… or 147 poets in 184 days (or so) …
Did I have any idea I’d be this far along a journey through poetry when a bunch of us bookish Twitter friends had the first #todayspoem discussion back in late 2011? What I did know is that I felt very committed from the outset to giving it a concerted try. I would do my best to read and share via Twitter every single day an excerpt from a poem to which I’d given some consideration and reflection. So far, so good. I was still enthusiastic when I checked in after two months, and six months in, I’m still interested, motivated, intrigued, jazzed … and have yet to miss a day.
What I didn’t know when I sent my first #todayspoem tweet on December 25, 2011 was where my poetry explorations would take me. What I also didn’t realize is how many others would be along for the adventure, and how their contributions, comments and insights would send me off on new side trips along the way.
Overall, the exercise (which has never felt like an exercise, actually) has compelled me to revisit and go deeper in my own library. It has also inspired me to go further afield in print and online, with poets with whom I was already familiar, but also very excitingly with poets old and new I was encountering for the first time.
And what of the daily poetry excerpts and selections themselves – my own and those of other #todayspoem contributors? Well, every day is a fresh intersection with where I am and how I’m feeling and what that day’s poem provokes, evinces or confirms. Not a day goes by that those simple tweets and where they lead have amused, amazed, surprised, touched, agitated, intrigued and more. Try it for yourself.
So, without (much) further ado, here is a list of the poets whose work I’ve read and incorporated in #todayspoem tweets since December 25, 2011. For each name, I’m going to link to a biography, article, interview, review or some other resource that might inspire you to go off on a few poetry side trips yourself. Thank you to the poets, publishers, #todayspoem contributors and poetry lovers in general who have filled and enriched the first six months of this venture, and are likely to help me turn this into a lifelong habit.
“How often I look back the dew undisturbed and the moss – “
for the moment my footprints
fade from sight
Emily McGiffin, As Air from Between Dusk and Night (2012, Brick Books)
would have been
out of place;
wanted to be different.”
Irving Layton, The Laughing Rooster (1964, McClelland and Stewart)
“The paper’s still empty, the poem unwritten.
You would have done better to have talked to your mother.”
PK Page, How to Write a Poem from Coal and Roses (2009, Porcupines Quill)
“For he is tenacious of his point.
For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.”
Christopher Smart, from Jubilate Agno (written 1759-1763)
“Kevin Costner stayed in this hotel
Babe Ruth and Calvin Coolidge too
This is a sacred place”
August Kleinzahler, Sleeping It Off in Rapid City (2008, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
“I started spelling my name backwards,
retreating from the space a name makes.”
Rosemary Sullivan, Sisters from The Space a Name Makes (1986, Black Moss Press)
“and the wind began to blow and all the trees began to bend
and the world in its cold way started coming alive.”
John Darnielle, Woke Up New from Get Lonely (2006)
“It’s the spot where the dogs
always stop overlong, then look at me as if to say,
Explain this, please.”
Chase Twichell, The Park From Above (2012, Plume Poetry)
“And when Peace here does house
He comes with work to do, he does not come to coo,
He comes to brood and sit.”
Gerard Manley Hopkins, Peace from Poems (1918)
“It was the last conversation I ever had with her.
I told her I liked baseball, to make her happy.”
Dave McGimpsey, What Was That Poem? (2011, Walrus Magazine)
“Outside there are sirens.
Someone’s been run over.
The century grinds on.”
Margaret Atwood, Secular Night from Morning in the Burned House (1995, McClelland and Stewart)