I just came across Nick Laird’s Epithalamium last night, while reading some recent issues of The New Yorker (January 24, 2011). A really fun poem.
The poem makes great use of the dialectical argument structure, its shuttling back and forth between “you” and “I” is a constant consideration and reconsideration of thesis and antithesis. And the conclusion (“or I am, or you are”) is an effort at synthesis, suggesting that the “you” and the “I” are united in that they, in fact, are potentially (for all their wild specificity) the same.
I think Laird’s poem is incredibly teachable. For insights on how to encourage and guide students to write a poem like this, check out this blog’s “Teaching Collaborative, Dialectical Argument Poems” page.