“Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.”
Mark Strand, “Eating Poetry“
In college, I minored in English and loved taking poetry classes. They were a total retreat from the writing I typically did as a journalism major. Where news writing was factual, declarative sentences, poetry was experimental structure, layered scenes and rich emotions. (But OK, yes, I’ll accept arguments that good journalism can and maybe should have those elements, too.)
I still like reading poetry from time to time, and now is a good time to evangelize the genre. April is National Poetry Month. So take a break from your Buzzfeed reading, your young adult dystopian-future novels, or your pulpy crime mystery that’s about to become a hit movie.
Here’s some good reading with poetry:
- Lemony Snicket offers a children’s poetry portfolio. (If you’re feeling ambitious about your poetry reading, $35 buys you a full year of Poetry magazine!)
“Poetry is like a curvy slide in a playground — an odd object, available to the public — and, as I keep explaining to my local police force, everyone should be able to use it, not just those of a certain age.”
- The Poet Laureate of the United States makes $35,000 per year (with $5,000 in travel expenses), which is funded through a gift by railroad heir Archer M. Huntington. But if you’re wondering how a poet laureate is selected, you’ll have to consult the Library of Congress.
“And despite what some people seem to believe, the Poet Laureate also is not selected like the Pope: there is no conclave of leading poets who gather at the Library to cast secret ballots for the next Poet Laureate (and we’d certainly never use smoke to indicate a new Laureate was selected!).”
- This Modern Love piece from a mom who left poems in her daughter’s shoes:
“What I wanted her to know is: People have been in pain before, struggled to find hope, and look what they’ve done with it. They made poetry that landed right in your shoe, the same shoe you didn’t wear for four months because of your despair.”
- Technology meets journalism meets poetry via Times Haiku, in which a computer algorithm creates haiku from random sentences in The New York Times.