Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Poetry Sampler

"Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets around the country band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture."

In gratitude for the pleasure that poems have given me throughout my life, I've gathered some links and posts that celebrate the beauty of the written (and spoken) word.

The Library of Congress has a poetry page with a variety of resources, programs, and webcasts. In the spotlight is current American Poet Laureate Kay Ryan, who believes
"Poems are transmissions from the depths of whoever wrote them to the depths of the reader. To a greater extent than with any other kind of reading, the reader of a poem is making that poem, is inhabiting those words in the most personal sort of way. That doesn’t mean that you read a poem and make it whatever you want it to be, but that it’s operating so deeply in you, that it is the most special kind of reading."
Her "Hide and Seek" speaks of more than just a child's game:
"It’s hard not
to jump out
instead of
waiting to be
found. It’s
hard to be
alone so long
and then hear
someone come
around. It’s
like some form
of skin’s developed
in the air
that, rather
than have torn,
you tear." -Kay Ryan

Two other American poets whom I admire are Richard Wilbur and Mary Oliver.

A Scottish acquaintance of mine, Amy Palko, has recorded a lovely reading of T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock on VoiceThread.

Examples of poets reading their own works can be found at the Poetry Archive; has both audio and video available.

Some of my favorite poetry-inspired or -enhanced blog postings include:

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

"I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after." -Wallace Stevens

Of Modern Poetry

...It has not always had
To find: the scene was set; it repeated what
Was in the script.
Then the theatre was changed
To something else. Its past was a souvenir.

"It has to be living, to learn the speech of the place.
It has to face the men of the time and to meet
The women of the time. It has to think about war

And it has to find what will suffice. It has
To construct a new stage. It has to be on that stage..." -Wallace Stevens



"You are the great flood of our souls
Bursting above the leaf-shapes of our hearts,
You are the smell of all Summers,
The love of wives and children,
The recollection of the gardens of little children..." -Amy Lowell

Stars Were With Me Most of All

"But stars were with me most of all.
I heard them flame and break and fall." -
Fanny Stearns Davis

The Starry Host

"The countless stars, which to our human eye
Are fixed and steadfast, each in proper place,

Forever bound to changeless points in space,

Rush with our sun and planets through the sky,
And like a flock of birds still onward fly;
Returning never whence began their race,

They speed their ceaseless way with gleaming face
As though God bade them win Infinity..." -John Lancaster Spalding

A Barge Made of Ice

My Erotic Double

"We are afloat
On our dreams as on a barge made of ice,
Shot through with questions and fissures of starlight
That keep us awake, thinking about the dreams
As they are happening. Some occurrence. You said it." -John Ashbery

"Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history." -Plato

"boxed assortment" by QuintanaRoo

1 comment:

Paul C said...

I thought this post was going to be a fantasy about chocolate and I was right... rich chocolate verse.

I appreciate the links to some poets reading their poetry.

What I am also noticing from some sites is that poets are recording their poetry on video and posting them on their blogs or on You Tube. It's a potent diversification: hard copy, blog, video, MP3....