National Poetry Month: Poetry six pack

National Poetry Month posterIt’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.

  1. Mowing — Robert Frost.  It’s the sound of this one that always gets me.
  2. 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.
  3. Ulysses — Alfred, Lord Tennyson — I know this is an old war-horse of a poem, but I love it.
  4. 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…”
  5. 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.
  6. 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.


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