It all started with this thoughtful and quietly ebullient reflection from writer Alan Heathcock:
A Poem A Day: Portable, Peaceful And Perfect
datelined December 26, 2011 on the NPR web site (but published around December 24th, I think …)
One daunting, harried morning, Heathcock paused to randomly draw a book of poetry from a shelf, and to just as randomly select and read a poem. Mary Oliver’s “Egrets” momentarily took him away from not enough sleep, from kids needing to get to school, from deadlines demanding to be met … and after that brief respite …
I closed the book, transformed, bolstered from the inside out.
From that day forward, each morning I read a poem.
A bunch of us book friends on Twitter – including Harvey Freedenberg, Jeanne Duperreault and Elizabeth Bastos – starting discussing the power of randomly selected and surprisingly resonant poetry to lift one’s spirits and put a new spin on the day. From that conversation, we agreed that we could all quite happily manage the New Year’s resolution of starting our day with a poem. We’d swiftly grab it from a bookshelf or online, as suited, and we would take the time to read, savour and contemplate, like a brief morning meditation. And then we’d share our choices with each other, using the #todayspoem Twitter hashtag.
Even before January 1st, several of us jumped in enthusiastically. The selections are diverse, whimsical, touching, haunting, prescient, eye-opening. Let me share a few of the tweets that have help to draw those of us who know about it (so far) into this exquisite shared experience:
@Perednia From Tomas Transtromer’s Prelude: “Waking up is a parachute jump from dreams.” #todayspoem
@bookgaga “Regard a tree. / Who would have better seized light’s longing?” @ErinMoure from Aturuxo Calados, Little Theatres #todayspoem
I think I’m especially in love with this tweet, because it shares an image of the poem on the page:
@Materfam #todayspoem Le Train de Midi, Stephanie Bolster
As you can see, everyone is sharing their #todayspoem experience a little differently, with an image, a link, an excerpt, whatever fits in a tweet. Each tweet is enough to spur a moment of delight or recognition or, handily favorited in Twitter, is a lovely bookmark for future poetry explorations.
The #todayspoem experience is a dual delight. You treat yourself to an energizing moment of reflection in the morning, and then you have others’ shared #todayspoem gifts to enjoy just by going to the hashtag at any time. Care to join us?