Kicking Off National Poetry Month

Happy Friday everyone! I wanted to begin today’s post by saying, “Thank you!” Thank you all for your patience and understanding as we were having some technical difficulties this past Wednesday when our new blog post was supposed to go up. Thanks to some great people, we are back up and running! Now let’s get rolling…

April 1st kicked off National Poetry Month! This month is dedicated to all our poets out there, published or otherwise. It’s dedicated to those who simply love to read poetry. If there have been some poetry collections waiting on your “to read” list, now is the time to read them. If you’ve been meaning to reread your favorite poets, now is the time. If you’ve been writing some poetry in your head and heart, now is the time to put pen to paper.  

Last week, as National Poetry Month was approaching, I began thinking about the poets whose work I’d love to reread this month. It’s so hard just to pick one because there is so much talent in the world. I thought about Shakespeare and William Blake. I’ve been thinking about Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” and TS Eliot’s “The Wasteland.” I even thought about writing some of my own, but, as I’m sure many of you will understand, my poems never feel ready. (We’ll talk more about this in a couple weeks.)   

To kick off this month right, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite poems from my favorite poets:

William Shakespeare “Sonnet 18” (1609)

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed:

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;

Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. 

 

Robert Frost “Fire and Ice” (1920)

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To know that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

 

Maya Angelou “Still I Rise” (1978)

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

 

Sandra Cisneros “Dulzura” from Loose Woman (1995)

Make love to me in Spanish. 

Not with that other tongue.

I want you juntito a mi, 

tender like the language

crooned to babies.

I want to be that 

lullabied, mi bien

querido, that loved.

I want you inside

the mouth of my heart,

inside the harp of my wrists,

the sweet meat of the mango,

in the gold that dangles

from my ears and neck.

Say my name. Say it. 

The way it’s supposed to be said. 

I want to know that I knew you

even before I knew you.

 

Atticus from Love Her Wild (2017)

I hope to arrive at my death late, in love, and a little drunk.

 

Let me know in the comments some of your favorite poets and how you’ll be celebrating National Poetry Month! As always, happy reading!

Marissa

 

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