“The Grammar Lesson” by Steve Kowit
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
The Grammar Lesson
A noun's a thing. A verb's the thing it does. An adjective is what describes the noun. In "The can of beets is filled with purple fuzz" of and with are prepositions. The's an article, a can's a noun, a noun's a thing. A verb's the thing it does. A can can roll — or not. What isn't was or might be, might meaning not yet known. "Our can of beets is filled with purple fuzz" is present tense. While words like our and us are pronouns — i.e. it is moldy, they are icky brown. A noun's a thing; a verb's the thing it does. Is is a helping verb. It helps because filled isn't a full verb. Can's what our owns in "Our can of beets is filled with purple fuzz." See? There's almost nothing to it. Just memorize these rules...or write them down! A noun's a thing, a verb's the thing it does. The can of beets is filled with purple fuzz.
from In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet's Portable Workshop, 1995
Tilbury House, Publishers, Gardiner, Maine
Copyright 1995 by Steve Kowit.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Tilbury House, Publishers from In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet's Portable Workshop. Copyright 1995 by Steve Kowit. For further permissions information, contact Tilbury House, Publishers, 2 Mechanic Street, #3, Gardiner, Maine 04345, http://www.tilburyhouse.com.
About the Poet
Steve Kowit (1938-2015) was a poet, essayist, teacher, and workshop facilitator. Kowit was born in Brooklyn in 1938. He is the author of several books of poetry and has published a guide to writing poetry: In the Palm of Your Hand. Kowit received a B.A. degree from Brooklyn College, a Master of Arts degree from San Francisco State College, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Warren Wilson College. He taught at Southwestern College in Chula Vista and lived near the Tecate Mexican border until his death.
Learn more about Steve Kowit.