It’s National Poetry Month. And I know that a lot of people right now are participating in “Poem a Day” challenges or working on “Favorite Poem Projects.” I’m not that organized right now and, quite honestly, I’ve got enough projects running right now to know I can’t handle another one. But as a good English teacher, I do solemnly swear that before the month is out, I will complete a Favorite Poem Project posting. Though I think that I ought to be exempt, given that much of this site qualifies as a Favorite Poem Project.
Meanwhile, in no particular order, with only minimal explanation, here are six poems I love.
- Mowing — Robert Frost. It’s the sound of this one that always gets me.
- Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night — Walt Whitman. The narrative , along with the pictures painted by the poet, make me read this one aloud a lot, even when I’m by myself.
- Ulysses — Alfred, Lord Tennyson — I know this is an old war-horse of a poem, but I love it.
- Fern Hill — Dylan Thomas. “Nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows / In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs…”
- Under Ben Bulben — William Butler Yeats. There are poems by Yeats I think are much better, but I love the idea of the poet “pulling it all together” near the end of his life. This was one of the last poems he wrote.
- Introduction to Poetry — Billy Collins. This one probably says a ton about my experience — good and bad — with poetry and school.
So in compiling this list, I note that I have not selected
- any poetry by women;
- any poetry outside the traditional western canon;
- any Shakespeare, Spenser, or anything else from the period that’s supposed to be my specialty.
Horrors! I promise to complete more six-packs before the month is out to address these oversights.