In the Kornfield

In his preface to the book How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry, author Edward Hirsch states “Reading poetry is endangered, I suppose, because reading itself is endangered in our culture now.” As we observe National Poetry Month 2024, I thought a few comments from Hirsch’s book would be of interest.

This book (my edition has a 1999 copyright on it) is rich with observations about poetry in general and about learning to read poetry with enthusiasm and understanding. He calls poetry “a collision, a collusion, a compression of two unlike things:  A is B.” Yes!

Continue reading “In the Kornfield”

Pretzel Diplomacy

Today is the final Friday of April so my observance of National Poetry Month 2024 is drawing to a close. My original plan for this post was diverted when I was reminded this day is also National Pretzel Day! My, how my German ancestry taste buds began to salivate!

Yes, I will be making some soft pretzels later today. My brother (who lived in Germany for many years) will be coming for dinner and we’ll savor one of the many culinary delights passed down from our forebears.

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Danger, Will Robinson!

Still observing National Poetry Month 2024, we’re winding down the final days of April with a cursory look at things in the news. Let’s see there:  campus unrest, airline delays and mishaps, political trials, wars in distant places ….

On second thought, maybe there are better ways to celebrate April than the same old, same old? Contemplating some of the headlines might just provide motivation for crawling back into bed like a hibernating bear. Is there Good News somewhere – anywhere? Continue reading “Danger, Will Robinson!”

Hat Tip to Poe(try)

In the annals of literature, is there any greater nod to the actual art of rhythmic composition than Edgar Allan Poe? He is, in essence, the personification of poetry. As we observe this 24th day of National Poetry Month 2024, it’s a fitting occasion to mention Poe’s contributions and lasting legacy.

More than a decade ago, I wrote a post about Poe (1809-1849) on the date of his 205th birthday. Yes, he lived a long time ago! The man lived a short and somewhat varied life, dabbling in several different occupational endeavors. Rather than rehash an old post, I’m making something of a right turn by focusing on one specific poem he wrote. Continue reading “Hat Tip to Poe(try)”

TMI – Too Much Information?

In addition to observing this 23rd day of National Poetry Month 2024, I’d also like to recognize the day as the 68th anniversary of the civil wedding ceremony for C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman Gresham. Two writers, now both deceased, entered into a marriage of convenience on this day in 1956.

Readers of wiseblooding are probably aware of my admiration for C. S. Lewis. I’ve posted about him numerous times. As a literary scholar, a teacher and a writer, Lewis built a reputation and following which continues to grow long after his death.

This is my first post to mention Joy. For her poetry in Letter to a Comrade, Davidman won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition. She was considered a good poet by some, but her subsequent writings mostly failed to find an audience. She continued to write and married a fellow-writer, William Gresham. They had two sons and a chaotic marriage.

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Mortal Men, All

Observing National Poetry Month 2024 again today, I’m reminded how little mention I’ve made of those poets whose names and works have achieved high honors over many generations. Do a search of “greatest poets of all time,” and AI will provide a list of twenty names with William Shakespeare in the number one slot.

Of course, AI hedges its bets, indicating this isn’t an exhaustive list … and adds the usual reminder to verify critical facts. I’m always amused how AI bends over backwards (figuratively!) to avoid rigidly dogmatic answers! Remember the old advertising trope:  Nine out of ten doctors agree …? Looks like this trope has been suitably updated to reflect our digital age. Continue reading “Mortal Men, All”

Let Sleeping Poets Lie

Sundays are a good day for rest, kicking back, spending time with family. In reasonable laid-back fashion, we observe the twenty-first day of National Poetry Month 2024 today. It’s nice to have one day a week for relaxation … and that’s what we’ve done.

The standing joke is Sunday’s the best day to get a good nap … in church during the sermon! It’s always a temptation, I admit. Especially when Saturday night wasn’t a good night for sleep. My Apple Watch Health app mocks me, providing a daily report of how much sleep I logged. When the orange bars are more prevalent than the blues and teals, I know I’ve been tossing and turning. Continue reading “Let Sleeping Poets Lie”

Opinions vs. Truth

As today is April 20th, we’re almost three full weeks into the annual observance of National Poetry Month. I always find it interesting to scroll through one website which chronicles various notable events On This Day. No mention on that website of National Poetry Month (no results found), but the site provides an interesting mix of history, film and tv, music and sport going back a long way.

When I view sites like On This Day, I’m usually curious about why certain pieces of information are included. For instance, the website today refers to a particular song release or a celebrity who broke her arm when thrown from a horse, or a specific brutal act committed by a mass murderer. Who decides which “events” are important enough to merit inclusion? Continue reading “Opinions vs. Truth”

Viewpoint Transcendence

Today, we celebrate April’s 19th day in observance of National Poetry Month 2024. It’s always interesting (to me) to know what other individuals and organizations are doing to mark the month. Here’s one innovative tack:  NPR (National Public Radio) has a hotline anyone can call to hear a poem recited daily. (Long distance charges may apply, of course.)

Somehow I missed this info, but today I learned the month’s theme is weather. I was unable to locate any mention of this theme on the informational page for National Poetry Month. Maybe I’m being spoofed by the AI monster? There’s a warning which says I need to “verify critical facts.”

Alas, I completely overlooked the Poem in Your Pocket Day celebration which occurred yesterday! One of the suggested ways to participate in this exercise is to Read a poem out loud from your porch, window, backyard or outdoor space. Yes, I suppose I could hold a belated celebration? The cows in the pasture across the lane could be my captive audience. Continue reading “Viewpoint Transcendence”

Speedy Mis-Judgments

Continuing with my personal observance of National Poetry Month 2024, I might have been tempted to start out by stating another day … another poem. Blah, blah, blah. Instead, early this morning, an unexpected distraction sent my whole plan for the day off the rails!

It’s fair to say, this is how my brain works, I guess. Especially when it comes to writing poetry, the muse is often out of control! Words begin shaping into sentences in my head, and almost without bidding, an entire poem has seemingly written itself! More often than not, I’ll rush to write out those sentences and give them time to simmer … at least for a day or two, maybe more. I just don’t want to trust myself with a hot take! Capiche? Continue reading “Speedy Mis-Judgments”