By Loris Nebbia
I’m not a poet, but I love poetry. I’m dedicated to a famous poem by the American Imagist, William Carlos Williams that is titled “This is Just to Say.” You probably read it in college or high school. I love its insouciance and I love the fact that it is easy to use as a vehicle for my own questionable poetry. Lately I’ve used the poem to write my views about the iPhone/smart phone phenomenon. Here’s one I wrote on behalf of teachers:
This is Just To Say
I have stomped
on the iPhone
and which you
to snap pictures
of your polished nails.
I was jealous
for Dylan Thomas’
childhood in Wales.
This new feature of American society – that is focusing one’s eyes and entire attention on a hand held device – came to my attention again this week when I attended the grand Book Expo America in New York which is a trade show for the publishing industry. I went to spy out the land for my newly published novel, Solomon’s Puzzle.
My sister, Stefanie, who had a successful career in advertising before she became an enthusiastic and terrific librarian, came with me. As we rode the ferry from New Jersey across the Hudson River to the convention center, Stefanie was remembering how she used to set up for trade shows, the preparation, the excitement, the goals she set and set about accomplishing. So while I was hoping to look for the future for my novel and my writing, Stefanie was looking into the past.
We found some terrific and friendly people, talked to some who were helpful and informative. But as we walked down the rows of the convention halls we saw over and over again, the tops of the perfectly groomed heads of the representatives of companies. Yes, their heads were bowed to read their phones.
Stefanie shook her head in wonder. She remarked that her memories of successful trade shows meant she was standing up, looking to make eye contact, reaching out to people who walked by. The world has changed and it was not particularly comfortable.
Here’s my poem on the idea with apologies to William Carlos Williams:
This is Just To Say, ‘Look Up!’
I have taken
the business card
on your display stand
and which you nodded toward
without taking your eyes
or your quick hands
from caressing your pulsing phone.
Heinous my attempt to interrupt
a workday alone with your handheld.
For a moment I thought valuable
my pressing questions and an actual heartbeat.
About the Author:
Between writing projects, Loris Nebbia has taught English literature and composition to young thinkers at Annapolis and Baltimore County high schools. When she is not teaching or writing, she enjoys making a home for her husband, children and grandchildren.
Loris attended St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, but graduated with a degree in English from UMBC where she also earned her M.A. She returned to UMBC to teach an English education course.
An excerpt from Loris’ first novel, Solomon’s Puzzle, won the Maryland Writer’s Association’s 2010 prize for short fiction. Released in 2010, the book reflects her love for Annapolis with details of local color including the opening scene in which a car crashes into Middleton’s Tavern. Because she believes that literature is not a manual for living, but rather an artistic portrait of what it means to be human, her fiction and essays are meant to show both the nobility and struggle of the every day man seeking to create a thoughtful home on earth. Loris’ essays and short fiction can be read by visiting www.solomonspuzzle.com.
Other publications include short stories, essays and articles in various national and local publications. Her article on The Great Awakening was included in the Dictionary of Women’s Education published by Greenwood Press.