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Poetry Is Meant to Be Shared

April 9th, 2012
Galina · Staff Recommendations

April is National Poetry Month. Libraries and poems share something in common. Both offer worlds of discovery that challenge us to view our lives from a different perspective.

Poetry is meant to be shared. I’d like to share some poems and public performances that have touched me deeply:

Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter…

The 23-year-old spoken-word poet’s 2011 TED talk inspired two standing ovations. Sarah is young, talented, and has a true gift for language. She is the founder of Project V.O.I.C.E. Check Sarah’s Spoken Word Poetry Playlist!

In the Library by Charles Simic

Charles Simic was appointed America’s Poet Laureate for 2007-8. He received the Pulitzer Prize for The World Doesn’t End, and has published more than 60 books in the U.S. and abroad.

Library catalog

Natalie Merchant sings old poems to life

Natalie Merchant sings from her new album, Leave Your Sleep. Lyrics from near-forgotten 19th-century poetry pair with her unmistakable voice for a performance that brought the TED audience to its feet. Such the magical power of words and music!

Library catalog

Suheir Hammad: Poems of war, peace, women, power

In her poems and plays, Suheir Hammad blends the stories and sounds of her Palestinian-American heritage with the vibrant language of Brooklyn to create a passionately modern voice. It’s powerful, beautiful and emotional poetry.

Library catalog

America, America by Saadi Youssef

"God save America
          My home sweet home!
I too love jeans and jazz and Treasure Island
and Long John Silver's parrot and the terraces of New Orleans
I love Mark Twain and the Mississippi steamboats and Abraham Lincoln's
I love the fields of wheat and corn and the smell of Virginia tobacco.
But I am not American..."

It gave me goose bumps as I read it for the first time! You should read this poem out loud.

Library catalog

Telephone Booth #905 1/2 by Pedro Pietri

Woke up this morning
      feeling excellent,
      picked up the telephone
      dialed the number of my
      equal opportunity employer
      to inform him I will not
      be in to work today.
      "Are you feeling sick?"
      the boss asked me
      "no sir," I replied:
      "I am feeling too good
      to report to work today.
      if I feel sick tomorrow
      I will come in early!"

Library catalog

Enjoy, and happy National Poetry Month!

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