Tuesday, April 10, 2012

National Poetry Month

English poet William Wordsworth once wrote, "Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility." Wordsworth, who was born two hundred and forty two years ago this month, is just one of the hundreds of writers and artists that we celebrate in April during National Poetry Month. Since 1996, the month long holiday has brought together writers, publishers, librarians, and readers to recognize the important place poetry and poets occupy in American history and culture.

Looking for ways to celebrate your favorite poetry this April? During National Poetry Month there are a number of ways to get involved in the festivities. On April 26th, try "Poem in Your Pocket Day." The idea is simple: select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you on Poem In Your Pocket Day, sharing it with co-workers, family, and friends. Poem In Your Pocket Day has been celebrated each April in New York City since 2002, and nationwide since 2008. Pocketless? Put your poem in a public place. Go one step beyond hopscotch squares and write a poem in chalk on your sidewalk. Pick a favorite line from a poem and choose a clean piece of sidewalk or pavement to write on. Pavementless? Try organizing a poetry reading in your area. Readings are a great way to promote poets and poetry. Perhaps you are part of a writing group and want to share your work with an audience. Or maybe you're interested in gathering poets whose work you've admired, or you want to help discover new voices. You can select poets you know from writers groups, workshops, local colleges and universities (professors and students), or announce a call for readers. If you're looking for ever more ideas, check out Poets.org for dozens of other ways you can celebrate National Poetry Month.

In honor of National Poetry Month, let's take a look at a handful of new and classic poetry collections published by Overlook.

Jerry Williams' It's Not You, It's Me: The Poetry of Breakup is available now in paperback. In "an anthology for anyone who's been broken-hearted," (Entertainment Weekly) award-winning poet Jerry Williams offers his expert advice on breaking up. Along with a crucial "two month grief regimen" of unintentional dieting and sofa catatonia, he credits his survival to the words of other poets who have loved and lost. This angry, amusing, sweet, and bitter anthology includes poems by Denis Johnson, Kim Addonizio, Bob Hicok, and former poet laureates Robert Hass, Maxine Kumin, and Mark Strand. Over ninety poems make up this entertaining and touching collection, sharing wisdom on the dark side of romance and poking fun at the mess we become at the mercy of love.

Paul Auster's Collected Poems presents a stunning collection of poetry and writings by one of the most intriguing and accomplished voices in contemporary literature. Paul Auster's penetrating and charged verse resembles little else in recent American poetry, and this collection of poems, translations, and composition notes from early in his career do much to reinforce the idea that Paul Auster is, indeed, a unique and masterful figure in the literary world.

If you haven’t heard, the whole animal kingdom is roaring in its approval for Let’s Have A Bite! and Beastly Feasts!, two collections of delectable rhymes about animals naughty and nice. Combining to include more than seventy delicious poems by Robert Forbes and zany illustrations of each featured creature (look out for a secret critter peeping out from each page) by master cartoonist Ronald Searle, these wildly playful rhymes and charmingly intricate illustrations will keep readers seven to seventy coming back again and again.

In The Selected Poems of David Shapiro, the landmark volume celebrating Shariro's 60th year and his 10th book-length volume of poetry, readers are presented with the breadth and depth of this iconoclastic poet's oeuvre for the first time ever. Shapiro's poetry plumbs the ecstatic chaos of postmodern life with a voice that, in all its manifestations, remains simultaneously playful and lyric. Including the best of long out-of-print classics such as Man Holding an Acoustic Panel and Latenes, this long-awaited tribute celebrates the impressive contribution of a New York poet whose intelligently experimental and intimate verse has earned him a significant place in our national letters.

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