Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April is... National Poetry Month

I read this article on NPR from New York Times poetry columnist David Orr a couple of days ago. In the article Orr discusses his new book Beautiful and Pointless, Harper, 25.99. In it Orr looks at modern poetry and why reading it may, or may not matter.

The book's purpose was not to highlight his favorite poets per se but to encourage people to discover poetry and different themes and thereby find for themselves poets who inspire the reader to read poetry.

To buy his book click here.  I can't help but agree that even if poetry is an under-appreciated (if not completely outdated) art form, when someone discovers for themselves the power of a poets words it can be a powerful thing.

Case in point:

What is Poetry
by Lawrence Felinghetti
art by Frederic Amat (see above picture)
House of Anansi Press

Ferlinghetti's book was first published in 2007 as Poetry as an Insurgent Art, Amat has created art specifically to go with this limited edition book. It is a completely inspired way of looking at Ferlinghetti's words and drives home the point that when one discovers poetry or writing of any kind that resonates with the reader doors are opened and worlds are discovered. 

Come down to the Odyssey and check it out, it really is one of the coolest books I've read this year! 



Constantly Risking Absurdity (#15)

By Lawrence Ferlinghetti b. 1919 Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Constantly risking absurdity
                                             and death
            whenever he performs
                                        above the heads
                                                            of his audience
   the poet like an acrobat
                                 climbs on rime
                                          to a high wire of his own making
and balancing on eyebeams
                                     above a sea of faces
             paces his way
                               to the other side of day
    performing entrechats
                               and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
                               and all without mistaking
                     any thing
                               for what it may not be

       For he's the super realist
                                     who must perforce perceive
                   taut truth
                                 before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance
                                  toward that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
                                     with gravity
                                                to start her death-defying leap

      And he
             a little charleychaplin man
                                           who may or may not catch
               her fair eternal form
                                     spreadeagled in the empty air
                  of existence

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