Poetry Month

There is a rare and particular pleasure that arrives each April in your email inbox, if you so desire: A poem a day, for 30 days. And if you wish, you can receive two!

April is National Poetry Month, and two entities will send you a poem every day if you subscribe. One is Knopf Poetry, and you can sign up here; the other comes from the American Academy of Poets, and although it’s highlighted in April, their Poem A Day service runs all year long. They also have a lot of other suggestions about how to celebrate National Poetry Month, so if you wish to immerse yourself in language, take some of their suggestions.

From one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, who just passed away in January:


Every summer I gather a few stones from
the beach and keep them in a glass bowl.
Now and again I cover them with water,
and they drink. There’s no question about
this; I put tinfoil over the bowl, tightly,
yet the water disappears. This doesn’t
wetstonesmean we ever have a conversation, or that
they have the kind of feelings we do, yet
it might mean something. Whatever the
stones are, they don’t lie in the water
and do nothing.

Some of my friends refuse to believe it
happens, even though they’ve seen it. But
a few others—I’ve seen them walking down
the beach holding a few stones, and they
look at them rather more closely now.
Once in a while, I swear, I’ve even heard
one or two of them saying “Hello.”
Which, I think, does no harm to anyone or
anything, does it?

Milk, poetry, bedside table


In my view, books should be brought to the doorstep like electricity, or like milk in England: They should be considered utilities, and their cost should be appropriately minimal. Barring that, poetry could be sold in drugstores (not least because it might reduce the bill from your shrink). At the very least, an anthology of American literature should be found in the drawer of every room in every motel in the land, next to the Bible, which will surely not object to this proximity, since it does not object to the proximity of the phone book.

—Joseph Brodsky, “An Immodest Proposal”

books in bedroom

It’s the person…

“The object we call a book is not the real book, but its potential, like a musical score or seed. It exists fully only in the act of being read; and its real home is inside the head of the reader, where the symphony resides, the seed germinates. A book is a heart that beats only in the chest of another.”

—Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby (2013)

One for the holidays

As she says…although we readers like people perfectly well, there comes a point…

“It’s not that I don’t like people. It’s just that when I’m in the company of others—even my nearest and dearest—there always comes a moment when I’d rather be reading a book.”

—Maureen Corrigan, author
Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books

from the Book Adept!

“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

Cosmos, Part 11: The Persistence of Memory, by Carl Sagan