Photo by Giulia van Pelt
“Poetry…flexes muscles you don’t use often enough. Poetry expands the senses and keeps them in prime condition. It keeps you aware of your nose, your eye, your ear, your tongue, your hand.”
Celebrating National Poetry Month
Last week, we announced that at the end of this month, we will be running a nationwide week-long Spring & Fountain Online program for educators (school teachers, administrators, counselors, librarians and staff at accredited institutions). Registration for this program is open today.
To give you a taste for what the program is like, we’ve set up this post much like one of the daily e-mails. If you sign up for Spring & Fountain Online, each day for one week, you will receive an e-mail directly to your inbox that contains a quote about poetry, a packet of poems, and a suggested activity to help you slow down, incorporate poetry into your day and engage with it more deeply.
This is a great activity to do first thing in the morning, but you can do it at any time of the day.
1. Pick a Poem
The first step is to choose a poem. Below are three different poems you can choose from. Just take a moment to choose–don’t overthink it. There is no wrong poem!
The Giving Voice packet that we send to Spring & Fountain Online participants will contain poems without attribution—you won’t know who wrote the poems until we send a list of attributions at the end of the program. This is meant to help you enjoy the poems as free of judgment and preconceived notions as possible. For now, try reading the poems below without clicking on the authors’ names or Googling them first.
Once you’ve chosen your poem, either print it out or keep it handy on your electronic device.
2. Ground Yourself
Sit down in a quiet place, get comfortable, and take a few deep breaths. Years ago, Mark Strand wrote that one of the things poetry does is slow us down because we have to slow down for it. Take a moment to slow yourself down, whatever that means to you.
3. Give it Voice
When you’re ready, take out the poem you’ve chosen. Read it silently to yourself, then read it out loud.
Once you’ve read the poem silently and aloud, however many times you want, write a note to the poet who wrote the poem or to the speaker of the poem. It could be a quick thank you note, a series of questions you would like to ask the poet, or a response to questions raised by the poem. This note is not meant to be analysis of the poem, but rather a reflection of your personal response to what you’ve read, the feelings or questions that have bubbled up from a deeper place inside you.
If you return to the poem later in the day, perhaps just before bedtime, read it aloud again. Reflect on how you feel about the poem now, at the end of the day. Is your experience of the poem different now than it was earlier?
Want more? Sign up for Spring & Fountain Online!