I am, quite regularly, grateful for the poets and their many gifts. In much the same way I can see a beautiful scene and envision it as a painting, I often read or hear a poem and can instantly conjure the images in my mind. Similarly, I have often thought of music (and my love of it) as having provided a virtual soundtrack to my life – hearing a certain song can instantly take me back to a specific time or experience. And I suppose that poems are merely songs without music – so, I guess it all makes an odd sort of sense…
My first exposure to poetry, like most of us ‘of a certain age,’ was Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes. These short, quirky, (sometimes disturbing) nibbles of poetry were veritable 'ear worms' -- easily remembered and recited, due to their simple structure and vivid imagery -- I am surprised at how often a snippet of one will run through my head, brought to mind by a turn in conversation or learning an interesting fact. Once in school, poetry was a regular section in English class each year and I always discovered someone or something new to carry along with me. I think what really cemented my love of poetry, though, was hearing a record *oh, no – that won’t date me at all – ha!* of Robert Frost reading a copy of ‘Birches” in the 5th grade – MAGIC, I tell you! To this day, I do not see a birch tree without thinking: “One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.” On through high school (falling in love with Gibran), and college (too many to list!) my list of poems and poets continued to grow… Today, I am no less enamored of this incredible art form, and continue to amass favorites.
Since my painting skills do not measure up to the vision that their words often inspire, I have developed the habit of finding poems to match my photos. It’s loads of fun, and much like the audible clue of a favorite song, the discovery of a new poet provides the echo of their words when the photos are seen, shared, or taken anew. For the story behind the photos featured here today (and the poems that go with them), visit me over on my blog, tomorrow (12/22/17).
In the event that you are not a lover of the library, I have composed a list of handy web sites to add a little poetry to your days:
- The Poetry Foundation features a Poem of the Day, Seasonal Collections of poetry, biographical information on poets, and vast collection of poems. You can also peruse the pages of current and past issues of Poetry Magazine
- Academy of American Poets allows you to subscribe to their “poem a day” service, as well as showcasing great poets, poems, and articles. They also highlight section of materials for teachers. Another neat thing here is a series of video clips of poets reading/reciting their work.
- Poetry.com is a community for amateur poets. Readers can enjoy by visiting the site. After registration, members can post their own as well as review other poems.
- Poetry 180 was the vision of US Poet Laureate (2001-2003) Billy Collins. Hosted on the internet by the Library of Congress, the program was designed to make it easy for students to hear or read a poem on each of the 180 days of the school year.
Until next time,