Poetry In Motion
[The Chronicle of Higher Education, 19 April 2002]
Behold the limerick as a lede!
By RICHARD MORGAN
There once was a young prof in Philly, whose poetry spread willy-nilly. He would scatter his verse, both the lengthy and terse, all with motives more noble than silly.
David H. Ebenbach, an adjunct psychology professor at La Salle University, dubbed himself the "Philadelphia Poetry Provider" last year and since then has been tucking one-page poems into the odd nooks and crannies of the metropolis.
He sticks them on the windshields of cars, in newspapers at newsstands, in books at bookstores, and on cereal boxes in grocery stores.
In the beginning, he distributed only famous verses, but now he leaves behind only his own. Twice a week, he hides as many copies as he feels "in the mood" to stash, from 2 to 50.
"There's a certain panto-mime," Mr. Ebenbach says of his maneuvering. "But there's no special cape or mask."
The former creative-writing instructor, 29, chiefly pens free verse on workaday themes.
His poem "lover convalescing," for example, runs as follows:
the mounded comforter
just four earth-painted toes
like spring and all
He signs each poem with the "provider" pseudonym because he wants "some ceremony surrounding" the process. For Mr. Ebenbach, the act is a "subversive thrill," he says. "I always leave quaking."
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