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
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.
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