We are well into April and as I’ve talked to students, staff, and faculty members, there’s a pretty clear trend. We’re all feeling the post-spring break, pre-finals pinch. It seems as if we experience a kind of collective amnesia, forgetting that these six weeks or so will be hectic and full, no matter how much we prepare for it.
This stretch of classes and deadlines, meetings, and ceremonies, also coincides with National Poetry Month. In some ways, everyone is so busy and distracted that finding time to discover a new poet or revisit one of our favorites slips down our list of things to do. I wonder if, now more than any other time, we really need the infusion of images, thoughts, and questions that a poem can construct and inspire.
One of my personal favorites is Jenny Browne. I’ll admit to some bias here. But truly, after reading her work, I find myself…a couple of days later…maybe I’m halfway through pouring a cup of coffee…and the words of one of her poems will swim back to me in the moment. Maybe it relates in some way to what I’m doing but more often, the lines capture some kind of sense or feeling, some kind of moment or idea, that I must be continuing to work through, imagine, and understand.
This image, from “The Multiple States of Matter” returns to me again and again:
The back of the donkey I rode down into the canyon
quaked beneath me for miles. Every time we stopped
she faced the rock. She didn’t want to see
where we were going either.
This moment from “Until the Sea Closed Over Us and the Light was Gone” is a highlight in a long and wondrous trip through the Texas landscape:
Wishing our species better metaphors,
I consider the author of borders
& fear standing up the slumped horizon.
This question-thought from “Love Letter to a Stranger (Stranger)” is one that I can see, hear, smell, and feel:
…Who was it
that said our souls know one another
by smell, like horses?
To encourage you to do a little something to celebrate National Poetry Month, I’d like to initiate an unofficial challenge. We’ll think of 2023 as a test run and make it “official” next year. It only requires a couple of visits to the library and some time spent with a poem or two before May (and finals week) hits:
- Stop by the National Poetry Month display in the library lobby and randomly choose one of the publications or books on display. Sit in one of the big comfortable chairs in the lobby and find one poem that catches your attention. Read that one poem and when you’re done, take a picture of it with your phone and send it to someone you know who you imagine might have something to say about that poem.
- On Poem in Your Pocket Day (April 27), stop by the library’s display and choose one of the poems curated by Trinity students. Take it with you and maybe take it out and read it a few times over the course of the day. Think about how it hits you in a different way, after multiple readings or depending on the time of day you devote to it.
- Send a note to email@example.com and let us know which poem you found this month or which poem you received for Poem in Your Pocket Day. In just a few words (or many if you wish), share your poetry discovery with us and what you gained from the experience. We’d love to make it a part of our National Poetry Month activities next April.