April is National Poetry Month so this year I would like to honor Richard Blanco, in a wave of nostalgia for inaugural poets, which the current administration chose to forgo. Blanco is the fifth poet to read at a United States presidential inauguration, having read for Barack Obama’s second inauguration. He is the first immigrant, the first Latino, the first openly gay person and the youngest person to be the U.S. inaugural poet. And he lives in Maine! I love his memoir: “For all of us, one today” which details the process of becoming the inaugural poet. “One today,” the poem read at the inauguration, is also a beautifully illustrated children’s book. And Blanco’s poetry books are full of treasures.
The Long Island Community Library has several of Richard Blanco’s books – I would encourage you to check out a few of them this month, and find yourself transported.
In honor of National Poetry Month (April), I would like to honor poets who write books – not of poetry, but prose. These are some of my favorite books. I just read Simon Armitage’s Walking home : a poet’s journey. Published in 2013, this book details his walk along the Pennine Way in England, which is much like America’s Appalachian Trail. Armitage exchanges room and board at various venues for reading his poems, to a variety of audiences, including appreciative, at times. Not only did I learn about this trail, but I enjoyed Armitage’s wit and honesty about himself.
This book brought to mind another wonderful book, by Baron Wormser, The Road washes out in spring: a poet’s memoir of living off the grid. Baron Wormser was the Poet Laureate of Maine in 2000, and at the time of his book, lived in Madison, Maine, where he was a librarian for the local school district. Anyone who lives rural in Maine (and experiences mud season) will appreciate and enjoy this book.
So, here’s to poets everywhere, especially those who write prose!
I like this idea – creating book spine poetry. Apparently you pile up some books with great titles, and create a poem! Here’s an example:
For more ideas see:
On a different note, I just read an awesome book of poetry: Blood Red Dawn, by Jon Shutt. Jon Shutt served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as a way to cope with PTSD he turned to poetry. On the back of the book it says: “72 of Jon’s poems appear in this collection. Searing, soaring, gut-wrenching, sardonic, philosphical.” I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has either served, or has a loved one who is either serving or who has in the past, and especially for those who suffer from PTSD.
Finally, the Long Island Community Library has recently purchased Richard Blanco’s poetry books: City of a hundred fires, and Looking for the Gulf Motel. As most of you know, Maine poet Richard Blanco read a poem for President Obama’s inauguration this past January, and now he is getting incredible exposure and accolades in Maine and beyond.
So, lots of ways to immerse yourself in poetry: creating and reading poetry is an excellent way to start! (and try to get to some poetry readings this month – there’s nothing like hearing a poet read his or her own poetry)