Happy World Poetry Day!

by krstaten

I admit, I didn’t know it was World Poetry Day until some of my favorite poets informed me. I thought I should spend the day writing, then–and I likely will. It’s an appropriate way to celebrate.

But for now, I want to just talk.

Poetry means a lot to me. It’s a way to understand the world when much of it doesn’t seem to make sense. It’s a way to take words, these beautiful, flawed, inadequate, limited things, and use them to convey what we might not even know how to process internally. It’s a way to bridge the gap between thought and language.

Because let’s face it, there are a lot of things we can’t express with words most of the time. I can’t tell you how I felt when my father-in-law passed away, or how it feels to sink into depression so deep I can’t bring myself to get out of bed, or what love feels like, or how a certain song makes me feel like ten years ago. I can describe those things, but not in a way that communicates real understanding.

But poetry has this way of making it happen. Of combining words in ways that don’t seem reasonable in order to convey a thought, concept, or emotion so perfectly without even really quite talking about it. Poetry is both the words themselves and the breaths between them, all manipulated into a shape both unrecognizable and intimately familiar.

Since it’s World Poetry Day, of course I’ll spend some time writing poetry of my own. But I’d also like to share some of my favorite poems that I’ve stumbled upon lately, and some I’ve known and loved for a long time. Whatever I write today can wait to be shared some other time.

The Red Portrait by Karl Kirchwey

Languages by Carl Sandburg

Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note by Amiri Baraka

Differences of Opinion by Wendy Cope

We Were Emergencies by Buddy Wakefield

Go Away by Hieu Minh Nguyen and Ollie Schminkey (Video)

God Box by Ken Arkind (Video)

Please by all means feel free to share your favorites with me. This is such an incomplete list. The full one is ever-growing and I am always eager to add to it.

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