DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

National Poetry Month

npm2013_logoSo tax day came and went and I hadn’t even given a thought to the fact that April (in addition to being National freakout about W2s Month) is also National Poetry Month. I’ve written more seriously about NPM before (here and here), but this year I wanted to loosen up a bit and share a few fun/funny experiments with you.

A coworker sent me a link to Times Haiku, a site which collects serendipitous poetry from The New York Times. As you may remember from gradeschool, the basic definition of a haiku is 5/7/5. Syllables, that is (though if you want to get all technical, the Japanese have other requirements, and the syllable count isn’t exactly accurate nor that important in modern day haikus). Anyway, the website finds sentences in The New York Times that conform to this 5/7/5 structure and posts them. Some are even surprisingly poetic:

Optimism fills
their lives, though there are degrees
of optimism.

If you’re interested in learning and reading more about haikus, check out this slim volume of traditional Japanese haikus: Cricket Songs. Here’s one I like from that book.

Broken and broken
again on the sea, the moon
so easily mends.

Speaking of serendipitous poems, Pentametron is a website that generates sonnets taken from random Twitter feeds. It uses a computer algorithm to find tweets that conform to the iambic pentameter line. Then it lines up 14 of these tweets in a row so that they rhyme. The result is often quite nonsensical, interesting, and every once in a while, even poetic. See for yourself:

Selena Gomez has a pretty face
Another day, Another paper chase!
Just seen the biggest fattest bumble bee ☺
Ya allah, ada ada aja si (˘̩̩̩⌣˘̩̩̩)

Did you appreciate yourself today?
replay replay replay replay replay
Pray always, lazy never ever do.. :P
Another day, another interview!

@Fly_kidd_11 kindly follow back
Another sleepless night! #Insomniac
I couldn’t even stand a while ago. “/
I’m not a very social person though.

Im salter then a Lays potato ship
I’m itching for another Cali trip…..

Hmm… not Shakespeare, but I guess it will do. If you’re in the mood for poetry in April, check out these poetry events at the library.


Mar 28 2011

Roses are red…

by Greg H

I always had a guilty secret during my years as a college English major:  I was never a big fan of poetry. I always felt that too many poems were top-heavy with personal imagery and minute, intimate details that must have meant everything to the poet; I, however, was frequently thwarted.  I also believe, however, that there is a poem out there for everyone.  I myself have stumbled onto poems whose meaning simply opened up for me and then I felt as though I’d just been given a small treasure. But how do we find our treasure of a poem if we don’t regularly read poetry? Well, the month of April is National Poetry Month and a perfect time for us to read outside of our comfort zones.  The following titles, available through the DeKalb County Public Library, may help even the most infrequent poetry reader find his or her special poem.

Poems to Read: A New Favorite Poem Anthology, edited by Robert Pinsky.

An Invitation to Poetry: A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology, edited by Robert Pinsky

Good Poems/Selected and Introduced by Garrison Keillor

By the way, my favorite poem is Anthony Hecht’s The End of the Weekend. What’s yours?


Mar 23 2011

A poem for your pocket

by Dea Anne M

April 1st will mark the beginning of National Poetry Month. Past celebrations have included The Free Verse Project and the National Poetry Map (check out Georgia!). The celebration for 2011 will include a national Poem In Your Pocket day.  The idea is that on April 14th, you will carry a poem that you love with you all day to share with friends, co-workers, and others.

What are your favorite poems. Who is your favorite poet? I’ve known people who have told me that they don’t read poetry because they think it’s “too serious,” but poetry can actually be quite entertaining. Not only that, poetry is written on a variety of unusual topics and themes.

Do you like oysters? Check out “Oysters” by Seamus Haney in Selected Poems, 1966-1987. Of course, you won’t soon forget about the giddy young oysters in “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll which is included in The Annotated Alice: Alice’s adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

Are you a horse lover? Don’t miss “The Name of Horses” by Donald Hall included in Old and New Poems, or any of the poems about horses included in Herds of Thunder, Manes of Gold compiled by Bruce Coville.

Do you experience the occasional sleepless night? Next time that happens, try reading “Insomnia” by Elizabeth Bishop which is included in The Complete Poems, 1927-1979. For the younger set (and those of us who think that way) , don’t miss “I’m Tortured by Insomnia” which is part of Jack Prelutsky’s fun collection It’s Raining Pigs and Noodles.

And finally there are poems about…pockets! These include “Pockets” by Howard Nemerov included in The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov and “A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes” by Elizabeth Garton Scanlon included in her collection by that same title.

So do something different, and fun, next month and pick up some poetry at DCPL!