Sunday, April 10, 2011

Events | Celebrating National Poetry Month

According to an essay by David Orr (“O! Poetry,” The New York Times Book Review, March 17, 2011), “ …poetry can’t approach mass culture with any sense of swagger.” Orr was referring to the April 2011 issue of The Oprah Magazine: “Spring Fashion Modeled by Rising Young Poets.”

Most poets, however, don’t have to worry about outfits or about how to extend poetry beyond the literary culture so that it reaches Everyman - because there is National Poetry Month to bring poetry home, at least in April, all springing buds being equal.

National Poetry Month is a movement begun in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets. Its mission is to foster an appreciation of poetry within the popular culture, and the Academy advocates ways in which this may be done: put a poem in your pocket, chalk a poem on the sidewalk, attend a poetry reading or festival, enclose a poem with your letter, memorize or recite a poem, and, of course, buy poetry books and poetry broadsides.

To become acquainted with broadsides, for example, you may wish to view “Seduction,” the first series of four broadsides, wrought as a collaborative effort between poet Irene Mitchell, and artist Daniela Bertol.

There is also that increasingly captivating aspect of poetry, its connection to the visual, or “visual poetry.” You are invited to view excerpts from the visual poem, “Venice of the Mind.” The the video is by Daniela Bertol, the text by Irene Mitchell.

Irene Mitchell