I never had the opportunity to meet Ire’ne Lara Silva in person, but her poetry is wonderful. Her words carry so much weight, heavy with her message. I have chosen this poem – “You Love A River” – because it seems that the area has been receiving extra attention these last months. National news, of course, only seems to cover these border towns when the GOP wants to pretend they care about the dire situation of “undocumented children.” Or when they want to erect a wall to poison the beauty of the Rio Grande.
So please listen to the twelfth poem I have chosen for National Poetry Month.
Often times, I wonder how much truth I put out there into the world. Truth that I allow strangers to read. Truth that my dearest friends may or may not know. How honest am I when I write these fictions? When I recount my tales to coworkers about a life that seems to belong to someone else entirely?
As writers – as humans – we often like to recall the stories of our triumphs. Rarely do we engage in the tales of our follies. We don’t share the embarrassing rejections, but we share the meet cutes that lead to our love stories. When we do share the stories of rejections, they’re used to highlight our successes. How never giving up led us to where we stand now.
In his poem, Vijay Seshadri talks about the stories we don’t tell by recounting his humiliations. So for the eleventh poem, I have chosen “Memoir” by Vijay Seshadri. Please enjoy.
Last year – and a time before that – I posted “Ohm” during my National Poetry Month celebration. And there will come a day – probably – that I will again post the Saul Williams poem. Today, of course, is not the day.
This year I chose to include Saul Williams in my National Poetry Month celebration. Because, like Andrea Gibson, his words resonates loudly in the world I live.
For the tenth poem, I present to you “Said the Shotgun to the Head.” Please enjoy.
I first read The World Doesn’t End by Charles Simic in college, but I carried that one book throughout the rest of my life. I often refer to it whenever I find myself in a rut for reasons I struggle to explain. So I hope that his words have as much of an effect on you as they do for me.
For the ninth poem, I have chosen “Stone” by Charles Simic. Please enjoy.
After he passed away, I wrote my father a letter. In all the years we spent estranged, I never once bothered to write him anything. There were things I wrote about him, but they were never meant to be dedicated to him. Every so often, I write him another letter. It feels like life after my father is much life during his time on this planet. There are times when it slips my memory that he’s gone, because he was always gone. It’s just it was never this permanent.
I’ve read anything by Richard Wilbur until I forced myself out of my poetic comfort zone. However, once I read his works, I noticed his ability to paint a portrait with just his words. And this is something that I grew fond of with poetry. Before I picked a pen and wrote my first poem, the ones I read were filled with so much imagery. And I wanted nothing more than to be able to create these spaces, these worlds, with my words. Something I still struggle with to this day.
So I continued to browse his works – the ones available online that is. And it was this poem stuck out, because it reminded me of a different poem, one that took inspiration from Richard Wilbur’s “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World.” We’ll see that particular poem tomorrow. But for now, please enjoy the seventh poem I have chosen to celebrate National Poetry Month.