National Poetry Month | Days 16-20

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 fourth 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.




Warshan Shire

A beautifully written musing on war, diaspora, and heritage. Definitely a new favorite! I asked the library to buy a copy of Teaching My My Mother How To Give Birth, the book this poem is from… and they did, but their copy hasn’t arrived yet which just makes me even more anxious to read more of Shire’s poetry!


Domestic Violence

Eavan Boland

Although I read this earlier in the week and have had plenty of time to think about it, I still can’t quite put my finger on what I liked about this poem. I do know that someday I would like to try writing in this style! And that ending, wow. Just wow.


Taking Aim At A Macy’s Changing Room Mirror, I Blame Television

Marcus Wicker

Absolutely amazing commentary on race! It actually references some of the things we’ve been discussing THIS WEEK in my Black Fiction Now class. Like, if I’d read this a few months ago before learning about what, say, double consciousness is, it would have affected me differently because I would have been confused as to what the author was talking about.


My Sad Captains

Thom Gunn

I definitely have to think about this one some more, too! The writing and imagery were gorgeous, even if I didn’t totally understand what was going on at first. I had never heard of this author up until now but I know I’ll have to seek out more of his work.


The Golden Shovel

Terrance Hayes


As I read this, it kept reminding me of “We Real Cool,” a Gwendolyn Brooks poem I have fond memories of studying in a writing workshop my freshman year. Ten minutes and some googling later, I discovered that Hayes created an entirely new form, called the Golden Shovel, with this poem: The final word of each line is taken from “We Real Cool” and his poetic experimentation has led to numerous other people creating their own versions based on other Brooks poems. EEEEE I’M SUCH AN EXCITED ENGLISH MAJOR RIGHT NOW YOU DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND.


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?

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