The Fifth in a Series of Beau Présents Written for My Favorite Poets

It’s been quite a while since I published my last beau present written for my favorite poets on this blog, so today I am posting my fifth in the series (for those who need their memories refreshed,  the beau présent is a brief poem of French origin intended as a tribute to a person which consists of only words formed from the letters in that person’s name). Comparing this one to the first in the series honoring the poet Charles Simic certainly provides evidence that not all  beau présents are created equally. For instance, for some reason, although Charles Simic has only two more letters in his name than John Hodgen ( an amazingly talented local poet from the Worcester, Massachusetts area yet who is also nationally known that I am attempting to pay tribute to), I was able to come up with close to two thousand words as vocabulary for his  beau présent while I could barely scrape together a little more than a hundred for the one about John. Because of the limited pool of words I could use, the resulting poem turned out a bit more on nonsensical side than I would prefer. The other major difference is that Charles Simic does not know who I am, but John certainly does, so I am really risking insulting him with a bad poem (actually I did email him a copy, and never heard back, so that is definitely not a good sign). However I pray my humble effort does somehow reflect John’s keen sense of humor (John is probably best known for his poem “For the Man with the Erection Lasting More than Four Hours”) and that he wasn’t too badly offended by the following beau présent:

A Beau Présent For John Hodgen

Oh no! John Donne gone?
No doggone gogo dojo?

No dodo hen egg eggnog?
No hood donned, no edge honed.

No good deed done. Heed no one –
No neon god, no hoodoo hedgehog,

No odd noodge (he no good).
Oh, go jog! Nod & ooh.

Go do good, go end godhood,
dodge ego (none needed).

7 thoughts on “The Fifth in a Series of Beau Présents Written for My Favorite Poets

  1. Considering the very limited vocabulary, I think you did a great job at penning something that is cohesive and understandable. Maybe a little more non-sensical than your others, but still creative and entertaining. Thanks, Paul!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Brad! You are very kind. Interesting thing is before the covid craziness started, I attended a local open poetry share and read all the beau presents I had written in this series, and for some reason this one was definitely the group’s favorite. In fact, the next time, I attended, people remembered it and requested that I read it again. I don’t know why but I suspect this poem’ s nonsensical nature might be its strongest appeal LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The beau presents is a new one on me! Speaking of Charles Simic, he taught at UNH was I was in grad school back in the 1980s. I was accepted into his poetry writing workshop, but I chickened out for fear of ruining my GPA. Bad decision, in hindsight.


  3. The beau present is definitely a rather obscure form. I, myself, first discovered it in Lee Anne Brown’s book Polyverse. I was rather shocked because the form is almost identical to a form which I thought I independently invented years ago called the Anagramatic Selfie except my form is written about one’s self while beau presents are always about other people.

    I am so envious, Liz, to hear about your opportunity to study with Charles Simic.
    I know I would have chickened out myself, probably not because of my G.P. A., but because I would be too intimidated to be taught by someone I admire so much…


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