Friday, April 10, 2009

It's National Poetry Month! -- Readings/Workshops/Travels

April is National Poetry Month and there is good stuff galore. Here's what I have going on for the next few weeks:

There will be several National Poetry Month readings at Pretlow Library in April. I'll be reading at my favorite Norfolk library on Monday, 4/13, at 6:00 PM. I'll read some from Conversion and give the folks a taste of the new work. Please come out if you're in town! Contact info. for the reading coordinator, Ms. Abraham, is below:

Trinika Abraham
Library Assistant II
Mary D. Pretlow Anchor Branch Library
111 W. Ocean View Ave
Norfolk, Va 23503

Next week, I'll be doing my part to make the wide world of academics think about poetry in new ways. At the ACTC Conference in Memphis, I'll be delivering a paper on Natasha Trethewey and highlighting poems from Domestic Work, Bellocq's Ophelia and Native Guard. The panel title alone should pique your interest--Poets and Poetry as the Core of America’s Future Memory--but we'll get deep into the reclamation and investigation of images in my paper, “Reclaiming Memory, Inventing History: Barthe’s Punctum in the Poetry of Natasha Trethewey.”

When I return I'll be hosting an Open Mic for the NSU Spartans (details to come) as well as continuing my Teen Poetry Workshop. We've done historical biographies, collage poetry, odes and we'll keep the words flowing for a few more sessions. Even if you're not a teen, you can come out to support poetry and pen some new verses with us. Here are the particulars:

WHAT: Teen Poetry Workshop -- Verse Biographies/Charting Our Own History
Activity Summary: For ages, poetry has been used as a means of charting our history in the world. It is a fast-paced art that pays attention to the minute details of our lives as well as the universality of human emotion. In this workshop, participants will engage in writing exercises that help generate poems that will tell their own stories and, ultimately, will become autobiographies in verse. No prior writing experience is needed. Students should, however, come prepared to write at each workshop and possibly share their work with others.
WHEN: Monday, 4/27, from 4:30 - 6:00
WHERE: Mary D. Pretlow Anchor Branch Library
111 W. Ocean View Ave.
441-1750 ext 323 or 324

Many fellow poets are engaging in a '30 Poems in 30 Days' project this month, I couldn't pull that off because I have so many other things going on. Even so, I'm enjoying reading the poems and have been going back to some of the greats to help my muse get her mojo going. Here is a beautiful poem that inspired me from Mary Oliver's New and Selected Poems: Volume One. I hope it inspires you too:


You can
die for it--
an idea,
or the world. People

have done so,
their small bodies be bound

to the stake,
an unforgettable
fury of light. But

this morning,
climbing the familiar hills
in the familiar
fabric of dawn, I thought

of China,
and India
and Europe, and I thought
how the sun

for everyone just
so joyfully
as it rises

under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many!
What is my name?

What is the name
of the deep breath I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call it

whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter

--Mary Oliver