Please don’t stop reading when you see the word poetry! Even if you fear poetry, I’m not giving up on you.
The word for fear of poetry could be poemaphobia, but, honestly, I made that up. Poets like to play with words.
When I was a senior at Ragsdale High School, my English teacher, Vivian Davis, spoke of attending a conference featuring the great American poet Robert Frost. When he opened the floor for questions, she mustered courage to ask what he was thinking as he wrote “The Road Not Taken.” Frost looked at her and said, “Who are you to ask me what I was thinking. I don’t remember what I was thinking.” Vivian Davis felt rather small.
Frost’s answer, however, lessened my poemaphobia. We need not see a poem as a poet saw it. Our own experience guides our reading. From any poem, we draw what speaks to us: delight, recognition, or new insight.
Whether I write poems to share in print, to send to grandchildren, or for my journal, my goal is to bring beautiful language within reach. My favorite poems speak through simplicity.
Let’s celebrate spring and National Poetry Month with a delightful mix of poetry. Watch for poetry displays at the library through April.
Join me for Weaving Words: A Poetry Workshop, on Tuesday, April 17, 4:00 PM. No analyzing. I promise. I will, however, nudge and guide you painlessly toward shaping your thoughts onto a page.
Mark your calendar also for Poem-in-You-Pocket Day on April 26. Tuck a poem in your pocket to share and to enjoy yourself. Need a poem for your pocket? The library has poems to share. “Dreams” by Langston Hughes is one I keep nearby: “Hold fast to dreams/For if dreams die/Life is a broken-winged bird/That cannot fly….”
April storytimes feature children’s poetry. In the Small, Small Pond (Denise Fleming) plays with sounds in tiny poems: “wiggle, jiggle,/tadpoles wriggle.”
Little Dog and Duncan (Kristine O’Connell George) is a delightful story in small poems about a visiting dog. Read it with your family, dog included. Smiles guaranteed.
For older children, Love that Dog (Sharon Creech) tells a tender yet humorous free verse story of an adopted dog, loved and lost. I laugh and cry through this one.
Newbery Medal winner Out of the Dust (Karen Hess) is a free verse story about a girl’s growing-up challenges in the 1930’s Dust Bowl. Its spare and poignant language has inspired my own writing.
I‘d like to tell you about many other favorites, but I hope you’ll come to the library and discover new favorite poems of your own.