Well, the tinsel is in the attic, the fruitcake has been taken to the proper recycling facilities, and we’ve sworn off eggnog forever. But we’re still in the gift-giving mood! So we offer the following quiz to test your poetry knowledge and general CR street cred. Included below is a list of some of our most widely known contributors and a series of excerpts from their poems. The first person to match correctly each excerpt to its poet gets the choice of a free back issue, thermos, or slingpack. Who’s ready to throw down?
(To enter, post your comments on the blog by clicking the post title above. Due to the volume of spam we receive, we have to approve each comment individually, so bear with us as we upload your entry.)
We’ll post the correct answers as soon as we have a winner!
- Billy Collins
- Molly Peacock
- J. D. McClatchy
- Bob Hicok
- Claudia Emerson
a. The South walked up a gentle hill
into sun and Northern guns, it was stupid
but accurate, according to Tony, who shouted,
“Way to die, baby, way to die,” when Bill went down,
gut-clutched. Real smoke from sham shots
tufted and rolled in the barely breeze.
Bill writhed ten minutes and stopped.
b. Or the loose change of stars on the night table
Over Cholula, the dust from yesterday’s eruption
Still settling in cracks along the pyramid’s mural
Of warriors with jaguar heads pulling ribbons
Of gut from slave-birds, men from further
Inland lured by the promise of a god.
c. Your eye is like the eye of a dog
I met as a child. I felt it was about
to speak to me the wisdom I would need
for my whole life, if only it would talk.
And understanding nothing would be spoken
made me vow to pledge my life to it.
d. After I had beaten my sword into a ploughshare,
I beat my ploughshare into a hoe,
Then beat the hoe into a fork,
Which I used to eat my dinner alone.
but not inaccurate—headless, armless,
all torso, a sculpture mutilated. The breast
lifts off, easy as the lid from a pot, the heart
and lungs beneath; the belly comes away then
from neat intestines, from the chalky fetus nestled
in the womb worn smooth from all the hands
reaching in for this conclusion.