Day 259: The Man and the Proliferation of Poetry as per April; ‘Ordinary’

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In case you didn’t know, National Poetry Month is April! The Academy of American Poets founded the celebration in 1996 and since them it has become one of the biggest literary celebrations in the world. Authors, libraries, schools, booksellers, and yes even bloggers, all share their love for poetry during the month of April and help to continue to bring awareness and exposure into a very sophisticated and yet completely accessible and fun form of literature. Since its inception, National Poetry Month and the Academy of American Poets has focused on highlighting the legacies and achievements of poets, encouraging the reading of poems, helping teachers bring more poetry into their classrooms, increase the attention to poetry in media, increasing the publication and distribution of poetry, and encouraging more support for poetry and poets.

NPM AprilI would by no means ever consider myself a poet, nor do I think anyone would ever say as such about me. So, you know, this is a good place to start. From a place of very low, low expectations. If you’d like to see my first attempt in a very, very long time, you can read Day 65 Supplemental, in which I respond to a challenge from a fellow blogger with a poem. Even though I would never consider myself a poet, I do appreciate other poets and poetry in general. It is a beautiful form of literature and writing that requires a truly demanding mastery of imagery and subtlety to deliver as clear a message in five words what I usually do in ten. And when that’s done well, that’s really really cool. Poetry is one of those fascinating forms that can be exciting in the writing, reading, and even reading/performing of it. It can be visually stunning as well with certain poems formatted or written or just typed a certain way.

I’m not as exposed as much these days to poetry as I used to be when I was a child. One of Light in the Atticmy favorite childhood authors was the poet Shel Silverstein. You may have read his book The Giving Tree but I remember him best for his whimsical poetry collections A Light in the Attic and Falling Up. In high school I took poetry electives and considered myself somewhat of a poet, but most of my poems were angst-ridden lamentations on love. High school drama. I still cringe. In university I took a poetry class (required for English Education majors) and this was my first real opportunity to explore and investigate poetry purely from an observational and analytical perspective. It was kind of nice to know I didn’t have to write a poem at any time, and could just really dive into the nuances and subtleties and hidden meanings. When you only have so many words and lines to work with, you really have to dig deep to the full meaning, but its often very surprising as you start to unravel it all, just how much can be packed into a few lines.

This upcoming month-long celebration of poetry will be a great opportunity for me to go back and bring up old favorite poems of mine, learn about forms of poetry and poets from all around the world, and yes, even (very very sparingly) attempt to try and write poems in forms or on subjects that interest me. Throughout April this blog will transform from an ordinary day to day reflections and musings collection to poetry central. Mostly sharing some personal favorites of mine from childhood up til now, including a few that were recently shared with me from other fellow bloggers. I’ll also want to look into poetry around the world, especially Asian poets and poetry. The biggest stretch will be me trying to actually write poetry, but I think taking a few leaps and dives outside of your comfort zone is a healthy thing to help improve the things you are comfortable with.

Robin WilliamsIf you’d like to participate in any way during Poetry Month, there are various things you can do. Of course, sharing poetry or writing poetry would be great. And if you use the #npm17 to draw attention to National Poetry Month, that would help as well. April 27th is Poem in Your Pocket Day, where you are encouraged to print out a poem of your choosing and keep it in your pocket to share with family, friends, coworkers, or even just random strangers you happen to meet during the day. If you go to the Academy of American Poet’s official website, poets.org, you can also sign up to receive a poem a day in your invoice. I’ve always commented that WordPress seems to be a thriving community of poets and poetry so it’s definitely encouraging to see poetry so strong here.

Day 256

Man: 226 Loneliness: 33

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5 thoughts on “Day 259: The Man and the Proliferation of Poetry as per April; ‘Ordinary’

  1. Pingback: NEWS FROM ME (From the Author to her Followers) – Wanderlust

  2. I have never read The Giving Tree (I think that might be an American thing) but I have come across the poems on pinterest of all places, and they’re great! I really enjoy some poems, but if I feel like they’re getting too pretentious I lose all interest. They have to hit the sweet spot. What are your favourites? Ireland has some great poems but a lot of them are awfully sad and melancholy with someone’s dying at some point. Actually, Pangur Bán is an interesting one, for context if nothing else. It was written donkeys’ years ago (the 9th Century) by an anonymous monk tasked with writing out the pages of a manuscript; our ancient witty scribe wrote the poem about himself and his cat, probably on a particularly tedious night when he was feeling inspired! It’s pretty sweet and just goes to show how much time changes but some things stay the same… Like late nights working and cat friends…

    I and Pangur Ban my cat,
    ‘Tis a like task we are at:
    Hunting mice is his delight,
    Hunting words I sit all night.

    Better far than praise of men
    ‘Tis to sit with book and pen;
    Pangur bears me no ill-will,
    He too plies his simple skill.

    ‘Tis a merry task to see
    At our tasks how glad are we,
    When at home we sit and find
    Entertainment to our mind.

    Oftentimes a mouse will stray
    In the hero Pangur’s way;
    Oftentimes my keen thought set
    Takes a meaning in its net.

    ‘Gainst the wall he sets his eye
    Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
    ‘Gainst the wall of knowledge I
    All my little wisdom try.

    When a mouse darts from its den,
    O how glad is Pangur then!
    O what gladness do I prove
    When I solve the doubts I love!

    So in peace our task we ply,
    Pangur Ban, my cat, and I;
    In our arts we find our bliss,
    I have mine and he has his.

    Practice every day has made
    Pangur perfect in his trade;
    I get wisdom day and night
    Turning darkness into light.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, poetry can get really really full of itself sometimes. Maybe it’s unavoidable, having to use so many metaphors and similes you can get all tangled up in trying to be fancy you lose sight of your feet. Pablo Neruda is a really good poet, and there’s one in particular I’ll highlight in April that I love a lot. Kenneth Koch has ONE poem that I also like. And I think that’s kind of the way it is with me. I don’t have poets I particularly enjoy, just poems. A few really good haikus, some epic poetry from way back when, stuff like that.
      I’m so happy you used the phrase ‘donkey’s years’ and that I knew what it meant. I swear I’m imagining that being said in an Irish accent and it is so cool. We don’t have any cool vernacular like that.
      I really appreciate you sharing Pangur Ban. (I don’t know how you accented that thing.) I hope you didn’t actually go to the trouble of typing it out! It has a great rhythm and it’s really silly and tongue in cheek and the context makes it so much more interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s really the context that makes it. Imagining some poor monk bored out of his tree THAT many years ago, scribbling in the margin about his cat while Pangur the cat hunts mice just…. I don’t know. Humanises the past. Makes him come alive after all this time. I love that he’s immortalised thanks to a throwaway poem in the margin of a manuscript.

        So I guess it’s not really about that particular poem at all.

        Mid term Break by Seamus Heaney is a good but sad poem as well. I’ll keep an eye out for your suggestions!

        Liked by 1 person

        • This could be an interesting topic as well. I might want to search for poems that have particularly interesting backstories to them or were perhaps found in unusual places. That could be fun too. Hahah. I will look up Mid Term Break, because I like sad poems maybe most of all.

          Like

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