“Reintroduction to Poetry” by Adam Szetela

Adam Szetela


Billy Collins said that we should not
beat a poem with a hose.

My colleague says that Billy Collins
never checked his privilege.

She tells me that we should take a poem
to a public place.

Staple it to a waterboard
and listen to it gasp for air.

Or drop a starving rat
into the body of a poem
and watch it eat its way out.

I ask her to keep the light on outside
and to invite a poem in for dinner
or to meditate with a poem on the top of a hill.

She asks me if I want to be an ally
or if I want to march with tiki torches.

Tomorrow, I’ll let her hang my poems
from the strappado of Twitter

so that we can find out what they really mean.

from Poets Respond
February 10, 2019


Adam Szetela: “I wrote this poem in response to the public beatdown of Amélie Wen Zhao. Although it could have just as easily been written in response to the censure of Anders Carlson-Wee and other writers. In the name of social justice, there is a trend to give writers the least generous readings. These public performances of outrage are disastrous for both art and politics.” (web)

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