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Monday, July 25, 2011

Number 225: Wendy Cope "The Uncertainty of the Poet"

The Uncertainty of the Poet

I am a poet,

I am very fond of bananas.

I am bananas,

I am very fond of a poet.

I am a poet of bananas.

I am very fond.

A fond poet of 'I am, I am' -

Very bananas.

Fond of 'Am I bananas?

Am I?' - a very poet.

Bananas of a poet!

Am I fond? Am I very?

Poet bananas! I am

I am fond of a 'very'.

I am of very fond bananas.

Am I a poet?

-- Wendy Cope

Hap Notes: Well, first off Cope is having fun with this bit of poetic deconstruction. Her constant re-phrasing of the statements and questions are funny and make us feel as though we are going bananas as we read the verses.

There is some real work being done by this poem, too. The title of the poem is from surrealist painter Georgio de Chirico's work of the same name. (It is pictured on this page and on the masthead.) De Chirico may be making a statement about the classic and the organic, the real and the imagined, the permanent and the temporal and the absurd difficulty of communicating. The same thing could be said of Cope's poem but she does it with her very personal brand of humor. The de Chirico painting, by the by, is housed at the Tate in London and one assumes she's seen it in person.

Cope has done a number of poems in which she mimics, makes fun of and prods the form. This is most certainly one of them. And, of course, she's poking a bit at de Chirico, too.

Here's where we've talked about Cope before:


  1. Chrome thinks this is written in Romanian...

  2. bananas are very real and anyone can digest them ... hopefully anyway, and they become part of you in a very real way ... may give you a bit of energy ... 'Art' can be very difficult to digest and the artist/poet is always uncertain how it will be received by the viewer/reader ... how the artist/poet would like it to be perceived is of course another matter