Tag Archives: William Carlos Williams

Poems for National Poetry Month

April is my favorite time of year. Not for the showers (although, rain’s nice), nor for the beginning of spring; rather, April is my favorite time of the year because it’s officially National Poetry Month and that means I get to spam everyone I know on Facebook with poems everyday, and sometimes twice a day, for a whole month. It’s also the month of William Shakespeare’s birth and death, so I like to pay special attention to his sonnets and poems, as well as poetry that celebrates his work, during my favorite time of the year.

It’s really an English degree holder’s dream.

I want to share poetry with everyone this time of the year, and you are not immune. Here’s a poetry month starter kit of poetry for you to share with your friends, or to just read an enjoy, during my favorite month of the year.

15 Historic Poetry Recordings We’re Lucky to Have

Technology has made the life of writers and readers much easier. We can store thousands of books in an e-reading device; write, edit, and save stories with a word processor; and use our phones as a dictionary and thesaurus and skip lugging the heavy books around. Now that many classic literary texts have been entered into the public domain, readers can find some of the greatest works in history with the click of a button. And as William Faulkner once said, “Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.”

That same logic applies to poetry too, of course. And as poetry is often read aloud, it’s a great idea to listen and learn from some of the masters. Thanks to technology, we have the ability to access historic recordings of some classic poets, like Dylan Thomas and Langston Hughes.

You’d be surprised by how many great poets can’t read well. By that, I don’t mean they’re illiterate, but, for whatever reason, when they read their poems they don’t engage with their audience. Personally, Ezra Pound’s voice grates at me, but I really enjoyed Anne Sexton’s recording of “Letter Written on a Ferry.” It was honest and soothing; it lulled the listener in.

But listen and decide for yourself. I’ve included fifteen historic recordings, with links to The Poetry Archive, where you can hear them, below.

1. “Anyone lived in a pretty how town” by e.e. cummings

Ezra Pound - Creative Commons
e.e. cummings 1917 passport photo

2. “The Waste Land Part V – What the Thunder said” by T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot

Our Favorite Poems for National Poetry Month

It’s our birthday this month. The Poetics Project was started by myself and Melanie Figueroa and launched the 1st of April to celebrate National Poetry Month. Because this blog started out as a community of writer’s sharing poetry in a Facebook group, we thought we’d share some of our favorite poetry with you to celebrate both our blog’s birthday and National Poetry Month.

Amanda’s Favorite Poems

“O Do Not Love Too Long”
By W.B. Yeats

Sweetheart, do not love too long:
I loved long and long,
And grew to be out of fashion
Like an old song.
All through the years of our youth
Neither could have known
Their own thought from the other’s,
We were so much at one.
But O, in a minute she changed—
O do not love too long,
Or you will grow out of fashion
Like an old song.

 

“Nobody Knows this little Rose”
By Emily Dickinson

Nobody knows this little Rose—
It might a pilgrim be
Did I not take it from the ways
And lift it up to thee.
Only a Bee will miss it—
Only a Butterfly,
Hastening from far journey—
On its breast to lie—
Only a Bird will wonder—
Only a Breeze will sigh—
Ah Little Rose — how easy
For such as thee to die!

 

“Mr. Darcy Piñata”
By Mark Grist

The reception was without incident
Until, bobbing through the doorway
Came a piñata the shape of Mr. Darcy.

He drifted across to the canapés
Where, dipping occasionally, he melted
The hearts of several young women

Who thought ‘that is not just a Mr. Darcy piñata.
For me he will be different; he will change.
And so they left their clotted boyfriends

For this rugged, frowning effigy.
Laughed coyly over cocktails, suggesting
Weekend breaks, theatre trips and lingerie.

The piñata gave nothing back in dashing fashion.
His narcissism unable to compete with the fact
That he was only a piñata after all.

Unwilling to accept the state of things,
The girls began to scratch at his casing, stealing strips
Of him. Desperate to create a wound that would

Tie the piñata to them after they had gone.
Force him to phone them at 3am for no reason
Other than to recover something of himself.

This was never going to happen. In the end
The piñata sank under their blows.
Shiny wrapped sweets skittered across the floor

Etched deep with words like ‘bastard’ and ‘user’.
The young women snatched these; went back to their tables
Sucking them for years till their sweetness grew bitter.

A Poetry Starter Kit

Last week, I ventured into the university bookstore to buy Collected Poems by Philip Larkin. The store was out of the book, so I placed a special order with one of the clerks.

As she was helping me, the young woman said, “I never read poetry.”

I told her, “You’re not alone. Most Americans don’t read poetry.”

She asked, “Why is that?”

I told her that many academics had many quirky theories, but these were only theories. Everyone has an opinion, but no solution. “What is your major?” I asked.

She told me she studied the social sciences, and might go into social work. Then she said, “I read Keats and Whitman in high school.”

I said, “You could spend the remainder of your long life studying those two dead guys, and that brand of reading might contribute to a happy life.”

Then I wrote her a list:  Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Sandra Cisneros. I told her to go to the internet and Google every poem she could find by these poets. Give every poem a chance. Read each poem at least twice.  If she found a poem she didn’t like, don’t stop there. Keep looking for more poems by each poet. Put together an anthology of poems she liked.

She promised she would.

The Curious Relationship Between Writers and Cats III

My exploration of writers and cats has shown me that many authors enjoy the company of a feline. In other posts, I’ve written about authors like Hemingway, Kerouac, and Williams, which may have led you to believe that only male writers find cats inspiring. But not to worry. Let me ease your mind.

Sylvia Plath, American author, for instance, was inspired by cats. Yes, this inspiration may (who knows?) or may not have led to writing, but it did lead to this drawing, which was one of 44 of her drawings on display in 2011 at London’s Mayor Gallery, by a young Plath (which is still pretty awesome):

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The Curious Relationship Between Writers and Cats II

(Credit: buzzfeed.com)
(Credit: buzzfeed.com)

About a month ago, I wrote a post on William Carlos Williams and the writer’s relationship with his cats. While researching the piece, I discovered that many writers had (and still do have) cat muses. The list, in fact, is so long that I am under the impression now that in order to really call yourself a writer, you have to adopt a furry feline.

Hemingway’s house in Key West is crawling with over 50 of his six-toed, polydactyl, cats, which tourists travel from all over the world to take a close look at. The Sun Also Rises author fell in love with his first polydactyl cat, Snowball, while traveling in Cuba. Hemingway felt that cats have “absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.” While Hemingway’s cats are now infamous, other writers and their cats may be less known.

The Curious Relationship Between Writers and Cats

Writers have been said to be solitary beings, which may provide insight into why so many writers seem to choose cats as their companions, rather than man’s best friend. Cats aren’t pack animals, meaning they don’t feel the need to do what anyone else wants them to do. And they have large, peculiar personalities, which can also be said of writers.

When I began researching this curious relationship between writers and cats, I stumbled upon a poem written by William Carlos Williams:

As the Cat

As the cat
climbed over
the top of

the jamcloset
first the right
forefoot

carefully
then the hind
stepped down

into the pit of
the empty
flowerpot