NaNo Check-In

How's your first week of National Poetry Month going?

How's your first week of National Poetry Month going? I've managed to read a few poems, coax one out of The Teenager and write a short one every day so far. Most of them have only been three lines but I did write one that turned into a parody of "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones!

We decided not to make the poetry wall this year just because it's covered with a timeline this year, but we're writing them in our notebooks. My teen has taken to the task with sarcasm which is fine with me. It's still engaging the brain and results in creative results every time no matter the motivation, and sometimes it's even fun.

How are you celebrating? Any poems to share yet? Post them in the chat!

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National Poetry Month is Here

How do you plan on celebrating?

April is National Poetry Month as well as National Poetry Writing Month! It's one of the most fun months of the year when we not only read and study poetry at our house, but we write a poem every day, too. Last year we used a poetry wall to write on, which made it even more fun, and I think we're going to do the same thing again.

This year we all have a new favorite poet in Amanda Gorman so we have someone else to add to our celebrations. Many people will be reading her poetry this month, I'm sure. There are lots of fun poetry-related things to do throughout the month from home as well. 

How will you be celebrating the month? Share your plans in the chat.

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Doctor Says Poetry Helps With Patients

It's all connected!

Recently my teenager, who wants to be an entrepreneur and comic artist but also loves psychology and philosophy, begged me why history was so important to learn. I pointed him to an article his philosophy teacher sent us about why philosophy should be taught to plumbers.

This example of a doctor who utilizes poetry to reach his parents is another wonderful example. Poetry isn't separate from medicine. On the contrary, it can be medicine, depending on what's going on with you, and it's certainly about the human condition. When we separate subjects we forget how interconnected it all is--how interconnected we all are. It's all a part of our world, after all, broken down into little boxes or not.

What subjects were you most surprised to find relevant in your life? How has poetry helped you in your life or career?

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The Best Poetry Facebook Pages

Which do you follow?

It's no secret that when it comes to poetry communities, AllPoetry is my favorite. It's just the one I enjoyed in college and I loved being able to collaborate, read and share, submit to contests and just belong to the community. They do have a Facebook page as well if you'd like to follow them there.

But a lot of my friends swear by Button Poetry, which I'm really digging. It promotes more spoken word poetry as well as poems written by more diverse authors, which the world needs to really listen to. It's not about "giving them a voice;" they have a voice already. It's about quieting and listening and stepping back so those voices can be heard!

What is your favorite poetry community on Facebook? Or any other social media, for that matter? Share it in the chat.

Consequence Culture, Poet Edition

Who do you think we shouldn't study anymore?

"Cancel culture" just isn't a thing. People with that much power certainly aren't canceled unless they do something super heinous, and even then most continue to get away with it. Just look at the previous president. Consequence culture, however, is a thing, and now that we are familiar with some of the terrible things famous people have done, it makes sense to not follow or study them anymore.

But how do you do it? How do you do it with a poet like Pablo Naruda, who was such an incredible writer who admitted to raping someone? What about Philip Larkin? And what methods do you use? Would you stop studying an artist with a problematic past? The issue there is that so many of the ones studied certainly have issues, although they range from deeply troublesome to downright criminal.

Perhaps we should just start studying new poets altogether. What do you think?

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The Most Poetic Songs

Which would you say are most poetic?

Most of us love at least some form of music, and many songs speak to us like poetry. I can think of so many songs that sound like they were poems put to music, and aren't a lot of songs like that anyway?

When I think of these kinds of songs, I almost always go to artists like Alicia Keys or Norah Jones, but think of artists like The Silent Comedy or even Blink 152. Some of those lyrics are deeply moving and profound, using imagery that we expect from poets.

What songs do you most associate with poetry? Share them in the chat.

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Reconsidering the Classics

What should the new classics be?

There's been lots of talk about reconsidering the classics lately, and for good reason. The works that we consider classics were selected a long time ago by white men in academia, and the works are all considered classics through their lenses, not the lenses of the rest of America. There are experiences completely ignored in these works in terms of gender, class, race and every other variant of Americans.

Knowing this, many of us would make the case against writers like Hemmingway, especially when there are so many other talented writers who've written the same themes much more adroitly since his time without, you know, being sexist or a jerk in the process.

Which poets would you exclude from "the classics" and which would you replace them with? Share the poets you think should be considered new classics in the chat.

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Poetry in Isolation

We can learn from the greats

When we think about poetry in general, plenty of reclusive people come to mind. Emily Dickinson alone is one of the greatest and best known examples. But what about poets forced into isolation due to illness? That's when you get writers like Elizabeth Barrett Browning. A book about the poet suggests that we can learn how to cope with social distancing by following her example.

Artists in isolation or under restrictions can be found outside of poetry, too. Plenty of writers are reclusive people in general, and then you have artists like Frida Kahlo who made art to cope with pain.

Can you think of any other artists who use poetry to cope with isolation? How have you used it yourself?

Gorman to Perform at Super Bowl

Poet laureate is everyone's favorite performer this year

Could you imagine, instead of a halftime show full of singers and dancers, and a bunch of high profile commercials, the Super Bowl featured meaningful poetry and art? It's almost a disconnect, especially for those of us who don't like football and find it inherently violent, a waste of money and full of the privilege awarded to celebrities and others in power, but the fact that Amanda Gorman is performing this year makes me want to tune in for the first time.

Ok, I will likely watch the video after. But it's still quite a leap from previous performances, even if football has become more "political" lately. That's what an older woman said in a meeting the other day and I had to disagree: sports have always been political. Still, a poetry reading during a football game is a big change, and I'd argue a welcome one, especially if it's Amanda Gorman. I still don't agree with sports taking place during a pandemic anyway, but if they are, I think her performance will be the highlight.

Will you be tuning in to Gorman's performance?

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The Poems of Angelina Weld Grimke

Celebrate Black voices and history

This year there's a strong call for celebrating Black voices and joy rather than strictly focusing on Black trauma during Black History Month, which I think is so important. The thing is, it's important all year, so implementing it every month is necessary! Last night my teen and I read about Angelina Weld Grimke, an LGBTQ Black writer who created the play "Rachel" in response to the awful pro-Nazi film, "A Brave New World."

At the time, it was considered a bleak play that audiences didn't appreciate because of its obvious goal of serving as a response against the pro-Nazi film. This means that activists may have loved it, but the general population wanted something more palatable. Today the work is being revived with new performances and energy, and the poet's works are being spotlighted as a result.

Take a look at some of Grimke's poems this week. Which ones do you like best? Which ones move you? I love how crisp her imagery is and I think my favorite is "The Want of You" so far. 

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