Novels and memoirs perpetually show up on the BookPage most-viewed list, but since April is National Poetry Month, I want to encourage readers to branch out a bit and enjoy some verse.
Before you do anything else, read this poetry roundup from our April print edition. Diann Blakely highlights several new collections, including Poetry in Person by Alexander Neubauer, The Apple Trees at Olema by Robert Hass and others. Younger readers will enjoy our roundup of children's poetry books—with titles like Can You Dig It? and Everybody Was a Baby Once, this feature proves that poetry can be silly and fun.
Many websites are hosting special series or e-mails in honor of National Poetry Month:
- Every year, Knopf offers a free poem a day. (Click here to sign up.) The poem of today is "Self-portrait" by Edward Hirsch. ("My left leg dawdled or danced along, / my right cleaved to the straight and narrow. / My left shoulder was like a stripper on vacation, / my right stood upright as a Roman soldier.")
- Poets.org also delivers a poem-a-day. (Sign up here.) Today's poem is Philip Levine's "A Story." ("The worn spot on the sill / is where Mother rested her head when no one saw, / those two stained ridges were handholds / she relied on; they never let her down. / Where is she now?") They also have an iPhone app called Poem Flow, so you can read poetry on the go.
- FSG sends daily poems, too (Sign up here), in addition to keeping an entire Poetry Month blog ("The Best Words in Their Best Order"), where you can find event highlights, audio coverage and posts from big names such as Jonathan Galassi, poet and publisher of FSG. Today he writes about poetry in translation.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to celebrate Poetry Month!
Who are your favorite poets? What poems do you like to re-read? Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win Shel Silverstein's classic A Light in the Attic (a special edition with 12 new poems!). Deadline: Next Thursday, April 8 at 10 a.m.
I will always love Robert Frost's "Home Burial"—probably because the first time I heard it was when Frank Bidart read it out loud in my senior year poetry seminar in college. (" 'Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t,' she cried.") And Pablo Neruda's Odes are very special to me. Trying to teach a kid to love poetry? Pick an ode, any ode. I like "Ode to Tomatoes." (And after reading it out loud, hand her a copy of Pam Muñoz Ryan's fabulous The Dreamer—read an interview with the author here.)