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June Thompson column: Write and read poetry in celebration of National Poetry Month

11:11 AM, Apr. 2, 2013  |  Comments
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During National Poetry Month, I'll find all my poetry books stacked in my bookcases (I have quite a few of them) and I'll have a poetry reading marathon. That's means I'll be reading a lot of poetry everyday into the late hours of the night, or early hours in the morning. It's a way I celebrate great poets' work with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

I know that everyone doesn't care for poetry, but that's OK. Those people who don't much like the metered rhyming poetry or those fancy three-line Haikus can still appreciate one of the most well-known famous poets: Emily Dickinson.

It was in 1984 that my mother bought me a book of Emily Dickinson's poems from the local K-Mart. It's a hard-cover book and I have a few pages bookmarked as favorite passages. I don't dog-ear the pages; that would be disrespectful. I gently turn the pages over one at a time to the next page to the end page.

As I read Dickinson's poetry, the pages are crisp and clean, not smudged or torn, some of her phrases (words) rhyme with a lyrical quality. I sometimes read her poetic words aloud, listening to them, and I wonder how many other people read poetry or go to poetry readings. It seems to be a rare occurrence.

Dickinson, an American poet, lived in the mid-19th century, and wrote hundreds of short poems, mostly about life, love and nature. She was a reclusive poet, rarely leaving her father's home/property where she lived. Like many other poets, Dickinson submitted a few poems - more for an opinion than for publications, but received rejection. Most poets get plenty of rejection of their work. But this didn't stop Dickinson from writing more poetry. It was something she had to do. It wasn't until after her death that her poems were discovered and published in a book(s). The simplistic quality of her poetry has endured.

This month I'll also read some of Max Garland's poetry; he's recently been named the Wisconsin Poet Laureate. Garland teaches poetry at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. His poetry collections include "The Postal Confessions" and "Hunger Wide as Heaven."

Whether you like poetry or not, consider reading a few poems to celebrate and honor the great poets.

The Outlet

My river runs to thee:

Blue sea, wilt welcome me?

My river waits reply.

Oh sea, look graciously!

I'll fetch thee brooks

From spotted nooks,-

Say, sea,

Take me!

(Source: Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson, published by Chatham River Press 1983 p.97)

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