Saturday, April 1, 2017

Moving from Women to Poetry

We leave Women's History Month behind, and move on to National Poetry Month.  Here's how I first wrote that sentence:

We live Women's History Month behind, and move on to National Poetry Moth. 

Hmmm, a Poetry Moth chewing holes in the wool of our ordinary lives.  Living Women's History Month.  Interesting typos.

I celebrated this shift by starting The Handmaid's Tale last night--even though I've read it multiple times, I found it riveting.  And lyrical, these depictions of life under tyranny.  It reminds me of my experience of reading The Road, where I would occasionally savor the words over and over again before moving on.  I've called The Road the most beautiful writing about the most horrible apocalypse, but perhaps Atwood gives McCarthy a run for his money.

For me, April will be a packed month, with Easter, family visits, and an accreditation visit at the end of the month.  If your schedule is like mine, you might be thinking that you can't possibly observe National Poetry Month too.  But you don't have to write a poem a day.  There are less hard-core ways to bring more poetry into your life for a month.  Try one of these:

--Write a poem a week.

--Choose a volume of poems and read your way through it as the month progresses.

--Try an approach to creating poems that you haven't used before.  If you write long lines, go short.  If you write short poems, force yourself to write a poem that is 3 times as long.  If you've never written in form, start now.

--What happens if you pair images with lines that could be poems?  Try collage or photos or swirling colors on the page.

--Open a book or magazine.  Choose the 6 words on the page that are most evocative.  Write something.

--Make photocopies of your favorite poem.  Leave poems behind as you move about in the world (in a waiting room, in a restaurant, on a window sill, and so on).

--Read a poem out loud before you turn off the lights for the day.

--Choose a poem from a time period that you've never explored before.  I realize that this suggestion might be hard for those of us who majored in English at schools who saw it as their mission to make sure we explored every century of literature, but go back to revisit a time period that you didn't like the first time.

It's a good month to remind us how to be a bit more intentional about weaving poetry into the cloth of our daily lives.  And hopefully, we can take some of these practices along with us as April moves to May.

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