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  • April 2010
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What Poetry Month Means to Me

Poetry and I have a complicated relationship.  Like you possibly do now, I composed emo stuff as a teen. In college, I decided to be a poet. So, I applied to grad school for poetry writing and even though I didn’t get into Goddard College at first, I did after a special summer program, which, for reasons other than poetry, was one  the best times of my life.

It’s always been easier for me to read fiction. Give me a story and characters. But, if I want wallop-packed emotions or to see life “slant,” poetry can provide a quick rush to the brain and heart via the ear.  Or a not-so-quick rush, something more thoughtful, jarring and intimate.

And if I want to understand a complicated feeling, one that’s not revealing itself to me in other ways, writing poetry can be a way in.

Poetry Month provides a venue  to fall in love with poetry again.  But as a librarian, I want to sing its praises all year.  An article, I read recently, made a great case for knocking it off its pedestal. It suggests you revel in your choice of poetry:  musical,  sarcastic, romantic, explosive, serious or silly.  After all, it encompasses subjects like nature, society, sports, beauty, manliness, mortality and every day life as well as the secret reaches of the human heart. 

Here are a couple of poems I really like:

THE RED WHEELBARROW

by William Carlos Williams

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens

DIRECTIONS FOR RESISTING THE SAT
by Richard Hague

Do not believe in October or May
or in any Saturday morning with pencils.
Do not observe the rules of gravity,
commas, history.
Lie about numbers.
Blame your successes,
every one of them,
on rotten luck.
Resign all clubs and committees.
Go down with the ship—any ship.
Speak nothing like English.
Desire to live whole,
like an oyster or snail,
and follow no directions.
Listen to no one.

Make your mark on everything

If you are high school student who writes poems, fiction or creative nonfiction, consider our Ralph Nunn workshops and contest. First prize is $250 for each category and second prize is $100. Practicing professionals teach the workshops free of charge. Selected poems will be published in an anthology and there will be a release party for everyone who’s published.

                                      Tina Zubak , Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Beechview

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