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AlbertJayNock

Poetry Reading After Action Report 9/11/2008

Last night I did not read any of my own poems, not even any haiku. Instead I chose to read one poem by Robert Conquest and another one by Robert Nozick. Although the two poems were very different in subject and tone, there was a kind of theme. Neither of the authors are known as poets. Robert Conquest is a historian who has published a few poems, and Nozick is a philosopher. The Nozick piece was not even published as a poem...it was part of a larger philosophical essay. Both of them I had picked up from some reading I had done this year.

The Conquest poem was about George Orwell. I discovered it on the opening pages of Christopher Hitchens Why Orwell Matters.

The Nozick poem I found in his volume of essays Socratic Puzzles. It's from an essay called Goodman,Nelson On Merit,Aesthetic. The point of the essay was to deal with the question of whether the content of something was sufficient to provide it aesthetic merit.  The poem provided a specific example: Newton's laws expressed as doggerel. I know this paragraph so far  doesn't make you want to dust off your funny bone, but the poem is quite amusing. It reminded me of an Ogden Nash poem.  I got an awful lot of laughs (intended laughs) when I read it. It got a better reception than any of my original poems. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Here's a snippet from the poem to give you a flavor of it:


Before you jump from a tree to fly free as a bird in uninhibited leviation
Think about universal gravitation



I don't want to post either poem in it's entirety here. But I do have links. Conquest's poem on Orwell can be found here, and the Nozick poem (along with a big chunk of the essay containing it) can be found here.


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