How are you celebrating poetry month? Are you going to download The Poetry Foundation smartphone app so you can scroll through their poetry archives during your between minutes to delight your senses? Are you going to memorize “The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock”? Let us go than you and I / when the evening is spread out against the sky / Like a patient etherized upon a table… Perhaps you will write an abecedarian for the person you love? However you choose to celebrate the month, let me know.
And remember, poetry is not restricted to language and poems. One might even say that a poem is where poetry dips down into language and the poetry itself is a quality and intensity beyond words found in lanscape, music, twilight, Picasso, the ripple of horse tail and the paper dolls in your attic. So, I hope you enjoy poetry this month, in all its instances.
Here are some resources for that language kind of poetry:
10-20 minute podcasts on poetry while you do your dishes: Poetry Off the Shelf
All about abecedarians and acrostics here.
Bartleby’s online has a ton of classic poems like “Love Song”
I just taught Auden’s “The More Loving One” in one of my classes. It is great to rediscover great poems with your students. One comment in class: “Well that just about the greatest thing I’ve heard.” I even got a thumbs up from a poetry appreciating non-English major, though he gave William Carlos Williams a thumbs down. At least they have opinions.
Here’s a link to the poem, with Nick Laird reading it. http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15550
Some people write Flannery O’Conner in long hand to internalize her rhythm, with that in mind, I am re-typing his poem here.
The More Loving One
Looking up at the the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man and beast.
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us they could not return
If equal affection can not be,
let the more loving one be me.
Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I can not say, now I seem them, say
I’ve missed them terribly all day.
Were all starts to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime
Though this might take me a little time.
From Homage to Clio by W. H. Auden, published by Random House. Copyright © 1960 W. H. Auden, renewed by The Estate of W. H. Auden.