NPM: Good Enough to Eat

Photo courtesy of Kimberly Vardeman (flickr)

Poetry is my dessert. When I crave a little something, a nibble, a sweet treat, I read poetry.  If the novel I just read was too salty, I’ll cleanse my palette with something light or humorous—Ogden Nash or Dorothy Parker. When I’ve completed a rigorous task, I’ll indulge myself with a few minutes of Mark Strand’s “Eating Poetry.” Poetry is a tasty reward.

Or, maybe, poetry is my energy bar. Quick sustenance, the power to keep me going. Endurance in a small package. When I’m deep into the third or fourth revision of an essay and can’t go on, I take Robert Haas with me to the park and curl up in the shade. Sharon Olds and Louise Gluck join the picnic as well. I let their poems transport me into their page-long worlds for a while, until I come back to my own writing with fresh eyes.

Amuse bouchephoto © 2007 Charles Haynes | more info (via: Wylio)

Better yet. Poetry is my amuse-bouche. An hors d’oevre to amuse my mouth. I literally read poems for the pleasure of my lips. The poems that beg to be read aloud even when I’m alone, those are the poems I turn to when I’m writing plays: Blake, Shelley and Browning. They remind me that language works on every sensory level. Words can be beautiful because they feel good to say, not just to see or hear.

Whether you read poems to be refreshed, energized, satisfied or surprised, I hope that you will join us in celebrating the many joys of reading poetry during National Poetry Month.

YARN has planned a delicious many-course meal (to push the metaphor). In April, we will introduce to you a fresh voice, teen writer Elana Forman, who writes bold, atmospheric pieces, revealing a world-savvy eye that belies her age. Erik DeLapp shares with us his amusing and clever takes on relationships in the digital era, while also pushing the boundaries of form. Our YARN alum, Jacqueline Jules, returns with an energetic look at self-awareness through sports. Verse-novelist Samantha Schutz gives us serious food for thought in an exclusive interview with YARN about her writing process. Lastly, the powerful Nikki Grimes graces YARN with two poems so new, so hot, well, you might even say they’re fresh from the oven. Enjoy the sensation of discovering exciting new poems – new flavors – every week with us this coming month.

Colleen Oakley, Poetry EditorThanks for joining our celebration!

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