Monday, August 3, 2009

In Honor of Shark Week, the Academy of American Poets Presents...

Poems for Shark Week

Where the fin of the shark cuts like a black chip out of the water...
—from "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman

In honor of Shark Week, the Discovery Channel's annual weeklong series of television programs devoted to sharks, has compiled 35 Poems about Sharks, and examined how the animals have been represented in classic and contemporary poetry.

Described by poets as "death-scenting," with "lipless jaws" and "eyes that stare at nothing, like the dead," sharks have long served as a cultural symbol of mortality and looming danger. Despite the fact that sharks kill fewer than 20 people a year, their reputation as the ocean's most allusive and deadly predator continues to inspire fear and fascination in audiences throughout the world.

Included are poems by Carl Sandburg, Robert Graves, Martín Espada, Denise Levertov, Joel Brouwer, Walt Whitman, Tomasz Rózycki, Herman Melville, Alan Dugan, James Dickey, Vivian Shipley, Jamey Dunham, Nancy Willard, and many others.

On the web at:


Dave said...

Live every week like it's shark week.

-Tracy Jordan

N said...

But they have left out my favourite shark poem:

"The Shark"

My sweet, let me tell you about the Shark.
Though his eyes are bright, his thought is dark.
He's quiet—that speaks well of him.
So does the fact that he can swim.
But though he swims without a sound,
Wherever he swims he looks around
With those two bright eyes and that one dark thought.
He has only one but he thinks it a lot.
And the thought he thinks but can never complete
Is his long dark thought of something to eat.
Most anything does. And I have to add
That when he eats, his manners are bad.
He's a gulper, a ripper, a snatcher, a grabber.
Yes, his manners are drab. But his thought is drabber.
That one dark thought he can never complete
Of something—anything—somehow to eat.

Be careful where you swim my sweet.

—John Ciardi

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