“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach, when feeling out of sight…” Lines made famous by poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861).
It’s National Poetry Month. We’re celebrating poetry this week on red Ravine. Are you carrying your pocket poetry? Read all the details at Got Poetry? (National Poem In Your Pocket Day). Revel in the reactions of family, coworkers, and friends when you read your pocket poem. Share lines of poetry by business card, email, or voicemail.
Looking for more ways to celebrate poetry? Check out ybonesy’s poem and doodle, Sunday. Write a haiku and drop it into our haiku (one-a-day) post. Or read about Ted Kooser’s American Life In Poetry Project.
In honor of National Poetry Month and National Poem In Your Pocket Day, red Ravine is posting two columns (over the course of the day) that we received by email as part of the American Life In Poetry Project.
And please, don’t stop the poetry train after National Poetry Month. The best way to celebrate poetry is to read the work of poets and writers every day.
American Life in Poetry: Column 159
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006
Bad news all too often arrives with a ringing telephone, all too early in the morning. But sometimes it comes with less emphasis, by regular mail. Here Allan Peterson of Florida gets at the feelings of receiving bad news by letter, not by directly stating how he feels but by suddenly noticing the world that surrounds the moment when that news arrives.
by Allan Peterson
To have that letter arrive
was like the mist that took a meadow
and revealed hundreds
of small webs once invisible
The inevitable often
stands by plainly but unnoticed
till it hands you a letter
that says death and you notice
the weed field had been
readying its many damp handkerchiefs
American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Poem copyright (c) 2007 by Allan Peterson, whose most recent book of poetry is “All the Lavish in Common,” U. of Mass. Pr., 2005, winner of the Juniper Prize. Reprinted from “The Chattahoochee Review,” Winter 2007, V. 27, no. 2, by permission of the author.
Introduction copyright (c) 2008 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.
American Life in Poetry provides newspapers and online publications with a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems. The sole mission of this project is to promote poetry: American Life in Poetry seeks to create a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture.
There are no costs for reprinting the columns; we do require that you register your publication at http://www.americanlifeinpoetry.org and that the text of the column be reproduced without alteration. For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.
-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, April 17th, 2007, in honor of National Poetry Month and National Poem In Your Pocket Day