Edna St. Vincent Millay, Geoffrey Chaucer, National Poetry Month, Poetry

The Month for Poetry

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote

The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote

And bathed every veyne in swich licour….

Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,

 Geoffrey Chaucer, Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

Ferries

It all started in 1995 when the Academy of American Poets brought together a group of publishers, booksellers, librarians, literary organizations, poets and teachers.  This was no ordinary conference!  The participants had one objective, to organize a month-long commemoration of poetry.   They designated April 1996 as the inaugural celebration of National Poetry Month.     Geoffrey Chaucer would be proud!  After all, April is the time for pilgrimages.  In my experience, this embodies the essence of poetry.  Poems thrust us into a remarkable journey that demands are complete involvement.

Last year, OTR Poetry Reading Program 2013 selected, “The Voice of the Poet – Five American Women” which brings together the brilliant voices of Gertrude Stein, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Louise Bogan and Muriel Rukeyser.   To celebrate this month of poetry, I want to highlight these five American Women who used poetry to define their lives and challenged us to do the same.

Edna St. Vincent Millay was a free spirit known for her bohemian lifestyle.  Her background in theatre added a dramatic flare to her poetry readings.  Recuerdo, which in Spanish means memory, is a testament to living generously, without reservation, without regret.

Reading poetry speaks to the heart.  Listening to poetry sings to the soul.

Recuerdo

Edna St. Vincent Millay

We were very tired, we were very merry—

We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.

It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—

But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,

We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;

And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon. Continue reading

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International Women's Day, Women in History

Serendipity & Coincidence

“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” 
Virginia Woolf

Journeys

Today is International Women’s Day – March 8, 2014.   I had marked the date on my calendar at the beginning of February thinking to celebrate the occasion with something special.  And then becoming involved with the busyness of life, I left the planning until too late.  These are the moments when serendipity comes to the rescue.

A few weeks ago, LaVagabonde, an amazing writer and blogger, recommended the book “Maiden Voyages: Writings of Women Travelers (Vintage Departures)” edited by Mary Morris.  I ordered the book through the public library and waited for the e-mail notification.  Today, on International Women’s Day, I signed out the book using the efficient library check-out kiosk and eagerly opened it to the introduction by Mary Morris, editor.   I don’t believe in coincidence. As soon as I read the opening paragraph, I knew I was meant to read this book:

“The late John Gardner once said that there are only two plots in all of literature.  You go on a journey or a stranger comes to town.  Since women, for so many years, were denied the journey, they were left with only one plot in their lives – to await the stranger.  Indeed, there is essentially no picaresque tradition among women novelists.  While the latter part of the twentieth century has seen a change of tendency, women’s literature from Austen to Woolf is by and large a literature about waiting, usually for love.”  Mary Morris

In the next few weeks, I will meet women who did not wait: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Willa Cather, Box-Car Bertha, Rebecca West.  These women defied the status quo, choosing the journey, forging their personal destinies. This will be an extraordinary read.  What better time to begin than on International Women’s Day.

A very special thanks to LaVagabonde.  Her blog, Wish I Were Here, shares the same adventurous spirit of the women who grace the pages of “Maiden Voyages.”

 

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Happy Birthday MLK

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” 
 Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)

Birthdays, Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr.

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Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Patch

Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.” 
Charles M. Schulz, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

I have found a very sincere pumpkin patch and am keeping watch for the Great Pumpkin.

Keep safe and think of all the candy that will be consumed today!!! Happy Halloween!

How Much Candy

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