In Bracket South, the poems that were supposed to advance, did. 

Amid anti-School of Quietude protests, the sleepy ol’ South top seeds put a whoopin’ on their opponents.

First seed Donald Justice’s tribute to a fellow scribe, “Invitation To A Ghost,” turned Susan Stewart’s slightly pedantic “Apple” every way but loose.

No. 2 seed and Cincinnati native Kenneth Koch’s extensive tribute to his New York School friends, “Time Zone,” tanned the hide of the brief and witty “The Poets March On Washington” by James Cummins.

Yusef Komunyakaa’s “Facing It” (3rd seed) put the fear of God into Lynn Xu’s “[Language Exists Because].”

“Country Western Singer” by Alan Shapiro stomped all over “The Only Dance There Is” by Rebecca Byrkit.

Catherine Bowman’s “No Sorry” wrung the neck of “Lifeline” by Vijay Seshardi.

“I Stopped Writing Poetry” by Bernard Welt made mincemeat out of “Gratification” by Susan Wood.

Dorianne Laux’s “The Shipfitter’s Wife” advanced from the no. 9 spot and rounding out the winners: “That’s Not Butter” by Reb Livingston.

So, we’re down to 32 contestants.

Here’s the next round of matchups:

East:  Collins v. Graham, Dunn v. Broughton, Pinsky v. Gluck, and McClatchy v. Matthews.

 North: Simpson v. Whiting, Hall v. Kulik, Levertov v. Wright, Yezzi v. Atwood.

West (which featured many upsets):  Kooser v. Bowdan, Leithauser v. Koertge, Dennis v. Young, Buzbee v. Moritz.

South: Justice v. Livingston, Koch v. Laux, Komunyakaa v. Welt, Shapiro v. Bowman.

Toughest calls:  Dunn v. Broughton in the East, Hall v. Kulik in the North, Leithauser v. Koertge in the West, and Koch v. Laux in the South.

These eight poems are all perfect in their way.

The avant protestors want all these poems to lose, however. 

“Too quiet!” 

“Boo!  Hiss!”


1 Comment

  1. thomasbrady said,

    March 13, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Oh, man! There’s some really close contests this afternoon…

    This one in the East…these two are dead even with two minutes left…

    Ballad of the Comely Woman
    by T. Alan Broughton

    As I walked out one day
    I met on my path a woman
    ugly as sin and walking a dog.
    She stopped me and said, “Young man,

    would you lie with me here
    in this field where we’re alone,
    only my dog as companion?”
    The dog went chasing a squirrel.

    I placed a hand most gently
    on her arm and said, “Old woman,
    I’ve a wife and loving son
    dearer to me than my life.

    I could not betray such presences.”
    “Then,” she said, “how like you this?”
    and stepping to me her limbs grew slim,
    her bare breasts brushed my chest.

    O love, more than my hair stood on end,
    and the grass looked so very green
    I could not resist lying down
    with her beneath me. “What if,”

    I said between our kisses, “you change
    again?” I’m always the same,” she said,
    and therewith I was left with my face
    in the sod and my own restless heart.

    Where He Found Himself
    by Stephen Dunn

    The new man unfolded a map and pointed
    to a dark spot on it. “See, that’s how
    far away I feel all the time, right here,
    among all of you,” he said.
    ……….”Yes,” John the gentle mule replied,
    “alienation is clearly your happiness.”
    But the group leader interrupted,
    “Now, now, let’s hear him out,
    let’s try to be fair.” The new man felt
    the familiar comfort of everyone against him.
    ………..He went on about the stupidities
    of love, life itself as one long foreclosure,
    until another man said, “I was a hog,
    a terrible hog, and now I’m a llama.”
    To which another added, “And me, I was a wolf.
    Now children walk up to me, unafraid.”
    ……..The group leader asked the new man,
    “What kind of animal have you been?”
    “A rat that wants to remain a rat,” he said,
    and the group began to soften
    as they remembered their own early days,
    the pain before the transformation.

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