Can Poetry Be Funny?
The Kalamazoo group Friends of Poetry is holding a reading Tuesday night called “Can Poetry Be Funny?” The event takes place at 6:30 p.m. at the Kalamazoo Public Library in the Van Deusen Room.
It will feature about ten local authors and poets reading from their favorite funny poems as well as local celebrities like Lori Moore of the Lori Moore Morning Show, Kalamazoo Vice Mayor David Anderson , and WMUK's own Rebecca Thiele.
Elizabeth Kerlikowske of Friends of Poetry says the idea that all poems are angry or depressing is a stereotype. Kerlikowske says, of course, some subjects are funnier than others, like dogs and people trying to do yoga.
Bringing In New Audiences For Poetry
One of the goals of the event is to bring in people who otherwise wouldn't give reading or writing poetry a chance. We all need to laugh, Kerlikowske says, and in a way poets are a lot like comedians.
"We share the same kind of thing in that we say things that people only think," she says. "Sometimes I hear comedians and I think, 'Oh God, that is a poem. That is so great.' And I think that's what we're trying to tap into here."
Is Funny Poetry Still Thoughtful?
Deborah Gang says sometimes making a very funny poem can limit the poet to certain topics. But she says there are many poets who can talk about serious subjects while still cracking jokes. Gang says though there won't be a lot of rhyming poems or horrible puns at the event, many of the poems will be more lighthearted.
We are a people who by February want to kill the sky for being so gray and angry at us. 'What did we do?' is the state motto -excerpt from "A Primer" by Bob Hicok, a Michigan born poet.