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Friday, August 28, 2015

Poetry Friday--"Talking to Little Birdies"

Even if you're not a big poetry fan, Charles Simic is an engaging speaker. I saw him a year ago, and I've been waiting for another opportunity to hear him again. That opportunity is here! Simic will be the featured reader at the first New Hampshire Poetry Festival. The festival will take place on Saturday, September 19, at the NH Institute of Art in Manchester. To learn more and/or to register, click here.

I'm surprised it has taken so long for New Hampshire to have its own poetry festival--NH is famous for its poets. Of course there's Robert Frost, who was also U. S. Consultant in Poetry 1958-59. Frost was followed by Richard Eberhart 1959-61, who also hailed from NH. Other NH poets who went on to achieve the national honor, which is now called the U. S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, are Maxine Kumin 1981-82, Donald Hall 2006-07, and today's poet, Charles Simic 2007-08.

Here's a poem from Charles Simic that tickles my funny-bone. It is from Walking the Black Cat: Poems [811 SIM].
Talking to Little Birdies

Not a peep out of you now
After the bedlam early this morning.
Are you begging pardon of me
Hidden up there among the leaves,
Or are your brains momentarily overtaxed?

You savvy a few things I don't:
The overlooked sunflower seed worth a holler;
The traffic of cats in the yard;
Strangers leaving the widow's house,
Tieless and wearing crooked grins.

Or have you got wind of the world's news?
Some new horror I haven't heard about yet?
Which one of you was so bold as to warn me,
Our sweet setup is in danger?

Kids are playing soldiers down the road,
Pointing their rifles and playing dead.
Little birdies, are you sneaking wary looks
In the thick foliage
As you hear me say this?

Poetry for Children will be hosting this week's Round-Up. The blog belongs to Sylvia Vardell, who if you didn't know, is the co-compiler and editor, with Janet Wong, of the "Poetry Friday" anthology series of books. The newest in the series is The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations: Holiday Poems for the Whole Year in English and Spanish [Teacher/librarian edition: 372.64 POE, children's edition: J 808.81 POE].


  1. Hi, Diane, thanks for joining our Poetry Friday fun this week and the lovely plug.
    And what a treat to get to hear Simic read his work aloud-- one of my favorite things is hearing poems read by the poets who wrote them. I'm envious!

  2. "Our sweet setup is in danger" -- great way to put it. Just read about the Texas deputy murdered and am sorry I got wind of "some new horror." Ugh.