Let the snapping and bongo drums commence.
Do you like poetry? Brittanica.com defines poetry as, "literature that evokes a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience or a specific emotional response through language chosen and arranged for its meaning, sound, and rhythm."
It's one of those things that people either seem to love or hate. Truthfully, since poetry is as subjective as art, it would make sense that most of us are right in the middle. The "I don't hate poetry but I'm not attending a poetry slam event" type of place.
Whether you love or hate it, there happens to be a number of different poems that specifically mention Kalamazoo. Here are at least 6:
1. The Sins of Kalamazoo by Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg was an America Poet who was born in Illinois in 1878. Over the course of his career, he was awarded, not one, but two Pulitzer Prizes. Not for his poem about Kalamazoo, though. That poem, in part, reads,
Yes, Kalamazoo is a spot on the map
And the passenger trains stop there
And the factory smokestacks smoke
And the grocery stores are open Saturday nights
And the streets are free for citizens who vote
And inhabitants counted in the census.
Saturday night is the big night.
Listen with your ears on a Saturday night in Kalamazoo
And say to yourself: I hear America, I hear, what do I hear?
If you're looking at this poem and scratching your head, keep in mind it was written in 1922. You can read the full poem here.
2. Kalamazoo by Vachel Lindsay
Vachal Lindsay was another American poet who became popular in the early 20th century. He became known as "a traveling bard whose dramatic delivery in public readings helped keep appreciation for poetry as a spoken art alive in the American Midwest." His poem, Kalamazoo, reads,
Once, in the city of Kalamazoo,
The gods went walking, two and two,
With the friendly phoenix, the stars of Orion,
The speaking pony and singing lion.
For in Kalamazoo in a cottage apart.
Lived the girl with the innocent heart.
The poem was published in 1919 in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse. See the full poem here.
3. Tattoo From Kalamazoo by Robert L. Hinshaw
The beautiful thing about poems is anyone can create them. You don't have to be well-known or world-renowned. You can just jot down some thoughts and, viola! You have a poem. There's not much information about Robert L. Hinshaw online. And, this poem is a bit on the silly side but still entertaining. Tattoo From Kalamazoo reads,
There once was a lass from Kalamazoo
Who got a large Mickey Mouse tattoo
'Twas inked on her fanny
When she became a granny
It sagged looking more like Winnie The Pooh
See more poems from Robert L. Hinshaw here.
4. I Am Not a Victim by KJ Hooten
Again, not much is known about KJ Hooten. At least, not from a Google search. Their poem isn't specifically about the entire town of Kalamazoo but reads, in part,
And a true story (or from this side of dreaming):
A friend and I went to an outdoor zoo
Somewhere south of Kalamazoo
We stood on a wooden walkway
Looking at an open field through a thick glass window
In the stone wall
We spotted several tigers
Perhaps they dreamed of the old zoo that used to be in Kalamazoo. Or, perhaps, the Binder Park Zoo? Read more poems from KJ Hooten here.
5. Cricket from Kalamazoo by Timothy McGuire
This may be considered to be more of a limerick, but this quick, cute poem talks about a little cricket from Kalamazoo,
There is a young cricket from Kalamazoo
Who always knows just what to do
Is to rub his legs and chirp tonight
To make beautiful music all night
For a magical evening for me and you
See more poems from Timothy McGuire here.
6. Time to Discard Baggage by Barbara Barry-Nishanian
Published on Poetrysoup.com, Time to Discard Baggage reads, in part,
Didn’t like all the things she heard
tho had right to speak her mind
pray after the dust settles
old baggage she’ll leave behind.
All families have their issues
God knows they’ve had theirs too
old baggage that she’s carried
from here to Kalamazoo.
See more poems from Barbara Barry-Nishanian here.
Poetrysoup.com has a number of different poems that mention Kalamazoo all written by seasoned and amateur writers. You can see all of them here.
If you consider yourself to be a poet or just, in general, enjoy poetry you'd probably be interested to know that Kalamazoo has its own poetry festival. KPF, or Kalamazoo Poetry Festival, is held once every other year and is scheduled for April 22nd and 23rd of 2022. The theme this year is "home." Events are free and everyone is invited. Read more here.