National Poetry Month | Days 6-10

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 second of six updates, with my thoughts about the most recent five poems I’ve read in each post. You can find my earlier posts for National Poetry Month here.

Enjoy!

4/6

The Difference Between Pepsi and Coke

David Lehman

I have to second the opinion of Mahima @ The Controversies, who recommended not only this poem but nineteen (!!!) more and said it was about dearly loving “someone who is so far from perfect.” That is absolutely what it is about, and for that reason it really stuck in my mind because we all know someone like that. In fact, I would go so far as to say that everyone we love, ourselves included, is so far from perfect. So… yeah. It was very relatable and good.

4/7

The Nutritionist

Andrea Gibson

HOLY SHIT WELL NOW I KNOW WHOSE POETRY I NEED TO READ LOTS MORE OF ASAP. I read this while eating breakfast, which was probably a bad idea, because I ended up sitting in the middle of the dining hall trying not to cry. Gibson’s use of language is so powerful, and the subject of suicide is deeply personal to me. My IRL friend Ellen recommended this to me and I thanked her approximately 23957238235 times because ahhh it was amazing.

I also watched their spoken word performance of the poem, just to shake up my poetry-bingeing routine, and it was equally good. Check it out if you’d like!

4/8

When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be

John Keats

The language! The imagery! Those relatable feelings of dying at an early age! OK, maybe that last me is just me. This poem was utterly gorgeous, though, and very sad. One I’d definitely like to try committing to memory.

4/9

The Rememberings

Topaz Winters

This was beautiful in both its sadness and its hopefulness! I’d heard a lot about the collection this poem is from, Heaven or This, and knew that Topaz has written a lot about what it’s like to be a girl who loves girls, so I was really looking forward to this poem. It critiques the way girls like us are portrayed in the media, which is something I have also written about quite passionately. Can’t wait to read the rest of her book!

4/10

Around Unmun Temple at Ch’Eongdo

Ko Un

What a quiet little poem about… loneliness? Impatience? I have to admit that I don’t have as many excited flail-y reactions for you here as I did for all the poems above, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. Four astonishingly amazing poems and one merely excellent one is still quite the enjoyable reading streak!

-~-

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 reviewed my friend Kate I. Foley’s debut poetry collection earlier this week! You can read my thoughts on Instructions For Flight 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 6-10

  1. Mahima says:

    Yeah I felt puzzled about Unmun Temple as well. But somehow it stuck with me.

    The Nutritionist nearly made me cry as well. The dandelion part, and the idea of being out of your skin and having someone (or several someones) trying to put you back in your skin really resonated with me. The idea that grief is communal, and that we’re all telling each other to live is poignant. And given the pain of living, a little sinister or hopeful depending on the mood you’re in.

    I’ve only read two poems by Keats, this one, and his Ode to a Nightingale. Both are gorgeous but this one, too, resonated with me. Partly comes with being so ambitious, and then having that ambitious feeling plummet straight down into fears that one might cease to be. The idea that when he gets like this he thinks and thinks about love and fame until they turn into nothingness, I think that’s excellent and really reminds me of a poem by Rabindranath Tagore (he was a 20th century Bengali poet) called ‘Ocean of Forms’.

    I dive down into the depth of the ocean of forms,
    hoping to gain the perfect pearl of the formless.

    No more sailing from harbour to harbour with this my weather-beaten boat.
    The days are long passed when my sport was to be tossed on waves.

    And now I am eager to die into the deathless.

    Into the audience hall by the fathomless abyss
    where swells up the music of toneless strings
    I shall take this harp of my life.

    I shall tune it to the notes of forever,
    and when it has sobbed out its last utterance,
    lay down my silent harp at the feet of the silent.

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