New Fish
Cat in Hat
Despite the fact that he was a leftie (cf. various Marxist analyses of Horton Hears a Who), I’m hating Dr. Seuss more and more each day, even as Maisie likes him more and more. All those damned monosyllables. But I’ve discovered that, while Jim is reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish to Maisie out loud, it is possible to read certain adult poems to myself in the same room without being too distracted. One is Allen Ginsberg’s “America,” his best poem, one of the best poems of the last century, and now officially awarded Honorary Mommypoem status.
“Bump, Bump, Bump, Did you ever ride a Wump?” Jim will read.
And I’ll be reading (to myself): “Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb”
“We have a Wump with just one hump.”
“I don’t feel good don’t bother me”
“My hat is old. My teeth are gold. I have a bird I like to hold.”
“America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.”
“The moon was out and we saw some sheep…”
“America when will you be angelic?”
“We saw some sheep take a walk in their sleep”
“When will you take off your clothes?”
“I like to box. How I like to box. So, every day, I box a Gox.”
“America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die.”
“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”
“America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.”

Originally Published: April 21st, 2008

Daisy Fried is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Women’s Poetry: Poems and Advice (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013).

  1. April 21, 2008
     Sina Queyras

    Hi Daisy,
    You might want to investigate Dennis Lee. Alligator PIe is a must have for the under five set, but for we who love to be astonished his two latest, Un and Yes/No, investigate the very conflation you get at above. Here's a sampling:
    Lullabye wept as asia
    rockabye einstein and all.
    One for indigenous,
    two for goodbye,
    adam and eve and dodo.
    Fly away mecca,
    fly away rome,
    lullabye wept in the lonely.
    Once the iguanodon,
    once the U.N.,
    hush little orbiting gone.

  2. April 21, 2008
     John Blackard

    Well then, Daisy, you will love any of Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad books read together with Philip Schultz's new book, Failure.
    The joie de vivre of Lobel mingling with the schadenfreunde of Schultz...
    John Blackard

  3. April 21, 2008
     Angela G.

    Never thought of mixing a little Seussian sutra with some Ginsbergian green eggs & ham, Daisy, but what a great juxtaposition!
    "Would you like it in a box? Would you like it with a fox?"
    "I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock ... to look at the sunset over the box house hills..."
    "Not in a box. Not with a fox. Not in a house. Not with a mouse. "
    "You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a sunflower! And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me not!"

  4. April 21, 2008

    I'm not sure you're being fair to Theodore Seuss Geisel here. Yes, One Fish Two Fish drove Jessie up a tree fast, and me up a tree rather slowly, before our little guy got tired of it, but Fox in Socks is (among other things) an exploration of the way that sound can dominate meaning, signifiers dominate signifieds, all the way down the chain of discourse... or, if you like, an inquiry into the origins of poetic language. I am not entirely kidding.

  5. April 24, 2008
     Troy Camplin, Ph.D.

    I've been reading Dr. Seuss to my daughter since she turned 1 (she's now almost 17 months old) and she loves it. SHe'll sit and make me read a dozen books. Even though I have read "Marvin K. Mooney" every day for 3 months now, I'm still loving it. I suppose I do for a few reasons. 1) The rhythms pattern well onto the brain's rhythms, which 2) Will make it easier for my daughter to learn to read. I also love that she loves it. Rhythmic poetry is a lovely thing -- it's also a redundancy, since there is no poetry without some sort of rhythm (otherwise it's just prose -- I've read prose with line breaks, which is still prose, no matter how you break it up). Monosyllables are fine -- first words for the baby.

  6. August 28, 2008
     Linda Campbell Franklin

    Hello Daisy, Today (august 28) I read your letter in the July 13 NYT Book Review, and searched for you on the web. I've never been moved to do so before, but your letter was so good -- in part because of the "work as a whole is a great city" about O'Hara. I like putting small and large things together. I especially enjoyed this post with the conjoined Seuss & Ginsberg lines. Very effective. I've been experimenting on my gobbledeGoogle.blogspot blog with found lines. I'm not sure this is a very original thing, but it sure is fun. And it's not without value as an exercise for writers.