Tuesday, April 1, 2014

National Poetry Month--a glass half-full or half-empty?

If you're in the poetry-as-literature community, then National Poetry Month is a decorous, tasteful 30-day variant of Mardi Gras.

You can write 30 poems, one for each day, and cut/slice your art to fit whatever prompts are devised this year.

You can also go to poetry awards functions, where old and younger gods get honored--and communities send out subtle dog-whistles as to who and what poets/poetry/community service qualify for Hall of Fame status.

You can attend and/or participate in literary festivals in venues small and large.

And you can buy poetry books either online or in independent bookstores or dwindling megabook chain shops.

Then, the 30 days are over.

And you may find yourself one night in a second-hand bookstore (as I recently did) with several poetry books to trade for cash/credit and discover that the owner will only take Billy Collins (because he is a Household Name the owner recognizes) and Jack Hirschman (after I tell the owner that he's a surviving Northern California Beat, who has a Name, though not in as large a typeface as Billy Collins).

One can't help but wish that every day could be Poetry Day--without the attempt to compartmentalize it into only one month of ceremony that, for some, serves as lifeblood.

No comments:

Post a Comment