picked a poem from a book published more than 30 years ago. The book is entitled, The Ardis Anthology of New American Poetry. Although the poems can no longer be considered new, they still feel fresh. This one I found so delightful, I wanted to share it with you as a holiday gift:
Shoplifting Poetry
      by Martin Steingesser

We're in the bookstore stealing poems,
lifting the best lines--
You cop one from Williams,
I stick my hand into Pound.
No one's looking...
I throw you a line from The Cantos--
It disappears in your ear like spaghetti.
We stuff ourselves with Crane,
cummings, Lowell, Voznesensky--
Neruda, Rilke, Yeats!
The goods dissolve in our brain.
Now we move from the shelves with caution.
The cashier's watching. Can she tell?
Fat! We've overeaten.
You giggle. End-rhymes leak at your lips like bubbles.
I clap a hand on your mouth.
You are holding my ears
as we fall out the door.

      ©1977, Martin Steingesser, all rights reserved
What an idea! Youthfully exuberant criminality, yet completely victimless! Great fun!

Many thanks to Martin Steingesser for permission to post his poem.

Visit Mary Lee at A Year of Reading for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Have a great Christmas if you celebrate it, and have a great weekend if you don't!

Image courtesy Library of Congress.


  1. That's a keeper, Diane. You're right -- it's still fresh. Great ending.

    Happy Holidays!

  2. What an exuberant poem, Diane. I love those bubbling end-rhymes.

    Have a lovely winter celebration.

  3. One of my poetry teachers said, "Only steal from the best." This embodies her sentiment in the best way.

  4. Thanks for commenting during this busy time! Happy holidays, ladies!

  5. A perfect way to begin the Poetry Friday Roundup! It should be our national anthem!!

  6. Just got to this post today, with Christmas over and things settling down. That sounds like quite a heist - Neruda, Rilke, Yeats, cummings, etc. Fun! Thanks, Diane.