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?"
From Selected Poems, published by Wesleyan University Press. Copyright © 1991 by James Tate. Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

Camp of No Return by James Tate
I sat in the old tree swing without swinging. My loafer
Father's Day by James Tate
My daughter has lived overseas for a number
How the Pope is Chosen by James Tate
It Happens Like This by James Tate
I was outside St. Cecelia's Rectory
My Great Great Etc. Uncle Patrick Henry by James Tate
There's a fortune to be made in just about everything
Restless Leg Syndrome by James Tate
Success Comes to Cow Creek by James Tate
I sit on the tracks,
The List of Famous Hats by James Tate
Napoleon's hat is an obvious choice I guess to list as a famous
The Lost Pilot by James Tate
Your face did not rot