Friday, March 29, 2013

Poetic License

April is National Poetry Month, which gives you a license to seek out and enjoy poetry, new and old. To help you, the Academy of American Poets invites you to subscribe to receive a poem a day in your email box. Poem-A-Day features previously unpublished work by contemporary poets, as well as classic and historical poems. Subscribe now, so your poems will start on April 1! Imagine receiving a poem in your email box every day--what a great alternative to spam!

For students, there is also the Dear Poet Project. In the spirit of Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet, students are invited to read poems, formulate questions and comments, and handwrite letters to some of the poets who serve on the Academy's Board of Chancellors.

And also supplies you with a list of "30 Ways to Celebrate." One of them is "Watch a poetry movie," and Burbank Public Library is giving you that opportunity. On Friday, April 5, at 4:00 p.m., the young adult department will screen LOUDER THAN A BOMB, a documentary that follows four teams of Chicago teens as they prepare for and compete in the world's largest poetry slam. We hope you will join us! (It's a teen program, but all are welcome to the screening.)

We leave you with this quote:
In my view, books should be brought to the doorstep like electricity, or like milk in England: they should be considered utilities, and their cost should be appropriately minimal. Barring that, poetry could be sold in drugstores (not least because it might reduce the bill from your shrink). At the very least, an anthology of American poetry should be found in the drawer of every room in every motel in the land, next to the Bible, which will surely not object to this proximity, since it does not object to the proximity of the phone book.
--Joseph Brodsky, "An Immodest Proposal"
During the month of April, leave a poem in an unexpected place for someone to find. Here's one I liked, so I'm leaving it for you:

by Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.

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