Friday, April 15, 2016

More Poetry Month Love

More Poetry Month Love
by J.G. Annino

If you manage to entice your Muses to visit you,
might you write poetry?

could someone else’s poetry be the Muse for you?

Reading poetry that connects, that zings, opens your heart,
can entice in, the Muse that spurs you to write -  and, not
necessarily to write poetry. But to write whatever it is
that is on your heart.

As Christy shared so creatively on our Aprl 11, 2016
Group Blog, this is National Poetry Month!
My hope with this visit, is to incubate the idea that
picking up a classic poetry collection that you
dip in and out of without pressure, could lead to
an ephinany, an “ah, ha” moment in your own writing.

Robert Pinsky
Favorite Poem Project Poet, Robert Pinsky
Such an honor!  The former U.S. poet laureate,
Robert Pinsky, brought the national Favorite Poem Reading
Project to our town, Tallahassee, recently.

Of course we managed to get to the event. 
Everyday people from around the state of Florida read a poem,
by an established author. This is the road show for a previous online
invitation at the Favorite Poem website. I didn't enter, as it was some
time back. But I'm so glad so many people did.

They picked one poem that over and over, calls to them.
This is one of Robert Pinsky’s favorite challenges. To ask everyone to
find a favorite poem or two, read them regularly,  and further, he urges
us to read the poem out loud and not stop there. Memorize a favorite poem.
That allows you to carry it with you, everywhere.

 This acclaimed poet looks like a cross between Bill Nye, the
Science Guy & that great space educator Carl Sagan. He was
just as engaging as each of them.  “A poem is a work of art made
for a human voice,” he told us. “But it’s not the art of one expert.
It’s the art of any and all.”

Here are just three of the poems read that evening.

“Nick and the Candlestick,” Sylvia Plath
“Why I Am Not A Painter,” Frank O’Hara
“Soneto XVII” Pablo Neruda

And I still remember how Pinsky quoted James Baldwin,
“Culture is everybody’s birthright.”

So, everybody, I have always been one of those who can't pick one
favorite poem. But he said in that case, know that you are
working with one of your favorites. Despite the title of the project,
it doesn't have to be THE one and true only favorite. Like picking 
among children, impossible to do.

So here is the title of a poem section I like a whole lot among
many favorites. It is, "Alphabets," (part 1) and it is 
from the pen of the great Seamus Heaney. It begins, 

by Seamus Heaney

"A shadow his father makes with joined hands
And thumbs and fingers nibbles on the wall
Like a rabbit's head. He understands
He will understand more when he goes to school.

There he draws smoke with chalk the whole first week.
Then he draws the forked stick that they call a Y.
This is writing. A swan's neck and swan's back
Make the 2 he can see now as well as say..."
c. Seamus Heaney


  1. Thanks, Jan! I'm one of those who can't pick a favorite, so I like the idea of the one I'm reading at the time being my favorite.

    1. Jane, as you can tell from this article, I'm with you!

  2. Thanks, Jan. I'm loving all this poetry-month inspiration.

  3. Yes, I'd like to think that those people who say they don't like poetry just haven't found the poetry that speaks to them.

    Here's one of my "Frosty Favorites," a good one for Mother's Day:

    The Silken Tent by Robert Frost

    She is as in a field a silken tent
    At midday when the sunny summer breeze
    Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
    So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
    And its supporting central cedar pole,
    That is its pinnacle to heavenward
    And signifies the sureness of the soul,
    Seems to owe naught to any single cord,
    But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
    By countless silken ties of love and thought
    To every thing on earth the compass round,
    And only by one's going slightly taut
    In the capriciousness of summer air
    Is of the slightest bondage made aware.

    1. Almost etherial - appreciations for sharing this lovely piece Jilanne.
      I've just glanced in my Collected Letters to see if he mentioned it to his correspondents.
      Thanks again, so very much.

  4. I have trouble picking a favorite poem, too. Some of my favorites are those I had to memorize in grade school, including "Block City" by Robert Louis Stevenson, "Caterpillar" by Christina Rossetti, and "Mending Wall" by Robert Frost. I'm grateful that my school had a principal who insisted on students memorizing poetry. A few parents complained about the difficulty of the task and I remember her response: "Wouldn't you rather have a child walking to school, reciting a poem in his/her head, instead of a jingle for a fast food restaurant?"

    1. So the principal set the tone. No need for a poem in your pocket when you keep one in your head. Appreciations, Patty.

  5. My favorite poem is ME by Walter de la Mare. I have carried this poem in my heart since 5th grade. Thank you, Jan.

  6. This - "carried that poem in my heart since 5th grade." That is a poet's voice, right there Suzy. Many more happy poem readings & poem making.