I am only just beginning to understand and appreciate poetry. It started a few years ago after hearing a friend read Daniel Landinsky’s translation of “We Have Not Come to Take Prisoners” from The Gift: Poems by Hafiz, that I had an awakening that poetry was not only accessible to me, but that this particular style of poetry was an important reminder that I am connected to something much bigger than myself.
Poems by Persian poets such as Rumi, and Hafiz are known for their emotional quality and are relatively simple to read. I prefer Hafiz to Rumi, and more specifically, the translations by Daniel Landinsky, which I find joyous, playful, and amusing.
Speaking of amusing, I seem to be one of the rare people who didn’t grow up reading Shel Silverstein. While I was aware of his iconic story The Giving Tree, I’d never read his poetry books which I only recently discovered are filled from front to back with the silliest, quirkiest, pun-filled poetry you can imagine. Feeling that my life was somehow lacking in absurdity, I decided for each of my past two birthdays to treat myself to one of his books.
In what way does poetry exist in your life? Do you write poetry? Read poetry? Have you ever attended a poetry reading? What about the works of others authors? Who are your favorites?
National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, bloggers, and, of course, poets marking poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives. It’s aim is to:
- highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets,
- encourage the reading of poems,
- assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms,
- increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media,
- encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books, and
- encourage support for poets and poetry.