World Poetry Day

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How will you celebrate World Poetry Day on March 21?

feather pen and scroll paper illustration

Unesco started this holiday in 1999 “…with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.”

I started writing poems at age 10 (5th grade) and continued until college (early 20s) where I majored in English.  I remember frequently going to the B. Dalton bookstore (we lived 90 min away) in the 1970s and purchasing more than one Rod McKuen poetry book. Ha! No judging.

In high school I fell in love with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Psalm of Life and it was the first poem I recall memorizing. I loved the cadence, and the words, and his name, Longfellow. Later, I memorized the first few stanzas of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven.

After many years away from poetry, I was drawn back to it while watching Amanda Gorman read her poem The Hill We Climb at President Biden’s inauguration in 2021. It was amazing seeing this young woman step into her role as the first National Youth Poet Laureate for the US. Wow!

Since then I’ve taken a poetry class (BBC Maestro), read dozens of different poets, found some poets to follow on Twitter, written a few poems, started a Poetry journal where I track some of my favorites and make general notes. I’m also reading books about poetry and I subscribe to Poets & Writers Magazine. I have a Poetry WORD doc on my computer where I copy and paste quotes from poems, Twitter observations, memes, and anything related to poetry that I come across and would like to revisit.

I also purchase poetry books as I come across poets with whom I resonate. Here are a few:

  • Diane Seuss (I discovered her after reading her article in Poet & Writers)
  • Mary Oliver (“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” from her poem, A Summer Day)
  • Todd Boss’s Someday the Plan of a Town
  • Margaret Atwood’s Dearly
  • Ocean Vuong’s Time is a Mother

I’ve also made a homemade journal (11×11) where I can paste full page poems and graphics to peruse when I’m in the mood or need a lift.

Poetry both comforts and inspires.

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