Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.

  • Mark Strand, “Eating Poetry” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1979, 1980 by Mark Strand. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

  • Source: Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1991)

Poet Bio

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"Poetry Out Loud has taught me not to give up after one mistake. Or two mistakes. Or a few mistakes. It has taught me not to sell myself short, but also to love every unique perspective I come across. People, like poetry, cannot be read once and immediately
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Addi Garner
2017 WA POL Champion