14 March 2011

Poetry Reading with Engineers

The other night Steve agreed to read poetry with me.  In my experience, engineers do not generally enjoy the poetry I enjoy.  One day in college I was studying in the library and I had a stack of books piled up next to me, including a poetry anthology.  An engineering student friend came in, sat down next to me, and cracked open the anthology while he waited for me to finish up.  I glanced over and saw him reading "The Weed" by Elizabeth Bishop.  When he was done, he turned to me and said, "This is not about gardening."  Engineers are quite literal.  I made some Humanities major comments about the human experience and metaphor, and he replied by opening one of his engineering texts to some kind of science-y graph and noting, "Now THIS is poetry."

Steve is similar.  I read him a couple of poems I like and he scrunched up his face a bit and said, "I like funny poems.  That rhyme."  He also likes Rudyard Kipling, especially his poem about engineers and "If", which his grandmother gave him in a card one time AND is the poem that will get you a free hamburger at a certain restaurant in Winnipeg if you can recite the whole thing from memory. 

Steve:  It's a really good poem.
MBC: This is a good poem too.
Steve: That poem won't get you a hamburger.



Anonymous said...

Does Steve like Ogden Nash?


Breanne said...

Ha ha!

Anonymous said...

Poems are best when they serve a purpose, such as free hamburgers or express the reality of life such as this little cowboy ditty.
"It's been so lonely in the saddle,
since my horse died."
What, so cowboy's can't rhyme.:)


MBC said...

Kjerste--He's never been exposed to him. Maybe I'll put him on the rota for the next reading.

KWB--Great poem!

Anonymous said...


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