A Name is a Kind of Poem

This week’s featured poetry form is a catalogue poem. It’s just what it sounds like–a list of things. It’s one of the oldest recorded forms of poetry and I guess that’s because we are always forgetting and having to write things down! According to Ed Hirsch in The Poet’s Glossary, it is a form that is always considered a kind of praise poem, a hymn to the “diversity and unity” of our surroundings. Here is a loose example of this in today’s offering….

A Name is a Kind of Poem
by Julie Sumner

Christopher Columbus, cumulonimbus,
Blue nile lily, also called agapanthus,
Fairhope and Constantinople,
Loblolly pines, porcupines, the San Andreas fault line;
Carolina wren and Eastern towhee,
Cupid, Psyche, Jacques Cousteau, and Opie’s Aunt Bea,
Lydia, who walks the wolfhound down your street.

Specificity breeds a dearness unknown
To generality’s blurred reflection.

The thing itself
Gains a life all its own,
And in its dying
Can cut you to the bone.

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