National Poetry Month | Days 1-5

This April, I’m reading one poem per day to celebrate National Poetry Month! I asked you for recommendations, compiled a list of the most promising-sounding works, and have been having great fun with this project ever since! This is the first of what will eventually be six updates, with my thoughts about the most recent five poems I’ve read in each post.

Enjoy!

4/1

Sonnet XCVIII

William Shakespeare

Ahhh this poem is just SO romantic? I knew I had to include one of Shakespeare’s sonnets in my reading list and, although I made a slight misstep in not scheduling one for HIS FREAKING BIRTHDAY ON THE 23RD, I’m really pleased with my choice. It’s a very tender, affectionate poem, with a narrator who seems just as full of love for spring as they are for the subject of their poem. I love the theme of love across the distance of space and time, too.

4/2

Said The Poet To The Analyst

Anne Sexton

This poem gave me approximately seventy-nine different feelings about writing! It’s just so… introspective? And really, really wonderful how the author talks about her relationship with the words she puts down on the page as well as the relationship she has with those who read her writing. Because I totally get that.

I was particularly drawn to the phrase “but if you should say this is something it is not” because it made me think about just how often the author’s intended meaning is completely opposite to what an analyst, critic, editor, et cetera thinks it is.

4/3

In Response to Executive Order 9066

Dwight Okita

SUPER relevant, especially considering everything that’s been in the news lately. It’s scary to think about how easily such a situation could come about again. I love that Okita chose to tell the story of Japanese-American internment camps during WWII through the eyes of a child, because that’s such a classic way to approach this kind of event, isn’t it? By telling it from the point of view of a young person.

I’m especially curious about why he decided to write from the POV of a girl, since I always like to think about how authors approach questions of gender. I definitely don’t have any answers here… I’m just brain-dumping.

Also, I need to check out the rest of Dwight Okita’s author website when I get a chance because I didn’t have time for that on the third so I am POSTING A REMINDER HERE FOR FUTURE ELIZABETH TO SEE.

4/4

Sleeping Trees

Fady Joudah

LOVED the imagery here! This poem is so quiet at times but tension-filled and almost explosive at others. Upon a second reading I noticed how this poem is structured around the members of a family: First the father, then a brother, and finally the mother. Bookended by parents with a child in the middle. I like that. I love noticing little things like that; it’s probably a result of the number of workshop classes I’ve taken where we get really into examining the nitty-gritty details an author’s craft.

4/5

The Pelican Chorus

Edward Lear

Reading this poem put such a huge smile on my face! The language used in it is so playful and fun. This poem certainly has personality… in some ways, it really reminded me of the long, silly songs found in many of Roald Dahl’s children’s books.

There’s a picture book based on this poem (as well as several of Lear’s other works) and now I need to check whether the library has a copy because I think it would be a ton of fun to read in that medium!

-~-

Have you read any of the poems mentioned here, or any by the same authors? Do you have any recommendations for further reading for me based on these works – a sort of “if you liked that, try this” thing? And how are you celebrating National Poetry Month?

P.S. In case you missed it, I also posted one of my own poems, a retelling of “Cinderella” written in an impersonation of Anne Sexton’s writing style, earlier this week. You can check it out here!

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
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One Response to National Poetry Month | Days 1-5

  1. Rachel says:

    These poems sound fascinating, I’ll have to check them out. Your poem is excellent! I enjoyed reading it.

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