Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Shakespeare-Related Poem: "My Students" by Ron Koertge

Koertge, Ron. "My Students." In a Fine Frenzy: Poets Respond to Shakespeare. Ed. David Starkey and Paul J. Willis. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2005. 25.

This is the third poem in our series of great poems related to Shakespeare written by modern authors.

Many of the poems in the collection reflect on specific plays or sonnets.

This one takes more of a biographical approach—but it's one that thinks about the narrator's students and their imagined idea of Shakespeare.

The ultimate joke may be that Shakespeare was involved not only in deep thought and the composition of magnificent poetry but also in the stuff that doesn't make you famous but that's mentioned in the poem below.
Ron Koertge

My Students

picture shakespeare just like the domed
bust in Senior English plus puffy pants
and sissy shoes.

They see him sitting in an open window
thinking deep thoughts while below
the Avon teems with life—coal and casks
of wine one way, barges of lowing cattle
the other.

And along the banks, young people kissing
with their mouths open, grappling with
the other’s odd clothes,

all the stuff that doesn’t make you famous
but that’s a lot more fun than poetry.

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Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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