Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day!
We continue our monthlong poetry party by sharing some of the poems that changed our lives. Staffers are printing and passing around these favorites as part of Poem in Your Pocket Day. Feel free to print and carry your favorites too (or print ours for some new ones)!
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A Few Of Our Favorite Poems By Writer’s Relief Staff
Jess likes “Sonnet XVII” by Pablo Neruda. There are countless love poems in the world, but I can’t think of any that express such deep sentiment in such simple words as this poem. Much like the love that’s being described, the execution of the writing is pure and uncomplicated, making it (at least for me) unmistakably relatable. The last two stanzas in particular give me goosebumps every time.
Jon likes “Life Is Fine” by Langston Hughes. I like to think that in the first several verses, the narrator stops himself because he feels the cold of the water and the fear of heights—and so he realizes that there are more things to feel in life than the pain and heartache that led him to those places.
Justin likes “The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot. “April is the cruellest month…” Written in 1922, “The Waste Land” was one of the most influential pieces of literature in the Modernism era. It is also said that the poem is a poetic counterpart to James Joyce’s Ulysses. In the poem, Eliot made allusions to: Homer, Sophocles, Ovid, Dante, Shakespeare, Spenser, Chaucer, Joseph Conrad—the list goes on!
Kristin likes “Inscription” by Fred Marchant. I love this poem because it knocks the wind out of me every time I read it. It’s so short and packs so much punch in each line, and the pacing is perfect. In seven little lines, he says so much. This is what I aspire to in every poem I write.
Margaret likes “To An Athlete Dying Young” by A.E. Housman. This poem speaks of a young person dying at the height of his life and success. It reminds me of my brother who died long before his time.
Priya likes “Walking Home Across the Island” by Jack Gilbert. This was the first poem of Jack Gilbert’s I ever read, and the last line always stays with me. It also helps to know the backstory of how tumultuous his relationship with Linda Gregg was, but neither of them could leave the other for several years.
Steve likes “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein. Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends” (1974) is perhaps my earliest memory of poetry in my life (which is probably true for many other people as well). Unlike some poetry that is purely stuffy and academic, Silverstein’s work is for people of all ages. This is clearly seen in the illustrations which Shel Silverstein drew himself that accompanied many of his works. If you have never read one of Silverstein’s pieces, start with this one and keep reading until you reach the place where the sidewalk ends.
Wendy likes “Spring and Fall” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. I’ve loved this poem ever since I first encountered it many years ago while in my teens. I still adore the poem, not just for its message, but mostly for its inventive, picturesque, and resonant language. What could be more evocative than “…worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie…”?
Photo by: Susan Ujka’s Collection.