Furry Writers' Guild Forum

April 2017: National Poetry Month

Hailstorms and tornadoes are sweeping the American Midwest and South! Something even bigger is coming! National Poetry Month!! Grab your copy of the Emergency Poetry Handbook, fill a cooler full of beer and snacks, make sure the hamsters that power your emergency electrical generator are well fed, and head on down to the Carl Sandburg Memorial Literary Storm Shelter.

National Poetry Month, which takes place each April, is a celebration of poetry introduced in 1996 and organized by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. The Academy of American Poets’ website Poets.org serves as a hub for information about local poetry events during the month. The organization also provides free educational resources to teachers for classroom celebrations and activities, and commissions an annual festival poster. Since 1998, National Poetry Month has also been celebrated each April in Canada.

Okay, it’s 2017 and I’m still not on Twitter, what the hell’s wrong with me?

Seriously, how about a #FurryPoetryMonth on Twitter? How does one go about starting such a thing?

Update: Read Twitter’s TOS, etc. I can’t imagine much benefit from maintaining an account at this time.

So, I won’t start a #FurryPoetryMonth this year, maybe next year.

You can keep an eye on https://twitter.com/hashtag/NationalPoetryMonth?src=hash

And there is this interesting pic on https://twitter.com/greerslibrary


Here is an excerpt from a book I read recently, Fooling With Words, A Celebration of Poets and Their Craft, Bill Moyers, William Morrow & Company, Inc. New York, 1999.

Bill Moyers has been in television broadcasting since the 1970’s and has produced television programs on a good variety of subjects. In this book he interviews eleven poets who participated in the 1998 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, asking them about their writing and views on poetry in general. Here is an excerpt from his interview with Mark Doty.

(chapter 4, page 59)
author and poet Mark Doty

[i]One of poetry's great powers is its preservative ability to take a moment in time and make an attempt to hold it. Yeats said a great and terrifying thing: "All that is personal soon rots unless it is packed in ice or salt." Of course the ice and salt he meant was the power of form, the preservative element of language, which can hold a moment from the past, allow us to return to it, and allow us to give it to someone else. That element allows you as a reader to enter imaginatively into the poem, be part of it yourself, and bring your losses to bear upon it--so that the poem becomes a kind of meeting ground between us. Art has that power. What the poem makes is a version of a moment, a replica, a touchstone--something to keep, and to give away. We shape a poem in order to let it go; the process of crafting the poem, of trying to get everything from line to sonic texture to each individual word just right involves standing back and gaining a greater degree of distance from what we've said. A good poem may begin in self-expression, but it ends as art, which means it isn't really for the writer anymore but for the reader who steps into and makes the experience of the poem her or his own. Therein lies the marvel: The poet's little limited life becomes larger because readers enter into it .

. . . I find great hope in that sense of connection with other people, the possibility that the worst experiences might be transformed into a place where we might meet and stand together. It happens. So often after a reading someone will come up to me, someone who has just heard a poem or read one of my books, and say, “You said how I felt.” We need that, I think, as a species; we are the creatures which represent, which long to be represented. As a reader, I am always looking to recognize my own experience in others’ work. That’s one of the things I love most about literature, coming across a passage which says what I know but have never been able to say.

That chapter about poet Mark Doty that I referenced above also included an animal themed poem. Here is his

Golden Retrievals
By Mark Doty

Fetch? Balls and sticks capture my attention
seconds at a time. Catch? I don’t think so.
Bunny, tumbling leaf, a squirrel who’s—oh
joy—actually scared. Sniff the wind, then

I’m off again: muck, pond, ditch, residue
of any thrillingly dead thing. And you?
Either you’re sunk in the past, half our walk,
thinking of what you never can bring back,

or else you’re off in some fog concerning
—tomorrow, is that what you call it? My work:
to unsnare time’s warp (and woof!), retrieving,
my haze-headed friend, you. This shining bark,

a Zen master’s bronzy gong, calls you here,
entirely, now: bow-wow, bow-wow, bow-wow.

I really enjoyed this poem! Thank you for sharing it! I’ll have to check out more of Doty’s work. :slight_smile: