Poem Crazy

April 12, 2009 at 7:41 am Leave a comment

George Sand has written “He who draws noble delights from the sentiments of poetry is a true poet, though he has never written a line in all his life.” National Poetry Month, held every April, is a great opportunity to discover the beauty of the written and spoken word. The observation, inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, is a special time when libraries, publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, schools, and poets around the country band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture.

Busy Boomers can appreciate the economy of words used by some of the world’s greatest poets in Camille Paglia’s Break Blow Burn, in which Ms. Paglia explores and illuminates forty-three of the world’s best poems written in English. It’s a real treat to read the works, many of which are only a page in length, and benefit from the author’s wisdom and ability to both set the tone and provide context for her selections.

For Boomers who avoid poetry, you might try searching out the works of former U.S. poet laureate, Billy Collins. In his poem “Introduction to Poetry,” Mr. Collins cleverly explains why after studying poetry in school, some of us may not want to read further
“I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide…”

The Library owns several of Mr. Collins’ works:
The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems
Nine Horses: Poems
Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems
The Art of Drowning

Of course, most poetry is written to be read aloud. Why not borrow some poetry on CD and experience the works as they were meant to be heard?  Try these outstanding recordings:
The Voice of the Poet: Langston Hughes
The Voice of the Poet: Adrienne Rich
The Voice of the Poet: American Wits – Dorothy Parker, Ogden Nash, Phyllis McGinley
The Poets Corner:The One-and-Only Poetry Book for the Whole Family hand-picked by award-winning actor John Lithgow

And if you’re sufficiently intrigued, sign up for Poem-A-Day to receive a great poem e-mailed to you each day from April through mid-May. The month may have already started, but why not get a daily dose from new spring poetry titles?

Don’t forget that you can also attend poetry readings and events in Southern California during the month of April and beyond. Poetry Flash maintains an up-to-date calendar.

Go poem crazy this April, become a true poet, and draw noble delights!

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