By Robert Pinsky
Sunday, August 5, 2007

What is the difference between a poem and a monologue? Clearly, some works are both, but what a gifted stand-up artist or actor does with face, body and voice, poetry does with the rhythms of words and the rhythms of thought, in language. Erin Belieu's "On Being Fired Again," a monologue in form and subject, also exemplifies the kinds of verbal energy peculiar to poetry:


I've known the pleasures of being

fired at least eleven times --

most notably by Larry who found my snood

unsuitable, another time by Jack,

whom I was sleeping with. Poor attitude,

tardiness, a contagious lack

of team spirit; I have been unmotivated

squirting perfume onto little cards,

while stocking salad bars, when stripping

covers from romance novels, their heroines

slaving on the chain gang of obsessive love --

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