Friday, April 5, 2013 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday: Hangover Psalm

Today is Poetry Friday during National Poetry Month.  That worked out pretty well, didn't it?  Since I'm participating in NaPoWriMo, I occasionally visit their site and learn things by reading their posts, and I found this blog that's participating in the month's activities by posting poetry by poets (go figure, right?) and then getting recommendations from those poets for further reading.  This is an idea that I love.  So today's poem comes from there.  This is "Hangover Psalm" by Austin Tremblay.

Don't you love flattering thumbnails?  Incidentally, so do I.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this poem because I'm not particularly religious.  I'm not sure that sentence makes sense on its own, so let me explain.  I like the idea of tradition, but I also like stealing ideas and traditions and turning them on their heads.  Because it's fun.  And it makes me feel clever.

This poem feels like a prayer.  (Gee, maybe because it says "psalm" in the title, Brianna)  It has the rhythm and the feeling of a traditional prayer, but it takes that idea and puts its own spin on it.  Beginning with "darling" feels like the beginning of a letter or the equivalent of a "Hey God, sup..."  (And this is when I lose all readers who are super traditional and very formal about their religion.)  When I started reading this the first time, "give  us this day" came up, and my brain immediately filled in "our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses."  I think this is a clever move of Tremblay's to put that line break there because the people like me will fill in the rest subconsciously, but be surprised in the next line, or the people not like me will interpret it as a request to be given the day, which sounds wildly romantic now that I think of it.  So pretty.

Anyway, I feel like I'm rambling, am I rambling?

There's a lot of church-like imagery going on in here, but it's handled in such a way that it's not overbearingly religious.  Which is awesome.  We've got the collection plate, ash, eulogizing, and shrift.  All really pretty words, except for "collection plate," but you know, those exist in churches.

Favorite lines because of the sound and the beauty of the image:
"We'll call our hearts linen,
though they are denim."

1.  Write a poem in the form of a prayer.  You know you want to...
2.  Write about a hangover.  And relate it to something totally unlike a hangover.  Perhaps going to church.
3.  What does Tremblay mean when he says "I can believe this morning/is a church"?
4.  Write in a "liquored dialect."  What does it sound like?  How is it different from a non-liquored dialect?
5.  Eulogize yesterday evening.  What was good about it?  Who is yesterday evening survived by?

"We will crawl through our own 
mouths for water, mispronounce 
everything in a liquored dialect, 
eulogizing yesterday evening."
- Austen Tremblay, "Hangover Psalm"


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