Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Jean Donnelly, from Legend

Jean Donnelly

the little king says
hand me a mirror
he is handed a mirror

the little king says
there are guests in every room
there are guests in every room

the little king says
our rooms have shadows
our guests have shadows

the little king speaks
softly to his shadow

the little king is
laughing in every room

from Anthem (Sun & Moon, 2002)

Legend, the 26-section poem cycle from which "Ii" is excerpted, is an abecedarium of sorts: an alphabet poem, but one that is more suggested by the alphabet than ordered by it. I first read this poem in The Germ No. 3 (1999), along with several other sections of the series.

This is a great poem to use in classroom exercises, to get students thinking about the imagery of letters: how psychological and narrative nuances can be teased out of typographical form, how repetitions and near-repetitions can develop grammatical and syntactic figures.

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