On Wednesday, March 28th, I attended Ignite the M!c at the Bing Arts Center in Springfield. Poets between the ages of seven to 25 displayed both courage and vulnerability in sharing their art with an audience of their fans and adult supporters, me among them. Cell phone off. Life’s concerns on pause. Journal open, pen in hand. Focus. My vitamin P.
On Saturday, March 31st, I attended a poetry reading in the Springfield Central Library on State Street. Not only did the local poets such as Narelle Thomas, Richard Horton, Kateri M. Walsh, and Gerry Waller appreciate my presence in the audience, I appreciated them. Despite my many commitments, I went because listening to poems being read out loud me compels me to be fully present to someone else’s imagination. Once again. Cell phone off. Life’s concerns on pause. Journal open, pen in hand. Focus. My vitamin P.
At Bay Path University, where technology is integrated into our teaching and learning, I encourage you to sign up on the Academy of American Poets’ website to receive a poem a day to read during the month of April, National Poetry Month, in any format that works best for you. A daily dose of poetry grounds us in the moment and reminds us to be open to wonder. If you enjoy a poem or parts of a poem, great! Jot down why and what did. If a poem baffles you to the point of irritation, note that, too! If a poem evokes a range of emotions, list them all! As for the poem that leaves you cold and indifferent, politely read it to the end and move on. In all instances, don’t read and drive!
My strategies? I always read a poem at least twice: once in my head to familiarize myself with the poet’s word-scape and once again to pay attention to how the poem makes me feel. Reading a poem is not about getting THE right interpretation; don’t make it a chore! Instead, it is about me as a reader with my body of experiences and about you as a reader with your body of experiences engaging the poem in the time and place that we read it. In my journal, I jot down how it makes me feel and what it inspires me to think about. A phrase or word unfamiliar to me? I look up its meaning or reference online. Who knows? This poem may inspire me to generate raw material for a new poem. If the entire poem resonates with me deeply, then I add the poem to my growing personal poetry anthology.
As I receive the poem of the day from the Academy of American Poets by email for 30 days, I will read each poem twice and jot down my reflections in my journal. If you choose to sign up for your daily dose of poetry, your Vitamin P, let me know by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you feel like sharing your responses with me, then feel free to email me: email@example.com. Let’s celebrate National Poetry Month together!