Poetry Appearing in Poetry In Motion® Portland

Teaching the Ape to Write Poems

James Tate

They didn't have much trouble
teaching the ape to write poems:
first they strapped him into the chair,
then tied the pencil around his hand
(the paper had already been nailed down).
Then Dr. Bluespire leaned over his shoulder
and whispered into his ear:
"You look like a god sitting there.
Why don't you try writing something?"

* * *

"Teaching the Ape to Write Poems" from Absences. Copyright © 1970 by James Tate. Reprinted with permission of the author.


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