Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ron Padgett's "Haiku" and "Nothing in that Drawer" (Commonplace Book)

"Haiku"
First: five syllables
Second: seven syllables
Third: five syllables

"Nothing in that Drawer"

[What follows is Ron Padgett's fourteen line poem, not a typo]:
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.
Nothing in that drawer.

13 comments:

Marc Caputo said...

Man, I know less than nothing about poetry, so I can't comment on whether or not I like it. I'm just posting here because a)the poetry posts always get low comment amounts and b) I wish to HELL I'd thought of that haiku in grammar school.
And ultimately, I think (seriously, now) that's what true Art is: the expression of something you feel despite (in spite?) of what you think the world would say.

Geoff Klock said...

Yeah, no one says much about the poetry quotes, including me. I originally wanted to discuss poetry more often, like once a week, but I had a hard time tracking down little quotes to then discuss, and no one seemed very interested when I did. So now most of the poetry is in the commonplace book. I want poetry on this blog but have not come up with a way to make it work.

brad said...

I really like reading the poems. I don't always comment on them because I don't have much to say besides something like: "Wow. That was cool. Can't wait to read the next one." Although... In "Nothing in that Drawer", when you actually read each line, my intination is constantly changing. Also, because the poem brings you down like an elevator, and because with each line the result is the same, I do feel a growing hopelessness as I read it.

neilshyminsky said...

Those poems are hilarious! I'm a huge fan of limit tests myself (and I've been working on some of my own, but probably set the bar much too high on some) and appreciate seeing such particularly silly but clever poems. I'll post some comments and see if it gets the ball rolling or something...

'Nothing in that Drawer' struck me immediately with its structural allusion to a sonnet (and accompanying resistances to a sonnet's expected content). I found myself wondering whether the volta is there - and so reading a shift into the final iterations of 'Nothing in that drawer' and reading an implied narrative shift. Perhaps the shift I want to find is indicative of some anxiety at finding nothing, a meta moment in which I'm brought face-to-face with the realization that I'm forcing some meaning into the drawer of this poem when there's nothing - literally - to be found. (Though that's it's own 'thing', isn't it?)

'Haiku', on the other hand, is remarkable for its ability to perform a haiku in the very act of describing one, a purely performative utterance in a semiotic sense. That it manages to do this in a way that is not immediately clear and probably requires re-reading and/or counting syllables in order to 'get' that it's actually a haiku makes the realization all the more stunning and worthy of at least a few giggles.

Geoff Klock said...

Neil: OK!

Anonymous said...

lol it is the finiest Haiku i've ever seen so far. but my question is what's the purpose of thsi Haiku when the same sentnce is repeated 14 x?

Geoff Klock said...

The Haiku and "Nothing in that Drawer" are not connected: they are two different poems. And at least one of the points of "Nothing in that Drawer" is that it is funny. Fourteen lines is a sonnet; this is not quite a sonnet, but it is a funny version of a sonnet where the writer clearly has nothing to write about, and says so.

Tom said...

I have an MA in Creative Writing with a poetry focus, I teach lit/cw/comp, and I go to the comics store every single week.

This blog always makes perfect sense to me!

Geoff Klock said...

Tom: good!

Sam said...

Ron Padgett's "Nothing's in that Drawer" is genius! Most people feel that it is a joke, but I really found deep meaning in it. The first time I read it, I could imagine a person staring at the bottom of an empty drawer repeating the sentence to himself like he could not believe the object of importance is not there. I feel the poem was written in a way so that every reader could have a different thought of what it's about.

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Anonymous said...

..or maybe there are 14 useless items in that drawer.