I’m celebrating National Poetry Month. Are you?

National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.

I’m fully involved in the celebration in several ways:
  • Writing a poem a day to Robert Lee Brewer’s prompt. He’s the poetry edition at Writer’s Digest and has been holding poem a day challenges in April and November for years. I just wrote to his fourth day prompt a few minutes ago. Please join me. It’s not too late to catch up. (Robert also gives us prompts every Wednesday the rest of the year.)

  • Reading a book a poetry. Currently I’m reading Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s little book of selected poems. I had the book in my library several years ago, but it disappeared. So I bought a new copy and am thoroughly loving rereading his poems. He writes vividly – without any flowery words or descriptions. Just my style.   Poet Peter Levi, who with Robin Milner-Gulland translated the poems in this book, described Yevtushenko’s work as follows:

“The imaginative core of Yevtushenko’s work is in an acceptance of life, hopefulness, and an honesty, which are directly related to the variety of his surface textures. The first quality of the poet as narrator is youth, and in “Zima Junction” youth itself comes near to being the subject of the poem. The narrator looks at the external world with directness, at nature with fascination, and at social and industrial circumstances with curiosity, but at the same time his eyes are the introspective and analytical eye of the young.”

Try this poet. He’s a marvel.

  • Reading a poem that Knopf Poetry sends me by email every day during National Poetry Month. Signup to receive your free poem every day during National Poetry Month here.

In her new book of poetry, Ancients of the Earth: Poems of Time, Daisy Hickman’s writing is clear, easy to understand, easy to digest, in language both simple, elegant, and beautiful. Hickman is also a master of metaphor. Her poetry reminds me how metaphors make experience universal and lets the mind unfold into many ways of seeing. These are some of my favorites:

Prairie wind raking air
Branches that huddled on like seasoned football players
Ghost eyes like stars
Bones like straw
Deeply carved face
The sky…a playground for wings
Tree’s private domain of arteries and veins

Ancients of the Earth is a new look at time and the timelessness of nature. Hickman writes about the earth and its creatures – herons, goldfinch, bluebirds, pine and apple trees, red lilies – the sky and the confluence of the day and the night – and the phases of our lives. She writes of her childhood and her thoughts on aging and death – especially as she sits down to remember her son:

…Your wistful gaze when life wanted more from you than you had to give…

Ancients of the Earth is a gift to us all, reminding us to look at our lives as related to the pervasiveness and confines of time.

So, National Poetry Month is keeping me busy. I’d love to hear what you’re doing to celebrate the wonderful gift of poetry.

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