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Celebrating National Poetry Month

Since 1996, poetry enthusiasts from bookstores and libraries to publishing houses and literary events have set aside April as a time to celebrate National Poetry Month. The Academy of American Poets founded this celebration in order to encourage the reading and distribution of poetry and poetry books. In honor of this exciting month, we at Bright Sky Press want to share our favorite poems.

Lucy, Publisher: I like the way “For the Young Who Want To” by Marge Piercy encourages us to be our authentic selves and find the path that is right for us to walk, without waiting for the validation of others. When we find it, walking that path is both satisfying and the way we get joy. I also like how the made-up science of phlogiston puts the world’s very arbitrary validations in perspective.

Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.
 
Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.
 
Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don’t have a baby,
call you a bum.
The reason people want M.F.A.’s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else’s mannerisms
 
is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you’re certified a dentist.
 
The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.

Courtney, Publishing Assistant: “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost has been one of my favorite poems since I was a young teenager. The first time I read the poem it was paired with a compelling illustration that conveyed two visions of a forthcoming apocalypse. When reading the poem that imagery remains with me and I get lost in contemplation.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Eva, Public Relations Director:The Dong with the Luminous Nose” by Edward Lear; Before Dr. Seuss, there was Edward Lear with nonsense poetry. Some of the poem doesn’t seem to make any sense at all and features made-up words like Gromboolian, Chankly Bore and the Jumblies. But mixed in with the nonsense is a heartfelt poem about having loved and lost. That’s the Dong—a hopeless romantic who spent his life searching for the lady who stole his heart so long ago. Nonsense is much more fun to read than typical poetic poetry.

Lauren, Editorial Assistant: My favorite poem is “Sunflower Sutra” by Allen Ginsberg. I love Ginsberg’s wacky vibrancy. His words paint such a vivid picture that I feel as if I could be sitting next to Allen and Jack Keroauc while they become enchanted with a sunflower all the while critiquing the world.

Marla, Designer: Cancion de Otoño en Primavera (Song of Autumn in the Springtime) by Ruben Dario; I like it because it brings back memories of when I was young and used to hear it recited at school in Mexico in Spanish.

Fiona, Finance Manager: I love “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost and when my father passed away I read it at his service—it seemed a perfect choice.

Patrick, Intern:My Brother, the Artist, at Seven” by Philip Levine; I like this poem because it paints this very beautiful, very pastoral portrait of the world. To me, it captures the feeling of being at this young age, standing in a field and truly understanding its and the world’s immensity. There’s an almost magical force in the way Levine uses names and their sounds and how, with them, we construct the world. The Galveston mentioned in the poem stops being the one we’re familiar with and instead becomes a place that can only exist in the past and in the mind.

From Beatniks to Pulitzer Prize winners and across languages, our favorite poems emerge from many different arenas. Which poems speak to you?

Bright Sky Press
Where Texas meets books. Poems.