Thursday, 3 October 2013

Day 440: National Poetry Day Poem

'Poetry demands surrender, language saying what is true,
doing holy things to the ordinary...'

It's National Poetry day here in Ireland and there's a lot of events going on around the country to celebrate it. I'm off to a workshop and a poetry reading tonight and can't wait! For now, here's a poem that explains a bit more about poetry and finding a way in, for poetry is for everyone! 

How to Read a Poem: Beginner's Manual - Pamela Spiro Wagner

First, forget everything you have learned,
that poetry is difficult,
that it cannot be appreciated by the likes of you,
with your high school equivalency diploma,
your steel-tipped boots,
or your white-collar misunderstandings.
Do not assume meanings hidden from you:
the best poems mean what they say and say it.

To read poetry requires only courage
enough to leap from the edge
and trust.
Treat a poem like dirt,
humus rich and heavy from the garden.
Later it will become the fat tomatoes
and golden squash piled high upon your kitchen table.

Poetry demands surrender, language saying what is true,
doing holy things to the ordinary.
Read just one poem a day.
Someday a book of poems may open in your hands
like a daffodil offering its cup
to the sun.

When you can name five poets
without including Bob Dylan,
when you exceed your quota
and don't even notice,
close this manual.

You can now read poetry.


  1. One of my favourite poets is William Carlos Williams and this poem says it all:
    so much depends
    a red wheel
    glazed with rain
    beside the white

    Thanks for the reminder about Poetry Day

    1. Thank you Rosemary! I love that poem too! And William Carlos Williams, an exceptional poet.


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