Here are the final rounds in our Poetry Final Four.
Out of the East Region comes the ten seedÂ Another Reason Why I Donâ€™t Keep A Gun In The House by Billy Collins.Â Collins’ opponent was the sixth seeded survivor of the South Region, The Execution by Andrei Codrescu.Â In the other game, the MidwestÂ twelfth seeded Love Rode 1500 Miles by Judy Grahn went up against Robinson Jeffers’ To The Stone-Cutters,Â which was the sixteenth seed out of the West Region.
Gun in the House outlasted The Execution in a nail biter.Â Combining word repetition with an accessible sense of humor, Collins was able to connect with my students on a variety of levels.Â Codrescu never gave in, and his visual style kept him in it late.Â I think a perceived sense of fatalism did The Execution in, although it provided a dark humor that helped the poem in earlier rounds.
In the other game, Love Rode 1500 Miles powered by To the Stone-Cutters.Â Metaphor proved no match for personification with my students, as Grahn’s use of romantic imagery generated much emotion and reaction.
The finals were a great contest as the Collins poem came out on top.Â Although Grahn’s poem lead to a great discussion on whether or not one can “wait actively”, Collins’ barking dog was a favorite throughout the tournament.Â I believe that both of the poems work well at a very literal level, which appeals to my students.Â The nice thing is that both contain so much going on under the surface that once I have literally hooked my kids, I can reel them in metaphorically.Â Anyway, getting a chance to look at so many good poems made me a winner.