National Poetry Month

April 20th 2009

We shouldn't let National Poetry month go by without considering the limerick. You can find the Library's limerick books by clicking here. There are also lots of very funny ones to be found online at the Limerick Database. Not all of them are good, and not all of them are clean - you have been warned! - but here's an example of one that's both. (Bonus: it's not just a limerick, it's a template for would-be poets who are metrically challenged!)

There once... Read Post

April 15th 2009
John Tenniel illustration of Father William and his son

The Old Man’s Complaints and How He Gained Them by Robert Southey (1774 - 1843)

"You are old, father William," the young man cried,

"The few locks which are left you are grey;

You are hale, father William, a hearty old man;

now tell me the reason, I pray."


"In the days of my youth," father William replied,

"I remember'd that youth would fly past,

And abus'd not my health and my vigour at first,

That I never might need... Read Post

April 14th 2009
My latest poetic post was a little too wintry for some tastes. So here's something a little more evocative (I hope) of warm weather: Enkindled Spring by D. H. Lawrence. This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green, Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes, Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes. I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze... Read Post
April 10th 2009
Because You Asked about the Line Between Prose and Poetry by Howard Nemerov Sparrows were feeding in a freezing drizzle That while you watched turned to pieces of snow Riding a gradient invisible From silver aslant to random, white and slow. There came a moment that you couldn't tell. And then they clearly flew instead of fell.
April 8th 2009

If you know the name of the poem you would like to hear,

Press one, now

To search the index for a poem or poet,

Press two, now.

For critical assessment of a poem,

Press three, now.

To speak with a poet, hold the line

Or press zero at any time.

... Read Post
April 6th 2009
Mary Oliver's Black Swallowtail was read at the dedication of The Center for Arts at the Armory last Friday night: Black SwallowtailThe caterpillar interesting but not exactly lovely, humped along among the parsley leaves eating, always eating. Then one night it was gone and in its place a small green confinement hung by two silk threads on a parsley stem. I think it took nothing with it except faith and patience. And then one morning it expressed itself into the most beautiful thing... Read Post
April 3rd 2009 throughout April we'll be posting poems on the SPL blog. If you're interested in browsing our extensive poetry collection, the call numbers for American and British poetry are 811 and 821, respectively, and any of our staff can help you locate poetry of other languages (either in translation or in the original). The American Academy of Poets also has an excellent website, with sample poems and recordings of poets reading their own work (such as Gwendolyn Brooks, pictured at left). In any... Read Post