In this country, where we are ruled by flashing computer and movie screens and our leisure time is spent flipping through channels to watch trash like Teen Mom 2, My Super Sweet 16, 16 and Pregnant and lots of Jersey Shore, something like National Poetry Month often goes by unnoticed, except, apparently, by literary nerds.
It’s true, April is National Poetry Month and it is something to be celebrated. If you already write poetry and share it openly, then revel in your expression and be proud, organize a poetry reading amongst your friends.
But if you don’t consider yourself a poet, then maybe it’s time to try it. In fact, many people (perhaps even you) write poetry in private to get some emotional catharsis out of a particularly charged situation.
You want to woo someone, so you write them a love poem. You want to get over your last break-up, so you write an angry poem just so you can get it off your chest. You’re bored, so you write a funny little poem about a bumbling ninja.
But all too often, that powerful emotional energy that was recorded is lost, long forgotten, hiding in a dusty notebook at the bottom of your bookcase. I think this is wrong. Poetry is not something to be forgotten about.
Even if you do not feel comfortable sharing it with the public, you still have taken the time to write it down, so it must be worthwhile to you, at the very least.
Poetry is pure life freshly squeezed from your soul. Whether it is combined with music or not, it is the verbal form of artistic expression. It is like taking all of the swirling emotional energy you have and defining it with language, making it able to be understood and comprehended.
And of course, poetry would be purely masturbatory without an audience, so support poets by reading their work.
William Stafford is one of the most famous poets from Kansas and was also United States Poet Laureate. He is a fantastic poet and has several books available at the WAW Library. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, the Poet Laureate of Kansas.
Poetry is all around us and we must learn to appreciate it, whether it is your own work or not. It isn’t hard do this, write some poetry or organize a reading. I personally am planning to have one with some of my friends this Friday and it isn’t that hard. All that is needed is a space, some people and open minds.
Roses are red, ice cubes are cool, it’s poetry month, so don’t act a fool.
Alex Pedersen/ The Bulletin