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Why Celebrate World Poetry Day?

Poems (however you define them) pop up en masse—greeting cards, chipper FB graphics, literary zines, blogs, chapbooks, open mic nights.

429px-Kirchner-Paar_im_Zimmer-Couple in a RoomHeck, I once discovered a blog that featured a daily a.m. haiku homage to a young woman’s lover. The images grew tiresome after a few days—a sheet trailing carelessly to the floor, the sacred spot where the loved one’s head pressed the pillow, a golden strand left in said spot, cigarette butts stamped out in a vintage “occupied Japan” teacup, a left slipper abandoned and gently chewed by a Golden Retriever. . . .

This writer was clever in that she rearranged this scene in a 5-7-5 rhyme scheme multiple ways. The official verbal punctuation cutting between two images never materialized.The blog finally died. Maybe the lover quit smoking, and the blog lost its literary mist or readers wearied of wandering in its fog.

Yet poetry worth the read abounds!

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, intoned World Poetry Day for the right reason: “Every poem is unique, but each reflects the universal in human experience, the aspiration for creativity that crosses all boundaries and borders, of time as well as space, in the constant affirmation of humanity as a single family.” Fine words in a time when some believe good fences make good neighbors (thank you, Mr. Frost).

My thoughts turned to Jorge Luis Borges: “Truly fine poetry must be read aloud. A good poem does not allow itself to be read in a low voice or silently. If we can read it silently, it is not a valid poem: a poem demands pronunciation. Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first song.”

Why not make poetry daily? Done!

The Poetry Foundation will deliver audio to your email door; just ask! Take a listen to this Billy Collins poem—and let it be.

Credit: Couple in a Room by  Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Categories: Poetry The Writing Well

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Catherine Hamrick

Soul deep storyteller, poet, copywriter, and editor with a passion for wordplay, gardens and literature

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