In February I ordered and received a free National Poetry Month poster that I plan to hang near our school table and also take with me to our co-op Class Days to share with my writing class. Although they are elbow-deep in research for their MLA essays, we'll take a moment to breathe in and enjoy poetry.
I hope that you will do the same. Take a moment to read a poem--always ALOUD--but not worrying about what it means or how it is written. Nope. Instead, read a poem for the sheer enjoyment of the artistry of the written word, the music of words rubbing together, the sound of words bubbling from your lips.
Poetry is magical.
I love the emphasis this year on epistolary poems: poems as letters and letters as poems. Poets.org has a lovely list of epistolary poems to read if you're interested: Epistolary Poems. I also love seeing letters and poems in the poets' own handwriting--very few literary treasures thrill me more than seeing the actual handwriting of some of my favorite authors and poets, especially their letters.
Unfortunately, I've been far too busy to write any poems lately; in fact, it's been over a year since I wrote a poem as all of my writing energy has been transferred to the writing of fiction. But I thought I'd share some of my favorite poems here on the blog this month, and I'd love to hear about some of your favorites, too.
In my Quotations Journal, which I've been keeping for twelve years, I have very few poems copied in their entirety. I copied this one into my journal on April 30, 2002, and it has long been a favorite since I studied it in graduate school with Dr. Irene Williams, a well-known expert in feminism in American Literature.
So here is Poem 258 from among the over two thousand poems that Emily Dickinson left unpublished after her death. The visual and auditory "heft" of this poem has always appealed to me.
There's a certain Slant of light,
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes--
Heavenly Hurt, it gives us--
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are--
None may teach it--Any--
'Tis the Seal Despair--
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air--
When it comes, the Landscape listens--
Shadows--hold their breath--
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death--
So enjoy National Poetry Month and take the time to breathe in the beauty and truth-telling of poetry, to try to find a way to express your heart and soul through poetry, whether reading or composing it.