Friday, February 10, 2006

No Instructions Necessary!

[You are reading this too fast.]
by Ken Norris

You are reading this too fast.
Slow down for this is poetry
and poetry works slowly.
Unless you live with it a while
the spirit will never descend.
It's so easy to quickly cut across the surface
and then claim there was nothing to find.
Touch the poem gently with your eyes
just as you would touch a lover's flesh.
Poetry is an exercise in patience,
you must wait for it to come to you.
The spirit manifests in many guises;
some quiver with beauty,
some vibrate with song.
What is happening?
Slow down, slow down,
take a few deep breaths,
read the poem slowly,
read the words one at a time,
read the words one by one,
and the spaces between the words,
get sleepy, this is poetry,
relax until your heart
is vulnerable, wide open.

From Canadian Poetry Now: 20 Poets of The '80's
Edited by Ken Norris
1984 - House of Anansi Press

Ken Norris was born in New York City in 1951. He emigrated to Canada in the early seventies and quickly became one of Montreal’s infamous Véhicule Poets. He attended SUNY at Stony Brook (B.A.), Concordia University (M.A.), McGill University (Ph.D.). Recognized as one of Canada’s most prolific poets, Norris has always given his readers quirky and edgy poetry that continually reveals unanticipated possibilities and explores new horizons. He is the author of two dozen books and chapbooks of poetry, and he is the editor of eight anthologies of poetry and poetics. His work has also been widely anthologized in Canada and in the English-speaking world, as well as published in translation in France, Belgium and Israel. His 1998 poetry volume Limbo Road has recently been translated into French by Pierre Des Ruisseaux and published by Écrits des Forges.

Norris now teaches Canadian literature and creative writing at the University of Maine and divides his time among the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.

Books by Ken Norris

Dominican Moon
Hotel Montreal: New and Selected Poems
Limbo Road

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