Monday, July 20, 2020

Complete this phrase: ‘Roses are red, violets are blue...’

Portrait of Dr. Felix J. Weil, by George Grosz (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

     Attention poets!
     Are you looking for meaningful employment during these difficult economic times? Would you like a job that uses your poetical skills and involves both travel and reading your work in public?
     Good news: The State of Illinois is seeking to fill the prestigious position of poet laureate. Qualified candidates must have lived in the state for 10 years and seen their work published by a non-vanity press. Awards are helpful. A letter of nomination is required.
     But you must act fast. The deadline to apply is Aug. 15.
     “This role is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to and shape the cultural history of our great state of Illinois,” said first lady M.K. Pritzker, who will select the new laureate from a list of nominees.
     So why are you hearing about this only now? The idea was to make a splash in early spring. Certain cataclysmic events intervened.
     “Maybe April, maybe tie it into Poetry Month,” said Mark Eleveld, a book publisher on the search committee. “It kept getting pushed back.”
     The post has been empty since 2014 — the administration of flint-hearted Bruce Rauner certainly wasn’t going to do anything poetic — when the last poet laureate, Kevin Stein, stepped down.

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  1. It would be hard to find a government job more useless than poet laureate!
    The absolute absurdity of having somebody write rhyming doggerel to celebrate events is something out of the Middle Ages.

    But I will complete your title with little rhymes that I remember from an Art Linkletter book called Kids Say the Darnedest Things, from the early 1960s.

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    You've got a nose like a B-52

    Roses are red
    Orchids are black
    You'd look best with a knife in your back

    Those 1960s kids, maybe 6-9 years old, were certainly better, although nastier, than whatever pompous fool the government could drag up out of a basement poetry ready that has a dozen people fawning over some overaged guy in a turtle neck, smoking some vile French cigarette & then expecting them to applaud his every utterance, as if it were the equivalence of Homer.

    1. I like your hip vision of a poet!
      Although I will admit to having some to enjoy and embrace poetry in my later years. Especially the stuff written by old men like me.

  2. There once was a man from Nantucket
    Whose...wait, was what it?
    I've never been published
    Nor even discussed much.
    Oh well, I guess it's go...

    on then.

  3. Oh, oh
    Talk to me some more
    You don't have to go
    You're the Poetry Man
    You make things all rhyme...

    --Phoebe Snow [1950-2011]

    (Or maybe it was "all right"...I've seen it both ways...)

  4. Poetry much like statues as much to contribute to understanding where we've come from and where we are going. I nominate Chance the rapper as much a poet as Longfellow or Yates. More widely read.


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