Tuesday Poem: ‘Change Your Name, Poetry’ by Adrienne Gilde

You ought to change your name, poetry.
You’re one of those words like courage,
conjures difficulty up the road,
or mother, even more trying.

I had to put you at the end of the line, poetry,
because the minute you start something
someone has to walk or spit.

I had to say you stood for pudding,
onerous, enact, tryst, redound and yes,
among others, just to get you in here.

People are afraid of you. Afraid they’ll
have to learn another thing about gulls.

You’re like the Jew of art, ostracized,
apologetic when you get up to read,
promising brevity, ending with gratitude.

And what do they say about you –
something about sacrifice?
You ought to change your name, poetry.


first published in the April 2012 issue of A Baker’s Dozen.

Adrienne Gilde’s work has appeared in the Madison Review,  Mudfish, Global City Review, and others. She was the first-prize winner in the first competition held by the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, and most recently was the first-prize winner in the chapbook contest sponsored by the Poets of the Palm Beaches. Her work has been read on WBAI-fm radio in New York City. Her manuscript Change Your Name, Poetry was a finalist for the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry.

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7 Responses to Tuesday Poem: ‘Change Your Name, Poetry’ by Adrienne Gilde

  1. Helen Lowe says:

    I think Shakespeare had something to say on this–something about a rose, I believe, and any other name … 😉

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I love this, Michelle! I particularly loved those two lines in the middle ‘People are afraid of you…’ I like the conversational tone, how the writer is talking to poetry. Great stuff – Adrienne is very talented!

  3. gurglewords says:

    Yes it’s a very interesting poem. There’s a power of truth in it. I really like the rhythm of the opening words. I see a woman with hands on her hips and one of those Coronation Street (old days) headscarves around her head..she’s probably about to pour a bucket of water over the topic to give it some chutzpah.

  4. Yes, this poem has a wonderful voice. Crystal clear, certain. I really like it more every time I read it.

    Thanks for the comments, Helen, Elizabeth and Gurgle. I see we’re all making the rounds tonight. See you in your neck of the woods…

  5. pscottier says:

    I like the fear of having to engage in ornithology. There are so very many poems about birds. I’m guilty of it myself.

  6. And yet poetry is stubborn and resilient, the cockroach of literature, often stomped on but never quite extinguished, still extending those questing feelers come what may.

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