Isn’t the month of April lovely? Not only is it the month where we shed off winter completely and start to smell new life in the air, it’s also National Poetry Month. Springtime and poetry go so well together, don’t you think?
One of the very best poets to help us appreciate the splendor of the world outside is Mary Oliver. To celebrate National Poetry Month, here’s one of my favorite poems, from her collection Evidence:
Almost a Conversation by Mary Oliver
I have not really, not yet, talked with otter
about his life.
He has so many teeth, he has trouble
Wherefore our understanding
is all body expression —
he swims like the sleekest fish,
he dives and exhales and lifts a trail of bubbles.
Little by little he trusts my eyes
and my curious body sitting on the shore.
Sometimes he comes close.
I admire his whiskers
and his dark fur which I would rather die than wear.
He has no words, still what he tells about his life
He does not own a computer.
He imagines the river will last forever.
He does not envy the dry house I live in.
He does not wonder who or what it is that I worship.
He wonders, morning after morning, that the river
is so cold and fresh and alive, and still
I don’t jump in.
Here’s the 2015 National Poetry Month poster, designed by Roz Chast:
Ways to add more poetry into your life:
- The Writer’s Almanac newsletter or podcast (5 minutes of literary history and a poem of the day).
- The New Yorker’s Poetry podcast
- Poets.org’s poem-a-day newsletter.
- The Poetry Foundation’s Poem of the Day newsletter or their mobile app.
More poetry posts from the Books, the Universe and Everything archive:
- Tin Ear by Peter Schmitt
- Review of Blue Horses by Mary Oliver (including the poem If I Wanted a Boat)
- Review of Bouquet of Red Flags by Taylor Mali (including the poem Magnifies Objects Ten Times)
- Thanks, Robert Frost by David Ray
- Welcome Morning by Anne Sexton
Who are your favorite poets? How do you discover new poetry?
(I’m currently traveling in South America, but will moderate & reply to all comments as soon as I can!)