National Poetry Month
Come April, the Camden Public Library is a particularly wonderful place to be, when the crocuses start popping up in the Brick Garden and the wash of color starts to surround the building. There's still plenty of reason to step inside, though, as we celebrate National Poetry Month, sharing some of the beautiful and provocative poems on our shelves and from further afield. We'll also be featuring virtual poetry programs, such as a reading of Shakespeare's sonnets by Joseph Coté and a joint celebration of National Maritime Month with Seaward — An Evening of Poetry with Nick Stone, as he reads from his new lyrical memoir, Seaward.
National Poetry Month was established by the American Academy of Poets in 1996 and continues to be celebrated annually as a vibrant way to inspire an appreciation for the variety of voices and forms of sustenance that grace the poetic landscape. And fear not, Book Talk by the Sea has plenty of poetry coming your way this month! To begin, here are two poems by Rae Crossman, an Ontario-based poet who creates both print and oral poetry. His brief but thoughtful reflection on what it means for poetry to come "off the page" and alive, as articulated on his website, embraces the same kind of recognition of poetry's many values that continues to drive National Poetry Month. He shares, "The province of poetry was not just books and literary magazines. Or even poetry readings. Poems could slip out quietly at a secluded beach, or hang in the autumn mist on a hike through the forest. Poetry off the page, into the lungs, into the air. Poetry as breath, wind, spirit." And now, the poems, one to invite April back again, another to articulate something of what poetry is and can be:
(Aprilis, from the Latin aperire, to open)
it’s tough being the warm-up band
going on stage when the audience is cold
tuning up the leaves adjusting the blossom getting feedback from the crows
but we have a hell of a drummer
(if we aren’t drowned out)
and when those song bird vocals begin rising from the trees and the sun starts strutting his stuff
then the crowd goes wildflower casts off clothing lets little shoots of flesh peek out from halter tops and shorts
hands hold love lyrics hips sway to ballads
and they’re dancing in the rock gardens
someone sings into the handle of a spade someone plays a fiery guitar riff on a rake
the applause comes in wheelbarrow loads
and if the energy’s right we can really pump it up
hotter than the headliner and steal the show
- Rae Crossman
Rushing into our early morning bedroom with her under-the-pillow discovery.
My daughter’s toothless grin.
Sometimes poetry is like that: all tooth fairy no incisors.
Sometimes it’s wolf canines and snap of bone.
- Rae Crossman