“Speech/ is a mouth,” Robert Creeley reminds us in one of my favorite poems, “The Language.” Right now, that mouth is surely grinning — it’s National Poetry Month! As a poet and reader of poetry, it’s heartening to see all of the readings, workshops and projects that take place in April. But more than that, it’s apparent (and delightful) that poets and poems thrive in Columbus, regardless of the season.
I asked three local poets to share their thoughts on why poetry is important, as well as a favorite poem.
“There is nothing like the life changed by finding the right poem at the right time in that life.”
A Favorite Poem: “Ode to Pork” by Kevin Young
Excerpt: “Some call you murder,/ shame's stepsister—/ then dress you up/ & declare you white/
& healthy, but you always/ come back, sauced, to me.”
“Poetry is my favorite thing because there are typically zero CA$H dollars involved and yet it continues.”
A Favorite Poem: “We Humans” by Darcie Dennigan
Excerpt: “Atheism is lonely-making. In the dark of our apartment (he loves the Christmas tree but unplugs its lights), we feel the planetness of the planet. After the laptop glare has left our eyes, we will see from our window the stars, whose aliens make much more beautiful paper roses.”
“Most people think of poetry as a way of expressing their feelings — love, grief, etc. — but the real issue at the heart of those emotions is our relationship to time and how there’s either not enough of it or there’s too much; poetry is a way of confronting time, of trying to change it, speed it up or stop it — before it ultimately stops us.”
A Favorite Poem: "On the deceptive brevity of life" (in Spanish, de la brevidad engañosa de la vida) by Luis de Góngora
Excerpt: “Time will not forgive you, nor these hours—/ these hours that are filing down the days,/ these days that are devouring the years.”