Read, Eat, Savour a Poem

Blog Read, Eat, Savour a Poem

The final days of April are fast approaching and I’m wondering if you’ve had your fill of poetry this month?  Since 1998 (the same year that Calgary Reads was ‘born’) National Poetry Month has been celebrated in Canada to increase awareness and appreciation of poets and poems.

I hope, not just this month but all year long, you read Shel Silverstein aloud as a family, chant the rhymes of Dennis Lee together in a classroom and rush to the Dewey Decimal 811 section in the library (which is just like 911) for a poetry emergency because you are starving to hear words that sing.

Nourish your soul this month by finding a quiet moment to gobble up a poem alone or in the delightful company of children.

How To Eat a Poem
by Eve Merriam

Don’t be polite.
Bite in.
Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that
may run down your chin.

It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are. You do not need a knife or fork or spoon
or plate or napkin or tablecloth.

For there is no core
or stem
or rind
or pit
or seed
or skin
to throw away.

Savour some Mary Oliver, a prolific Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, who writes in her latest book Upstream, about her friend and ‘shadow-companion’ Walt Whitman:

“First and foremost, I learned from Whitman that the poem is a temple – or a green field – a place to enter, and in which to feel. Only in a secondary way is it an intellectual thing – an artifact, a moment of seemly and robust wordiness – wonderful as that part of it is. I learned that the poem was made not just to exist, but to speak – to be company. It was everything that was needed when everything was needed.”

Read a poem, write a poem, recite a poem, eat a poem this month and remember what it feels like to be satisfied.

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