Finally the long weekend is over. I’m getting prepared to record a poem for this Sunday, day 13 of Poetry Month, but while I get that ready, I wanted to share a few more words from a poet I wish I had been reading more of over the years. Naomi Shihab Nye is officially a new favorite of mine. Here are first two poems she read at the 2008 Dodge Poetry Festival. The first one really gets to me. I wish it had been broadcast on every news channel during that disgusting war. “Dear Sharif, Violence is wrong, unless we are using it. Why doesn’t this make sense?” You might also be interested in this letter she wrote sometime after 9/11.
The second poem is a lovely response to those awful bumper stickers that said “Charleston Heston is my President.” Look up Ted Kooser, a gentle former Poet Laureate of the United States, and writer of the column, “American Life in Poetry.”
The second video is a bit about just what poetry, what art can do by being a reminder that we are all human, and that we have much more in common than we have to separate us. That’s honestly what I hate most about certain contemporary poetry; for many it has become a word game devoid of the personal. In the fear perhaps of seeming too overly emotional, emotion has been abandoned entirely, as if intellect alone were enough to create art. Art needs emotion and intellect, the whole package of what it means to be human. It should not be simply an exercise in artifice, devoid of soul and kept at arm’s length from the heart. Art is more than decoration and intellectual muscle flexing. As Naomi says, poetry, and I would even say art itself is ultimately about love, even if it is screaming in anger, or crying in pain. I know. I know, I’m starting to sound preachy. Someone has a pet peeve, doesn’t he?
And finally, a few words from Naomi about inspiration. That should be enough to keep you busy while I pour myself a drink and figure out which poet’s words I will be recording tonight. Enjoy!
- David Reads “The Shape of Mouths at Parties,” by Naomi Shihab Nye (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- Poem of the Week: Wedding Cake by Naomi Shihab Nye (condofire.com)
- Poetry Wednesday: Poetry Everywhere (wessonblog.wordpress.com)
- The Art Of Disappearing (superaalifragilistic.wordpress.com)
- A few resources for National Poetry Month (rethinkingschoolsblog.wordpress.com)