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Angela St. Lawrence is the reigning queen of high-end, long distance training and Femme Domme phone sex, providing esoteric depravity for the aficionado, specializing in Erotic Fetish, Female Domination, Cock Control, Kinky Taboo and Sensual Debauchery. To make an appointment or speak with Ms. St. Lawrence  ...


Don’t Domme Your Poetry

Introduction to Poetry ~ Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to water ski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.


So many people struggle and wrestle with poetry:  What is it?  How is it?  Why is it?  How do I read it, understand it?

I’ve always said poetry is music without music.

That simple and that complex — which is the beauty of it.  You don’t have to understand it.

You don’t have to get every symbolic gesture.  Just feel it.  Just like you do your favorite songs, the music with the music.   It’s just like that.

Only different.  Know what I mean?

xo, Angela

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12 Responses to “Don’t Domme Your Poetry”

  1. hdb Says:

    Very intriguing. It kinda reminds me of jazz. It doesn’t have an easily identified meter, but catches you and moves you, if it’s good.

    This is the first of this gent’s work and I hope that there will be more.

    And of course, like always, Ms.Angela generously presents her fans with quality work.

    Thank you Dear Lady.

  2. LusciousLyndee Says:

    I absolutely understand what you mean! That is why I keep my poetry private! So many people have said, Lyndee…I don’t get it!
    I have been writing poetry since grade school, and so long as I get it, that is all that matters! But, it is nice when others get it, too! Or, at least attempt to…

  3. booklover35 Says:

    Thanks for sharing another poet laureate with us. We’ve had a string of good poets laureate recently: Robert Pinsky, who used the office to teach us about poets and poetry; Billy Collins, who merely by reading his own poetry showed us how universal a poem can be; and now Donald Hall, who still tries to explore what is essentially American about American poetry. All now being brought to us by Angela StLawrence, PSO laureate and a pretty fine poet in her own right.
    Damn, woman, I love this blog!

  4. hot java Says:

    By jove, I think she’s got it. It seems to me that poetry is best done when you are in the space of the spiritual-physical-emotional-intellectual union with no brakes engaged. Is what you write any good? Of course it is, just because you let er rip. It’s a bubble bath with candles, darkened room, perfect mood music with the one you love….

  5. Angela Says:

    I am loving my readers’ responses to this PSOetry idea of mine. Thank you all so very much for not only reading this silly blog of mine…but actually responding. And responding with so much joy and enthusiasm.

    SMOOCH! Angela

  6. puzzler565 Says:

    If I may not domme a poem, may I just be a “stanza submissive”, Mistress?
    We all respond differently to a poem, just as we respond differently to imaginative prose. (Thank you, PQS.) I love the image of pressing an ear against a poem’s hive – listening to the buzzing that goes on within and resonating to the life force which makes it hum.
    Life force? Ah, yes … this is Angela’s blog. Now there’s a life force!

  7. PQS Says:

    Reading the above poem — which I liked a lot — brings a question to mind. OK, one doesn’t have to torture every poem to extract a meaning — at least not all the time. Sometimes the meaning of a poem (as with this one) is very straightforward.

    But some poems invite rereading and deeper analysis. Take a favorite of mine — Dylan Thomas’ “A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London” for example. I don’t know that I want to torture a meaning out of it. But I think the beauty of it requires reading it over and over again; thinking about it; testing what I think its meaning is against other possible meanings. When I read a poem, I like to feel that I’m somewhere on the same plane as the author. If I’m not there, either he or I may have failed. Some poems require more out of a reader just listening to the buzz.

    Another thought. Collins says that when we read a poem we should relax. It’s OK to be satisfied with groping around for a switch, or probing around in it, like a mouse. If the poet and the reader aren’t 100% connected, he tells us not to worry too much.

    But if we shouldn’t be too concerned that we understand what a poet intends to say, then what should we be looking for when we read a poem? If meaning isn’t such a big deal, then what is there to distinguish a great poem from a mediocre or bad one? What are the earmarks of good poetry? Is great poetry like great music? Is a poem good, for example, because I like the beat and it’s easy to dance to? I dunno.

    Presumably Angie puts this stuff up to make us think. So what do you think?

  8. puzzler565 Says:

    My three critical questions are usually 1) what was the artist trying to do? 2)Did he or she do it well? And only then 3) Was it worth doing? True of a novel. True of a play. True of a painting. And true of a poem. So I agree with PQS – we should be trying to understand what the poet was about. However, in poetry, the sound is often part of the artistry. That’s why I like Collins’s beehive imagery; listening for the buzz, the sound of the poem, is part of our task as readers. Particularly, I might point out, with Dylan Thomas, also my favorite (“In My Craft or Sullen Art”, “Poem in October”), whose word choices sometimes make little sense unless you read them aloud and hear how the hive buzzes.

    “Deep with the first dead lies London’s daughter,
    Robed in the long friends,
    The grains beyond age, the dark veins of her mother,
    Secret by the unmourning water
    Of the riding Thames.
    After the first death, there is no other.”

  9. PQS Says:

    Good, Puzzler! Your rules of thumb are good basic analytical tools. I am going to remember them. And I also agree that listening to the “buzz” is, perhaps something one should do with any poem, as it obviously helps to put you on the same page as the poet.

    Some poems are unquestionably made to be read aloud. Dylan Thomas has been dead for many years, but his recorded readings of his poetry still sell. Listening to him read “A Refusal to Mourn” (which is “do-able” at the website referenced in my post) is certainly a worthwhile endeavor. There’s real majesty hearing the words of his poem roll out of Thomas’ mouth.

    In thinking about it, maybe I was wrong in my earlier post. Maybe Collins isn’t simply saying “don’t worry about getting at the meaning of a poem”. Maybe he’s only saying that there are different approaches to a poem — listening to it; probing around in it; looking for “switches” that throw light on it. Perhaps Collins is saying that the beauty of a poem lies partly in the approach one takes to find meaning (or perhaps better said — something meaningful).

    By “torturing” a poem — being overly concerned with extracting a “message” from it — some of the poem’s other beauties (its mood, its tone, its meter, rhyme, assonance, symbolism, juxtapositioning of words and ideas, metaphors, etc.) may be ignored or only given short-shrift. In poetry (as with most forms of literature) sometimes the “message” isn’t as important as how that message is communicated. Maybe that’s all Collins is saying.

  10. puzzler565 Says:

    Exactly. As hot java would say, “By Jove! I think he’s got it!” Happy reading.

  11. booklover Says:

    Thanks to all for a great conversation. All this on the fetish queen’s blog – who woulda thunk it? Angela is assembling quite a salon-full of interesting people around her. Our own Gertrude Stein, without Paris, Alice B. Toklas or marijuana-spiked brownies, but creating a fascinating community nonetheless.

  12. ZenFetish » Blog Archive » Mr. Collins, of course … Says:

    […] previously shared some of my favorite Billy Collins poetry with you (both HERE and HERE).  He’s just so damn good and he certainly knows his Emily well, I’m sure […]

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