Prof of Profs

By Geoffrey Brock Geoffrey Brock

For Allison Hogge, in memory of Brian Wilkie

I was a math major—fond of all things rational.
It was the first day of my first poetry class.
The prof, with the air of a priest at Latin mass,
told us that we could “make great poetry personal,”

could own it, since poetry we memorize sings
inside us always. By way of illustration
he began reciting Shelley with real passion,
but stopped at “Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!”—
because, with that last plosive, his top denture
popped from his mouth and bounced off an empty chair.

He blinked, then offered, as postscript to his lecture,   
a promise so splendid it made me give up math:
“More thingth like that will happen in thith clath.”

Source: Poetry (July/August 2008).

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This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2008
 Geoffrey  Brock

Biography

Born in Atlanta, Geoffrey Brock received an MFA from the University of Florida and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Brock’s poetry has been featured in several anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2007. His first collection of poetry, Weighing Light (2005), won the New Criterion Poetry Prize.

Commenting on the resemblance of Brock’s poetry to Philip Larkin’s, critic David C. Ward noted that Brock “invests his . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, School & Learning, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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