Charlie Chaplin Impersonates a Poet

By Cornelius Eady b. 1954 Cornelius Eady
The stage is set for imminent disaster.   
Here is the little tramp, standing   
On a stack of books in order
To reach the microphone, the
Poet he’s impersonating somehow   
Trussed and mumbling in a
Tweed bundle at his feet.

He opens his mouth: Tra-la!
Out comes doves, incandescent bulbs,   
Plastic roses. Well, that’s that,
Squirms the young professor who’s   
Coordinated this,
No more visiting poets!

His department head groans   
For the trap door. As it   
Swings away

The tramp keeps on as if   
Nothing has occurred,   
A free arm mimicking   
A wing.

Cornelius Eady, “Charlie Chaplin Impersonates a Poet” from Autobiography of a Jukebox. Copyright © 1997 by Cornelius Eady. Used by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press.

Source: The Autobiography of a Jukebox (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1997)

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Poet Cornelius Eady b. 1954

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Arts & Sciences, School & Learning, Activities, Poetry & Poets, Humor & Satire

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Cornelius  Eady


Poet and cofounder of Cave Canem, Cornelius Eady has published more than half a dozen volumes of poetry, among them Victims of the Latest Dance Craze (1985), winner of the Lamont Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets; The Gathering of My Name (1991), nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; and Brutal Imagination (2001), a National Book Award finalist. Hardheaded Weather: New and Selected Poems appeared in 2008.

Brutal . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, School & Learning, Activities, Poetry & Poets, Humor & Satire

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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