I kind of hate the month of April, which is mean to say for a few reasons. (Sorry to my brother, who celebrates his birthday this month, and my brand new nephew, just born last night!) I'm just not a spring type of gal, what with the thick air and rain boots and wildly inconsistent temperatures. Also, flowers. What are those about? (Okay, just kidding about that last part. Look at those flowers I found in London last week! Breathtaking. Of course, they're like a month ahead of us, season-wise, so don't get any ideas, East Coasters.) But there is one thing I adore about April. It's National Poetry Month.
I love, love, love poetry.
One day in college I was assigned "Spring Azures" by Mary Oliver. It was fall, and I was curled up on a couch plowing through my work with russet-colored leaves twirling around the windowsill and witches and spiders adorning my walls (it was Halloween, obvs) and I opened up that Oliver poem and read it out loud (it's what I do with poetry) and I started crying, completely unexpectedly. (I just remembered I talked about that here. Geez, Morg. Diversify.) It remains my favorite poem of all time.
Second place, though, is vastly different from Oliver in both theme and style: WH Auden's "Musee des Beaux Arts." The poem was inspired by Brueghel's "Fall of Icarus" but I don't even think you need to see that painting to get it; I think you just need to pause over those final five lines and let them seduce you; linger over them for a while and think about humanity. I don't even care if that sounds pretentious. It's what you need to do.
One year I was leading the poetry workshop for Girls Write Now and we were teaching sestinas and villanelles and I found myself falling in love with "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop and Sylvia Plath's "Mad Girl's Love Song," and so many others, so many unexpected others, and spent months afterwards starting and stopping my own until I finally landed on one I was okay with. There's something really freeing in all that structure.
There are others who've made big dents in me. Margaret Atwood. Seamus Heaney. Dorothy Parker. Edna St Vincent Millay. Langston Hughes. My point is, poetry is super. If you're not a reader of it, why not try? April is the perfect month, after all.