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.

Among the suggested tools for participation offered on the National Poetry Month website, I found (through an online search) that most tended to focus on activities for school children and/or teacher’s lesson plans for use in the classroom. I’ve been away from the classroom a long time so I can’t gauge whether or not these activities have been helpful in promoting poetry in positive ways. Maybe the efforts are just another eye-rolling, time-wasting unit to keep children busy and out of trouble?

I sympathize with teachers who love their students and love to teach but are stymied by multiple challenges. I sympathize with children who want to learn but are often bored and suffer from short attention spans. Whether right or wrong, society has encumbered teachers and students and classrooms with a host of ills unknown to previous generations.

It’s worth noting the variety of activities suggested on the HMHCO (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) blog, specifically devoted to National Poetry Month. HMHCO entered publishing around 1832 and through its many iterations has continued to publish educational products, one of the earliest being this 1864 edition of Rhymes Without Reason. It’s a small chapbook of silly verses but shows an early commitment to poetic expression.

I suspect HMHCO might find this early publication slightly embarrassing though. The first poem is titled “John Chinaman” and while silly, could be considered disrespectful. Like many companies today, however, the HMHCO website reflects a leftist political ideology that probably also seeps into their current published volumes. Why??

In my view, poetry transcends all of the various labels and categories people use to divide and separate us!

The sonnet below addresses one aspect of our current culture. Not wishing to rain on (see theme above) anyone’s parade, I’ll leave the poem here without further comment.

Colorism, a sonnet

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