04 December 2012

and the nominees are ...

The OLJ Countdown to New Year's:
II. And the Nominees Are ...
If you read yesterday's poetic post, you know that I am on a quest ... A quest to find the perfect "date" for New Year's Eve! But it's not just any fellow who gets to count down to New Year's with me. The lucky group of "contestants" is made up entirely of dead poets (well-known, little-known, semi-known, and everything in between) who could perhaps use a little love more than anybody during the holidays.

Throughout the month of December I will be choosing from among these contestants to determine which lucky dead poet gets to accompany me on New Year's Eve. (I know what you're thinking ... "Khara, you're talking about dead guys ... You're talking about zombie poets!" I suppose we'll have to deal with that fact at some point, but not yet!) The month will be filled with various tasks, prompts, questions for you (yes, you ... You're part of the fun, too!), and beyond!

Today's task is announcing the list of "contestants" for this unique challenge (a list which you are whole-heartedly invited to take on, tear apart, sink your own teeth into, and more ... you'll see how as we go along). So without further ado, I give you...

The 2012 New Year's Eve Dead Poet Date Pool

1. Lewis Grandison Alexander
2. W.H. Auden
3. Arna Bontemps
4. Sterling Allen Brown
5. Robert Browning
6. Robert Creeley
7. Countee Cullen
8. Paul Laurence Dunbar
9. T.S. Eliot
10. Jupiter Hammon
11. Thomas Hardy
12. Robert Hayden
13. Langston Hughes
14. James Weldon Johnson
15. John Keats
16. Etheridge Knight
17. D.H. Lawrence
18. Claude McKay
19. Pablo Neruda 
20. Leopold Sedar Senghor
21. Shel Silverstein
22. Dylan Thomas
23. William Wordsworth
24. William Yeats

I know what you're thinking ... "So you're choosing a zombie poet New Year's Eve date and Shakespeare isn't on the list?!" First ... let's stop calling them zombies, shall we? This is all imaginary. I assure you, were any of these dead poets to really show up at my door, my first instinct would not be to ask them out on a date! To address the Shakespeare point ... Well, to be honest, Shakespeare seemed too easy. In fact, some of the names on the list seem a little ... easy. But there are plenty of others who I'm far less familiar with, and some who I had never heard of until I started compiling my list. There are a few who, based on my past experiences with them, shouldn't really stand a chance ... but this judgment call is based more on the words than the writer, so everyone has a fairly good shot! I can hardly wait to get started with preliminary dates!

"Dates?" you ask, eyebrow raised quizzically.

"Oh, yes," I answer, with a mischievous grin. "Dates." You'll see what that means starting on Friday, December 7th!

Your Turn: Obviously there are plenty of poets who could be said to be "missing" from this list! Who is missing that would be on your list of New Year's Eve date possibilities? Who is listed that would never stand a chance with you? Share your thoughts on this list--and feel free to share your own!--in the comments below, and help me get started on this epic journey of poetic disc-love-ery!


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  1. Langston Hughes would be my choice!

    1. He's one who popped right in my head as the list was coming together, Amy! I'm glad we're on the same wavelength!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Michelle! He's one I have (embarrassed to say) never heard of, but his story sounds, if not tragic, at least to be looked at. I'll be checking out his work soon!

  3. Khara, I love this idea. Much as I like Shel Silverstein and his words, I must confess I'm surprised to find him as a potential date, but I'm eager to see where you are going with the project. Is John Donne also just way too easy? Based on the words more than the writer, I would definitely put Rilke on such a list.

    1. Lucy, Shel made the list actually as a beloved poet who stood little chance, in my mind, of actually making it to the finals. Donne is one who, yes, was a "too easy" contestant simply because, like Shakespeare, I've studied him far too much to be surprised I think.

      Rilke was, admittedly, one who I was trying desperately to remember while compiling this list, along with Cummings and Rumi; I just opted not to replace folks in deference to these three, though I was sorely tempted to do so more than once!

  4. Rilke, Chuang-Tzu...has the Rickman factor...even Dr. Seuss. But I've always loved Keats.

    1. Lara, you have no idea how tempted I was to put Dr. Seuss on this list! I went back and forth on him from the very first name I wrote down. I only half remember what ultimately kept him off, but he'll always be my "What if" guy! (That is, unless this happens again in leading up to Valentine's Day ...)

  5. I'd have added Ogden Nash for giggles, but Hughes is a riot when he's in the mood, and probably a more interesting date. Neruda. Sigh. What a hunk.

    1. I'm hearing a lot of love for Mr. Neruda ... Methinks he's the favorite to win. I wonder who the "black horse" of this competition could be!

  6. There are so many options for so many different activities, but specifically for a New Year's Eve poet, I'll go with Frank O'Hara. Attractive, eloquent, unattached, modern, not too crazy... mm-hm.

    1. Ah, Frank O'Hara ... And with all his Lunch Poems, you've got to know he knows how to treat a gal to a good meal! Good call, Joseph!

  7. Ah poop-stain, as one of the kids I used to care for liked to say - didn't see the note about having to comment here instead of only on the poll-site until today to qualify (too bad, so sad, she also would have said, and rightly so ...) - Well since it's the 30th and both my 1st and 2nd comments are gone with the wind - I better hop on over to that site and pick a final, comment in the correct place and go boo hoo somehwere else. Fun challenge tho' Ms Khara


Thank you so much for your comments! Please feel free to share your thoughts here; I look forward to engaging in conversation with you!

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