Sunday, April 1, 2012

National Poetry Month

[Poster by Chin-Yee Lai.]

Hey, everybody, it’s April, National Poetry Month. The Academy of American Poets’ FAQ explains that April was chosen because it “seemed the best time within the year to turn attention toward the art of poetry.” I wish there were more to it than that, but the choice of April appears to be unrelated to Geoffrey Chaucer (“Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote”) or T.S. Eliot (“the cruellest month”). To choose April without even acknowledging these poets’ contrary representations of the month (which after all might remind us of the great variety of perspectives on reality that poems afford) seems an odd gesture indeed.

I also wish that the representation of Poetry on this poster were less — what? precious? sentimental? greeting-card-like? If you cannot make the words out, they read: “. . . wait on the wind, catch a sense of salt, call it our life.” Okay, I will do that. You can find the words in context here, forming the last line of Philip Levine’s poem “Our Valley.”

This post is for my friend Sara, who too will be exasperated.

[“The best time within the year”: within as opposed to what? Why not “the best time of year”? I saw a signboard outside a thrift store yesterday proclaiming March National Poetry Month, but that must have been an April Fools’ joke.]

comments: 2

Sara said...

Thanks, Michael!



But who needs National Poetry Month?

I'm all about Dr. Dog now.

I declare April to be Dr. Dog month.

Michael Leddy said...

I just looked them up, not knowing at first it was a them.