“Always be a poet, even in prose.” ~ Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), French poet
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Thursday, April 5, 2012
Apologies to all the loyal readers of this blog, but unfortunately the blog won't be updated for an undetermined length of time. Please check back periodically, as we hope to be up and running again soon.
-The George Hail Library
Each day this month we take the time for some quiet contemplation, guided by poetry.
“To contemplate,” writes the poet Denise Levertov, “comes from [the Latin] ‘templum, temple, a place, a space for observation, marked out by the augur.’”
She goes on to say that “to meditate is ‘to keep the mind in a state of contemplation’; its synonym is to ‘muse,’ and to muse comes from a word meaning ‘to stand with open mouth’ — not so comical if we think of ‘inspiration’ — to breathe in.”
Poetry can aid contemplation and meditation. Rhymes and rhythms and rhetorical tools like similes, metaphors, and alliteration elevate words that would sound merely mundane as prose and turn them into music as poetry. Because poetry is not quite natural speech, it makes the reader pause and invites him to reflect.
In the verse below, it is precisely the poetic expression of what would otherwise be a prosaic truism that lends itself to contemplation.
RE-REVELATION WHILE MOVING TO VANCOUVER ISLAND
“All our lives we work for that which at the last gate
we simply give away.”
~ Charles Van Gorkom, Canadian poet (to visit his blog, please click here)
A FEW HELPFUL BOOKS FOR THIS MONTH:
Ralph Harper, Nostalgia: An Existential Exploration of Longing and Fulfillment in the ModernAge
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea
Henri J. M. Nouwen, A Restless Soul: Meditations from the Road
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Robert Waldron, Poetry as Prayer: Thomas Merton
Each Friday we provide the link to the blogger-host of a weekly celebration of poetry around the blogosphere. Enjoy the festivities!
Homepage of the George Hail Free Library in Warren, Rhode Island
More than eight years ago, I began emailing a different poem every morning to my friends and friends of my friends.
I’m a freelance editor. In June, 2003, I was working with a graduate student who was having problems with writer’s block. His sentences had become stiff, stuck in academic jargon. I suggested he read poetry for inspiration and to get a feel for the rhythm of language, and I offered to provide him with a poem every day. It worked.
That was more than 2500 different poems ago, allowing for some repetitions around Christmas and Easter.
The original reader has been joined by more than two hundred others on my list, and now, by the readers of this blog, which I started at the invitation of the local public library in March, 2010.
As you follow this blog, you may note from time to time a trace of a Canadian accent. I spent much of my childhood in the wind-swept prairie city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. This is located north of North Dakota, where the wind chill factor in the depths of winter can push the thermometer down to 40 degrees below Fahrenheit/Centigrade, and there are really only two seasons, winter and mosquitoes. You won't be surprised, then, by my bemused attitude toward ice, snow, cold, and the tundra.
THERE ARE THREE WAYS YOU CAN FIND POEMS POSTED ON THIS BLOG.
1. Scroll up this column to the search this blog feature and type in word(s) from the title or poem or the name of the author.
2. Scroll down to the blog archives and click on the name of a month. The themes of each month are listed directly below here.
3. Or scroll down farther to the index to look for names of artists and authors.
Each month it's a different theme.
In March, 2010, when this blog began, the poems were chosen at random, with no special topic in mind.
In April, 2010, the poems celebrated National Poetry Month. They answered the questions, What is poetry all about? and Why not just stick with prose?
In the merry month of May, 2010, the poems "sang of brooks, of blossoms, birds and bowers."
In June, 2010, the poems spoke of love, love, and love.
In July, 2010, the poems celebrated the spirit of America.
In August, 2010, the poems pointed to the joys of summer.
In September, 2010, the poems paused for some autumnal reflections.
In October, 2010, the poems looked at ekphrasis, the special kinship between poets and painters.
In November, 2010, the poems contemplated the "old drama" that occurs every year this month.
In December, 2010, the poems rejoiced in the season for giving.
In January, 2011, the poems listened in the snow, taking heed of the silence.
In February, 2011, the poems dropped in on childhood.
In March, 2011, the poems anticipated the arrival of spring.
In April, 2011, it was time again for the annual celebration of National Poetry Month. The selections featured poems by American poets laureate.
In May, 2011, we continued with the remaining American poets laureate and went on to some of the great poets who have held this post in Britain.
In June, 2011, we began to look at the different forms of love, featuring Storge, or family affection.
In July, 2011, we continued to look at love, in particular, Philia or friendship.
In August, 2011, we were still looking at poems about friendship before we went on to Eros, or romantic love.
In September, 2011, we continued to study poems about Eros, or romantic love.
In October, 2011, we were still looking at Eros, or romantic love.
In November, 2011, we looked at Agape, or charity, as we concluded the study of love we began in June.
December, 2011, featured the sonnet, the form of poetry named after the Italian sonetto, or "little sound" or "song."
In January, 2012, we looked at ars poetica, or the art of poetry.
In February, 2012, we paused for some quiet contemplation, guided by poetry.
This month, March, 2012, we continue our contemplations.
"This way, this way, seek delight," as the poet said.
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