Farewell Cruellest Month! National Poetry Month Ends at 5Writers.com

WOW! What a month!

We’ve made it, sadly, to the end of yet another fantastic National Poetry Month at 5Writers.com. I think it’s been tremendous! We heard how poetry has contributed to the work of screenwriters, essayists, and novelists, and we were gifted with a glimpse into life on the page for two poets in love. Last night, I celebrated by wrapping up my public reign as Poet Laureate of Erie County, Pennsylvania when I awarded over $1400 in prize money to local high school poets. Today, I close things out here with a rerun of my post that kicked off the month, and the complete set of 30 poems I’ve chosen to celebrate 2014.

A big thank you to my fellow 5Writers for letting me take the lead on this month, for sharing their appreciation of poetry, and for inviting me to be one of them. I also want to thank you for reading. I hope these poems I’ve given you here are works you’ve appreciated or hated, found to be profound or puzzling, or, at the very least, provided you with a few moments of well-deserved distraction. As I’ve said, these are poems I love from some people I love, or admire, or hope one day to emulate. Poems like “Persimmons” and “Herbert White” and “The Waste Land” are easy to love, certainly, but some of the others I’ve included here aren’t so well known. I hope you love them nonetheless. Happy National Poetry Month, everyone!

by Ron Hayes

In the immortal words of one of my personal faves (and, clearly, MY miglior fabbro):

Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu,
Mein Irisch kind,
Wo Weilest du?

And it’s true. Fresh winds are blowing. The cruellest month is upon us. And here we are again, one year later, one year older and, by the time this posts, a few days into National Poetry Month 2014. People are asking, in their own way, “Where are you now, mein Irisch kind?” Well, here’s where I am: too freaking busy to write a new poem every bloody day.

Much as NaNoWriMo is celebrated each November, April compels many of us to honor our annual 30-day celebration of Poetry by penning a new poem for each new day in April, and, indeed, I fell to in just such a way last year. I was very proud not only to write a new poem for every day of April 2013, but also a 250-word flash fiction piece (to meet a challenge posed by a friend on Facebook). It was truly a month of glorious cruelty.

But Life (you know, that which happens to you while you’re making other plans) has interceded on the writer yet again. Another mea culpa: I’m not celebrating the same way as I did in 2013. I just don’t have it in me again yet.

Instead, I think I have a better idea in mind for you.

Rather than throw my own words at you this year, I’m taking a different route–the teacher tack. In the chart at the end of this post, 30 poems for 30 days—new and old works that I love and that I’d love you to know about. These are poems from all over and poems of all ages, but, more likely than not, poems you’ve never really heard of from poets you probably don’t know much about. Certainly there will be a handful of poems or so that you’ll readily find in The Massive (Probably Norton) Poetry 101 Anthology Of Your Choice, but only a few—just enough to keep us honest.

My plan is to release them to you five at a time over the course of the month (which means you can check in once a week or just wait for a few weeks and catch them all at one time. Your choice…) On the 30th, I’ll be back. In the meantime, I hope a couple of you will chime in with a comment here and there to share your thoughts and/or experiences with these poems. As most teachers will tell you, writing well begins with reading well. I’m confident you’ll enjoy most all of these poems first, but more importantly, I hope maybe you’ll LEARN something from these 30 poems as well.

So there it is. My challenge to you: READ each of these poems over the next thirty days. Read them actively. Roll them around on your tongue and let them wash over your skin. Nose around each poem’s nooks and crannies and poke your fingers into their dark spots. Listen close for all the wisdom whiffling through and see if maybe one or two doesn’t change you a little bit. Or maybe a lot. I wouldn’t be surprised. That is what a good poem can do after all…

One Two Three Four Five
Six Seven Eight Nine Ten
Eleven Twelve Thirteen Fourteen Fifteen
Sixteen Seventeen Eighteen Nineteen Twenty
Twenty-one Twenty-two Twenty-three Twenty-four Twenty-five
Twenty-six Twenty-seven Twenty-eight Twenty-nine Fin
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