“Eating Poetry”

Canadian-American Poet Mark Strand (1934-2014)

I had not heard of Mark Strand until I read an interview between him and Wallace Shawn that is reprinted in Shawn’s Essays. The following is one of his most famous poems. It is also a hoot.

Eating Poetry
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth
There is no happiness like mine
I have been eating poetry.
The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.
The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.
Their eyeballs roll,
Their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.
She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.
I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.