Saturday, January 30, 2010
I Don't Read Enough Poetry: Read Poetry All the Months of the Year!
I heard James Howe speak the other day. He spoke about his writing process. He said that he reads 2, or 10 poems each day to "connect to his own heart". Especially when he feels like his "heart isn't in it." He reads Mary Oliver, American Poet Extraordinaire:
“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
What a wonderful reminder of a genre I don't read hardly enough. Waking up in the morning and reading a new poem or returning back to old favorites, adds a calmness and beauty to my day.
I was reading Poets and Writers this month. I read The 5th Annual Debut Poets Round Up. William Archila, author of The Art of Exile, wrote, "Poetry gives us a sense of beauty, a sense of dignity. It reminds us to feel human again." Isn't this so.
My friend Pam posted as one of her facebook status updates, a quote fromNaomi Shihab Nye (Palestinian - American Poet) "Love means you breathe in two countries". What a wonderful line for so many of us, living between cultures, countries, and other identities. I love the images that she creates and the thoughts that she provokes.
Another Blog that agrees. Ponder this quote from Neruda, "I wheeled with the stars, my heart broke loose on the wind."
Suheir Hammad is a poet that I have been reading and rereading for years. I met her several years ago when she did a reading at a hip hop conference at the University of Pennsylvania. Her poems and readings are powerful and deep. She has a memoir as well as three poetry books.Zaatar Diva comes with a CD so you can hear her deliver the poetry out loud. It is absolutely beautiful and will bring goosebumps to your arms. You can of course catch her on YouTube: Poem. She was one of the original poets of The Def Poetry Jam Series. Her poetry is universal and very personal by nature. It is political and literary. When you get a chance to see her live, don't miss it for anything. In the meantime, pick up one of her books and read.
A friend from college, Craig, has a blog where he posts his most recent thoughts and poetry. Add this page to your weekly reading diet. My friend, Kawita, wrote Folding a River. A beutiful anthology of her poetry. Check it out!
Currently I am reading Kay Ryan, our nation's Poet Laureate. In Poets and Writers this month she is named as one of the 50 most inspirational writers! I'm glad I started that reading project.
Poetry isn't something I usually pick up first, but I am going to try to add more of it into my reading life. It creates space and time for reflection. It brings beauty and life to the forefront of my thoughts. It reminds me of what is important.
I will leave you with this poem.
Please posts your thoughts and reflections about these poems or others that you think others should read.