Tuesday, April 8, 2008

It's National Poetry Month!!

Do you celebrate, (or even know about) National Poetry Month?

Well I say you should! Poetry is good for your soul, it works the mind, it expands your range of understanding words and language.

I challenge you to read at least one poem a day for the whole of April. You may find that you'll want to continue when April is done. I also ask that you expand into Poets and styles that might be new to you.

Sometime in this month, post on a poem you like.

Here are some sites you can go to:

Poetry 180 - This is a Poem a day site with Poems selected for High School Students.

Poets.org - The Academy of American poets. This would be a good way to read a poem a day without any effort, they are posting a poem a day on their site.

Favorite Poem Project - I like this one. Founded in 1997 by then Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, 18,000 Americans wrote in and suggested their favorite poem. From that list, 50 were selected and given the chance to read and talk about their favorite poem. It's worth looking into this site, it is rich with content.

A dear friend sent me this poem a couple of days ago and I just love it. It seemed perfect for this post. (Don't you love it when serendipity just steps in and hands you something like this?) I love the idea that Poetry is alive, it's everywhere, and just needs finding. And yes, Poetry is in the eye of the beholder.

Valentine for Ernest Mann
Naomi Shihab Nye

You can't order a poem like you order a taco.
Walk up to the counter, say, "I'll take two"
and expect it to be handed back to you
on a shiny plate.

Still, I like your spirit.
Anyone who says, "Here's my address,
write me a poem," deserves something in reply.
So I'll tell you a secret instead:
poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,
they are sleeping. They are the shadows
drifting across our ceilings the moment
before we wake up. What we have to do
is live in a way that lets us find them.

Once I knew a man who gave his wife
two skunks for a valentine.
He couldn't understand why she was crying.
"I thought they had such beautiful eyes."
And he was serious. He was a serious man
who lived in a serious way. Nothing was ugly
just because the world said so. He really
liked those skunks. So, he re-invented them
as valentines and they became beautiful.
At least, to him. And the poems that had been hiding
in the eyes of skunks for centuries
crawled out and curled up at his feet.

Maybe if we re-invent whatever our lives give us
we find poems. Check your garage, the odd sock
in your drawer, the person you almost like, but not quite.
And let me know.

17 comments:

SaoirseDaily2 said...

I knew it was national Poetry Month. I post poetry from time to time. I enjoy reading poems. Hells Kitchen is tonight. Do you plan on watching or recording? Hope you are having a good day.

pizzadiavola said...

"I thought they had such beautiful eyes."
And he was serious.


I like that!

Brave Sir Robin said...

saoirsedaily2 - Yes, I will be recording and (possibly) watching.

I STILL haven't had time to watch last weeks!!

Pizza -- Yes! See, poetry, (and beauty) is in the eye of the beholder.

maurinsky said...

I signed up for a poem a day, and I read the archives, so I feel caught up. Maybe I'll try to write a poem or two this month.

Brave Sir Robin said...

Maurinsky -

Maybe I'll try to write a poem or two this month.

AHHH That's tomorrows post!!!

Camera Obscura said...

Gah, I haven't written any poetry in ages. Guess I ought to set some thinking-wheels in motion; maybe something will stir me this month.

I have a volume, bought off the clearance table at one of the big-box booksellers, that purports to be the 100 greatest poems of all time. I think most of them fall into the category of "most recognized" rather than greatest... but I love the haiku, and it's handy to have some of the others available when you can't get to the computer.

Casey said...

Had no idea it's National Poetry Month. Off to commit some poesy of my own now!

Bitty said...

I did know, and woe is I, I've been so busy teaching poetry that I halfway forgot.

I received the National Poetry Month poster from Poets.org a few weeks ago but didn't get it up right away, and this post made me stop to look for it. Can't find it. In despair. I may have accidentally taken it home in one of the stacks of work that await me there.

My blog actually has an official poet: Carl Sandburg, for at least two reasons, although I've been ignoring ol' Carl lately. I'll see if I can't do something about that in the next few days, including explaining why Carl is my Official.

Nye is another favorite of mine, in part because she's so accessible, and I'm always on the lookout for accessible poets and poems because most 20 year olds just feel tortured and take it quite personally if the poem is too abstract. I think this wonderful poem you've posted will be one of my students' options for their final paper.

Thanks for the help.

Bitty said...

Ok. I did a post of sorts. I reran one, which technically took almost as much time as writing a new one. So be it.

http://bittysbackporch.blogspot.com/2008/04/carl-sandburg-redux.html

Brave Sir Robin said...

btw bitty -

I LOVE Sandburg.

Bitty said...

You too can have an Official Poet. Just choose one. It's very easy. (Or maybe not. If I didn't have "ties" to Sandburg -- both of us are from Illinois, and I've spent some serious time in Galesburg, IL, where he's worshipped, and I've been outside his house-museum, although I was a kid and didn't get to go in -- making a choice might not have been so easy.)

pidomon said...

Dang it BSR
If you would have chosen like a bad poem not a super cool poem I could have ignored this.
But NOOOOOOOOOOO
What a great poem you posted. Look for at least (one) on my cardboard box under the over pass of the innertubes sometimes in April!

Bee said...

Naomi Shihab Nye came to my elementary school when I was in fourth grade. It is still one of the most vivid memories I have of any lesson, any time. Her enthusiasm made writing poems seem like the most exciting, creative things a person could do.

I found an interview of Nye -- which also touches on Sandburg. I couldn't resist sharing.

Naomi Shihab Nye: I started writing when I was 6, immediately after learning HOW to write. Yes, I was writing poems from the start. Somehow – from hearing my mother read to me? from looking at books? from watching Carl Sandburg on 1950's black and white TV? – I knew what a poem was. I liked the portable, comfortable shape of poems. I liked the space around them and the way you could hold your words at arm's length and look at them. And especially the way they took you to a deeper, quieter place, almost immediately.

I hope everyone find their deeper, quieter places this month. Thanks, BSR!

Anonymous said...

I think I shall pen an "ode to the lone sock" in honor of my beloved husband ;)
--Lisa

Brave Sir Robin said...

I think I shall pen an "ode to the lone sock" in honor of my beloved husband ;)

You must share!!

Bitty said...

Naomi Shihab Nye came to my elementary school when I was in fourth grade. It is still one of the most vivid memories I have of any lesson, any time. Her enthusiasm made writing poems seem like the most exciting, creative things a person could do.

Wow. Just wow.

sexy said...
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