Listen and Learn: National Poetry Month

Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. — Plutarch

April is National Poetry Month, and definitely a month I actively celebrate my love for the written word. I remember being introduced to poetry as a craft in elementary school when we read “The Road Not Taken” by Frost and “Little Things” by Julia Abigail Fletcher. I saw poetry as an extension of fiction writing — carefully crafted and more intentional. You had to pay more attention to phrasing, structure, even (God forbid) rhyming. Poems are often full of beautiful metaphors and synesthesia. There are those lines you read and have to sit back and just say “Wow. So that’s how you put that feeling into words.”

The reason why I like writing haikus so much is the same reason I like writing poetry. It’s like a riddle I’m solving as I go. I’m going to try to write and publish some more creative poetry work this month. Until then, here are some of my favorite poems. Listening to poems is a really different experience, so I’ve collected some spoken words and readings. Send me yours!

  • “Hurling Crowbirds at Mockingbars” by Buddy Wakefield
  • “Convenience Stores” by Buddy Wakefield (PSA: have tissues ready)

Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

  • “The Laughing Heart” by Charles Bukowski (Here’s a video of Tom Waits reading it. I know.)
  • “Lady Lazurus” by Sylvia Plath
  • “Jellyfish” by Andrea Gibson (ugh)
  • “and a new earth” by Wirrow
  • Kai Davis PYPM final (90 seconds of magic)
  • “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou (Miss you. Happy birthday.)
Say surrender. Say alabaster. Switchblade.
Honeysuckle. Goldenrod. Say autumn.
Say autumn despite the green
in your eyes. Beauty despite
daylight. Say you’d kill for it. Unbreakable dawn
mounting in your throat.
My thrashing beneath you
like a sparrow stunned
with falling.
  • The poem in the movie “Like Crazy” (which gets me every single time.)
  • “[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]” by e.e. cummings (as read by Heath Ledger in “Candy”)(I’m not crying. You’re crying.)
  • “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” by Walt Whitman (the Levi’s Go Forth campaign is my favorite thing. Complete poem here.)
  • “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe (as recited by MGG. He nearly cries at the end. It’s a lot.)
  • “Bright Star” by John Keats (as read by Tom Hiddleston. Welp, indeed.)

While you’re at it, check out these incredible poets I follow on Tumblr.

I know I forgot a bunch, but there’s a good starting place. Let’s write and read and love poems extra hard this month.

A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.” — Robert Frost


3 thoughts on “Listen and Learn: National Poetry Month

    1. I love love love Maya Angelou and Sylvia Plath. Spoken word is tied between Buddy Wakefield and Andrea Gibson. Plus, I’m a sucker for Whitman or a good Shakespeare sonnet.

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