When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence.
When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.
Given the times it is no wonder that this JFK quote comes to mind as we rev up – poetically speaking – for National Poetry Month 2016 (https://www.poets.org/national-poetry-month/home). Our last best hope may be the cleansing properties of a well wrought poem….
Poets and poetry lovers are celebrating prematurely with news today that the 2016 Walt Whitman Award recipient has been named. She is Mai Der Vang who is being honored for her first book, Afterland, which is scheduled to be published in April 2017 by Graywolf Press (https://www.graywolfpress.org), one of Minnesota’s distinguished independent publishers. More than this, the 2015 Walt Whitman Awaard-winning book, Rapture, by Sjohnna McCray, will be also published next month by Graywolf.
For the past twenty years the Academy of American Poets has sponsored National Poetry Month, a massive project that involves poets, educators, librarians, booksellers, publishers and readers in a concerted effort to share the love of poetry, particularly contemporary poetry. The celebration includes an attractive (free and online) poster, a Dear Poet project for young readers, the Poem in Your Pocket initiative, and a month-long calendar of fun activities designed to share the written and spoken words of poets.
Though the calendar of Poetry Month overflows with events, projects and good ideas, one entry caught my eye – Al Franken’s Poetry Contest. Seems our Senator is hosting his fifth annual poetry contest for Minnesota students grades K-12. The theme of this year’s contest is “Celebrating the Veteran in My Life.” For all the details on Senator Franken’s contest, click here: http://www.mnmsba.org/Portals/0/PDFs/Advocacy/ChildrensMilitaryPoetryContest2014.pdf