Together, Angelou’s words and Basquiat’s paintings create a place where every child–indeed every person–may experience his or her own fearlessness”
Hello, April! National Poetry Month has arrived! Time to brush up on or learn for the first time what poetry is, what poems can be about (hint: anything you want!), where we can find them, and what the guidelines are for writing different types of poems (like concrete, limerick, haiku, acrostic and more)! Learn what stressed syllables are (hint: they aren’t anxious), the difference between rhythm and rhyme, and metaphor and simile!
Then engage with Ms. Sally’s Family Poetry Jam activities! We’d love to see the poems you come up with!
Our National Poetry Month celebration has reached a fever pitch, but before we make our last call and flip on the bright lights, we want to introduce one more special guest to our poetry party. As you well know, Evanston is home to some seriously talented poets, and it is our pleasure to highlight their work right here on Off the Shelf. Next up is Reginald Gibbons. The Director of the Graduate Creative Writing Program in NU’s School of Professional Studies, Gibbons’ tenth book of poems, Last Lake, will be published in October by University of Chicago Press, and his book about poetry, How Poems Think, came out last fall. He has published a novel, Sweetbitter, has edited a collection of poets’ essays (The Poet’s Work) and other books, and has translated a volume of Selected Poems: Odes and Fragments of Sophocles, poems by Spanish and Mexican poets, and also two ancient Greek tragedies (Bakkhai and Antigone); in 2017 he will publish a book of very short fiction. We recently spoke with Gibbons via email about his poetic origins, his writing process, and the poetry that inspires him.
Our National Poetry Month celebration has been raging for nearly two weeks, and it is now time to welcome some very special guests to our poetry party. You see, Evanston is home to some amazingly talented poets, and throughout the rest of April, it is our pleasure to highlight their work right here on Off the Shelf. First up is Rachel Jamison Webster. An Associate Professor of Poetry and Creative Non-Fiction at Northwestern University, Webster is the author of the full-length collection September, the poetry-prose hybrid The Endless Unbegun, and the chapbooks Leaving Phoebe and The Blue Grotto. Her work has also appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, and Blackbird, and her numerous honors include the Poetry Foundation’s Emerging Artist Award and the Academy of American Poets’ Young Poets Prize. We recently spoke with Webster via email about her poetic origins and inspirations, her writing process, and her new poem “Belize.”
“This living hand, now warm and capable” by John Keats
This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm’d-see here it is-
I hold it towards you.
This poem was selected by Ben R. (Adult Services Librarian)
My Father’s Love Letters by Yusef Komunyakaa
On Fridays he’d open a can of Jax,
Close his eyes, & ask me to write
The same letter to my mother
Who sent postcards of desert flowers
Taller than a man. He’d beg her
Return & promised to never
Beat her again. I was almost happy
She was gone, & sometimes wanted
To slip in something bad. Continue reading “National Poetry Month: April 8th”
Negative by Kevin Young
Wake to find everything black
what was white, all the vice
versa–white maids on TV, black
sitcoms that star white dwarfs
cute as pearl buttons. Black Presidents,
Black Houses. White horse
candidates. All bleach burns
clothes black. Drive roads
white as you are, white songs
Le Jardin Des Tuileries by Oscar Wilde
This winter air is keen and cold,
And keen and cold this winter sun,
But round my chair the children run
Like little things of dancing gold.
Sometimes about the painted kiosk
The mimic soldiers strut and stride,
Sometimes the blue-eyed brigands hide
In the bleak tangles of the bosk.
And sometimes, while the old nurse cons
Her book, they steal across the square,
And launch their paper navies where
Huge Triton writhes in greenish bronze.
And now in mimic flight they flee,
And now they rush, a boisterous band–
And, tiny hand on tiny hand,
Climb up the black and leafless tree.
Ah! cruel tree! if I were you,
And children climbed me, for their sake
Though it be winter I would break
Into spring blossoms white and blue!
This poem was selected by Kathleen L. (Adult Services Librarian)
The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe
In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace–
Radiant palace–reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion,
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!
Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow
(This–all this–was in the olden
Time long ago)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A winged odor went away.
The Bumble Bee’s Religion by Emily Dickinson
His little Hearse like Figure
Unto itself a Dirge
To a delusive Lilac
The vanity divulge
Of Industry and Morals
And every righteous thing
For the divine Perdition
Of Idleness and Spring–
This poem was selected by Nancy E. (North Branch)