Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Poem Time: The Magic of Words

by Patrick J. Walsh

For those who know me primarily from my books or journalism or videos, it might come as something of a surprise to find out that I'm also an avid poet.

Then again, if you ever heard me lecture about literature or dug around in the archives at my undergrad alma mater, my fascination with poets and poetics will probably make perfect sense.

And for poets, spring is a special time of year -- and not just because of all those blooming flowers and similarly inspiring symbols of the ethereal dimensions of life.

It's also the setting for National Poetry Month, which each April focuses attention on the art of poetry and its significance to our culture and history.

Founded in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, the National Poetry Month event inspires many individual celebrations across the country, and acts as a sort of yearly punctuation mark in the ongoing process of growing as a writer and reader of poetry.

In my particular case, the past two National Poetry Month celebrations have meant participating in the "Poem-A-Day Challenge" led by Robert Lee Brewer at his blog, Poetic Asides.

The challenge format provides poets with a  prompt each day as a starting point for molding a new poem. And while it can be a bit daunting to commit to writing a new poem every day for a month, it's also a great way to quickly generate a sizable lot of new drafts, which can then be hammered into finished work as time and circumstance permit.

Whether you're writing or reading, as part of the national celebration or just for your own pleasure, I hope you'll find a little time to focus on poems and poets. It's a great way to celebrate the remarkable magic of words, and all that they inspire in us each day.