Monday, April 26, 2010

have a favourite poem?

lovin' this 2006 national poetry month poster by the aap

have a favourite poem?
have a book of poetry that you cherish?
have a poet you just adore?

well here in canada (& the usa, too!) april is national poetry month.
a chance to celebrate the "aesthetic & ... evocative" language form that is poetry.

i'm lucky to be married to a fabulous poet, who both writes and studies the form, and so over the years i've come to adore so many fabulous poems, poets, genres of poetry.

i love the energy of a great poem.
i love the way a good poem can inspire us, mesmerize us, romance us, speak for us, motivate us, allow us, evoke us, provoke us: run the whole gamut of emotive thought in a few


i love how poetry reaches folks of every age. little rikrak (and so many children i've taught!) are so inspired by
language when they read or hear brilliant poetry like: shel silverstein, dr. seuss, dennis lee, and so many more linguistic masterminds who use creative language to engage the wee ones of our world! love it!

as a young adult, i came to love the masterful simplity of poetry:
in a brilliant poem: william carlos williams' the red wheelbarrow,
thru a book: adrienne rich's beautiful i dream of common language,
or learning about a whole body of work to adore: like bp nichol,
e.e.cummings, or pablo neruda.

of course tastes change over time. (luckily, or i'd still be sporting my neon-technicolour, shoulder-pad studded business suits from my pre-teen years! *phew*) ... and it's always such a joy to discover a new-to-me poem, or poet.

so i want to hear yours!
? have a favourite poem?
? have a poem that has a special meaning to you?
? do you ever write poems?
? have a poetry book that changed you?

{and ottawans: if you're out and about tonight, mr. rikrak is hosting the poetry cabaret: pan-canadian poetics at the ottawa international writer's festival in town: it promises to be a great night with erin moure, rachel zolf, gregory scofield and more!}

happy poetry month, nicies!
yay words!
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  1. I didn't know it was National Poetry Month. I've always loved the Romantic Poets like Keats or Byron!.

    You ARE lucky to be married to a Poet! I picture him leaving you little love poems around the house. ;>

  2. I read this in highschool and I've always remembered it. :)

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
    Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
    Because their words had forked no lightning they
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
    Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
    Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    And you, my father, there on the sad height,
    Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    -Dylan Thomas

  3. Another one I love. "Little Chalrlie Chaplin man" just rolls off the tongue!

    Constantly risking absurdity
    and death
    whenever he performs
    above the heads
    of his audience
    the poet like an acrobat
    climbs on rime
    to a high wire of his own making
    and balancing on eyebeams
    above a sea of faces
    paces his way
    to the other side of the day
    performing entrachats
    and sleight-of-foot tricks
    and other high theatrics
    and all without mistaking
    any thing
    for what it may not be
    For he's the super realist
    who must perforce perceive
    taut truth
    before the taking of each stance or step
    in his supposed advance
    toward that still higher perch
    where Beauty stands and waits
    with gravity
    to start her death-defying leap
    And he
    a little charleychaplin man
    who may or may not catch
    her fair eternal form
    spreadeagled in the empty air
    of existence

    -Lawrence Ferlinghetti

  4. My favourite poem is "Tonight I Can Write" by Pablo Neruda.

  5. Kindness-- by Naomi Shihab Nye


    Because the World is So Fast and SO Small-- Kathleen Paul Flanagan

  6. oh these are great!
    thanks so much for sharing!

    {and it is great, lori... but it's not *quite* like that! :)}


  7. what perfect timing! falling asleep last night i couldn't get this piece by Emily Dickinson out of my head:

    this world is not conclusion
    another stands beyond
    invisible as music
    but positive as sound

    i have many favorite poets including dickinson, elizabeth bishop, william carlos williams, ee cummings and maya angelou amoung others

    The Art of Losing by Elizabeth Bishop is a fantastic poem as well.

    Oh, and IF by Rudyard Kipling. Wonderful!

  8. oops, the title is One Art...sorry.

  9. I love poetry!
    Unfortunately I don't read enough of the genre but my very favorite poem is by Robert Frost.
    I discovered it at age 20 or so and somehow when I have to make an important decission in my life, the poem is always in my mind.
    I know it by heart.

    The Road Not Taken

    TwO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim,
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

  10. I have lots of favorite poems. I love Lucille Clifton and Gwyendolyn Brooks.
    Here is one of my favorite Lucille Clifton poems:

    Lorena - News Report: Lorena Woman cuts off husband's penis, later throws it from car window.

    it lay in my palm soft and trembled
    as a new bird and i thought about
    authority and how it always insisted on itself, how it was master of the man, how it measured him, never was ignored or denied, and how it promised there would be sweetness if it was obeyed just like the saints do, like the angels
    and i opened the window and held out my uncupped hand; i swear to god
    i thought i could fly

    Here is a poem I love by Gwendolyn Brooks:
    Kitchenette Building

    We are things of dry hours and the involuntary plan,
    Grayed in, and gray. "Dream" mate, a giddy sound, not strong
    Like "rent", "feeding a wife", "satisfying a man".

    But could a dream sent up through onion fumes/ Its white and violet, fight with fried potatoes
    And yesterday's garbage ripening in the hall/ Flutter, or sing an aria down these rooms,

    Even if we were willing to let it in/ Had time to warm it, keep it very clean/ Anticipate a message, let it begin?
    We wonder. But not well! not for a minute! / Since Number Five is out of the bathroom now,/We think of lukewarm water, hope to get in it.

  11. I have many I love. I made a necklace recently out of a poem by Mary Oliver because I like the power of words and the idea that I can carry that with me, not just in my pocket, but as ornamentation....

    Wild Geese

    You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.

    Mary Oliver

  12. How lucky are you to be married to a poet!

    I love, "Waiting" by John Burroughs

    Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
    Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
    I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,
    For lo! my own shall come to me.

    I stay my haste, I make delays,
    For what avails this eager pace?
    I stand amid the eternal ways,
    And what is mine shall know my face.

    Asleep, awake, by night or day,
    The friends I seek are seeking me;
    No wind can drive my bark astray,
    Nor change the tide of destiny.

    What matter if I stand alone?
    I wait with joy the coming years;
    My heart shall reap where it hath sown,
    And garner up its fruit of tears.

    The waters know their own and draw
    The brook that springs in yonder height;
    So flows the good with equal law
    Unto the soul of pure delight.

    The stars come nightly to the sky;
    The tidal wave unto the sea;
    Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
    Can keep my own away from me.

  13. My favorite poem is Desiderata by Max Ehrman. It begins, "Go placidly amidst the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence." Truly inspirational.

  14. I used to have this poster in my classroom! I probably still have it in a box somewhere cause I loved it, too!


thanks so much for your comments, nicies!
it's a joy to read what everyone writes here.
thank you!