Skip to comments.“A Reader at Home in Middle-Earth” [FReeper poem in the NYT]
Posted on 02/01/2015 2:24:26 PM PST by Silly
Some people look like their dogs; Paul Klenk
some like their spouses.
You see they belong together, and you smile.
This subway rider looked like,
and belonged to, his thick book.
Ginger hair, pulled back in a tail
away from his ruddy baby face,
matching his scruffy beard.
Youthful and burly, rustic and earthy,
dressed for the outdoors
in a jacket and a pale red flannel shirt.
Not yet spoiled by city life, innocent,
unadventured, but poised to begin,
clutching his treasured story in readiness.
What was that book to him?
No clue from his silent eyes,
the exact same glacial gray slate-blue
as the dust jacket, subtitled:
An Illustrated Edition of the Fantasy Classic.
I smiled, too polite to steal the pic I wanted,
of the normal-footed man I had spotted
on the 1 train, reading The Hobbit.
(Excerpt) Read more at cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com ...
That is a very beautiful poem!
Keep on writing them.
You are darn good!
Congratulations! Great poem: seeing the extraordinary in the mundane.
way to go
So here’s a real post you may enjoy. Believe it or not, it’s even more enjoyable than my test!
bump and congrats!
I enjoyed the poem, the lyrical phrasing coated with familiar imagery. Made me think of some work by Yates.
I tried to write poetry once and was arrested.
Many thanks to all of you for your kind words! I do intend to write more poetry; I have another one for the Times I’m working on.
I have also had seven pieces of creative nonfiction published in this Times column; keep your eyes open here on FR for the most recent (August 24, 2014). The Times hired prolific artist Victor Kerlow to lovingly illustrate it. I sent another submission one week ago today, and have another to send immediately upon hearing back from my editor. I am very excited about both of these new pieces and have hopes that they will be published.
p.s. I will start maintaining a private ping list so you can be notified when my pieces are posted (past ones and future ones). Don’t be shy about PMing me if you want off the list.
As a geek who generally disdains poetry.......loved that poem.
Keep on truckin’!
That was charming, thank you for sharing it!
A high compliment indeed, sir!
If it makes you feel better, this piece actually also works as prose. If you will notice, the stanzas are, for the most part, written in standard subject-predicate sentences. So you may call it free-verse, poetry, and prose all simultaneously. It was a nice experiment to avoid standard conventional poetic forms and devices such as rhyming and meter (both of which I excel at). But I still embedded it with enough alliteration and echoes of rhyme to appeal to poetry lovers.
Can’t wait for you to read more...!
I’ll send this to my friend who ran the homeschool association Hobbit Club. We studied the book for nine months before the first movie came out. Even my thick-headed #4 son got enough out of it to mumble, “Hey, that wasn’t in the book!”
That’s funny! Kids really are crazy about The Hobbit.
I just learned that my niece is crazy about the poem, and has read it countless times. Tonight I recorded myself reading it for her, and will upload it to YouTube so she can listen to her uncle perform a reading.
As a side note, you may be aware that the Times tags many of its pieces with keywords, creating an online index of topics, so readers can reference work that connects to each tag. I was tickled to see that when this piece was published on the 21st, the Times added a new tag, “Hobbit-Book”, to index future articles referencing Tolkien’s work.
After we studied The Hobbit, I read all of “The Lord of the Rings” to teh byos, and now we’re reading “The Silmarillion.” (”You do too like it, James. It’s full of Vocabulary.” James is the one who’s not the sharpest knife in the chandelier.)
“Teh byos” are the four youngest sons: Patrick, 13; James, 11; Daniel, 9; Frank, 5.
Hey Silly, congratulations! Love the poem - I’m sure I’ll find myself looking for that Reader next time I’m on the 1 train!
Nice to see you again on FR. Please add me to your ping list. And when’s the next Manhattan FReeper Happy Hour?
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