April is National Poetry Month — Seize the Day

poetry month

National Poetry Month is April. Here’s something I wrote a few years ago for the occasion that was published in a newspaper. I mention young people because I wrote it to a college-aged audience…


It’s the age of bite-sized portions with chain-store labels.

We read snappy blogs instead of long-form articles. We tweet, with no more than 140 characters, instead of blog.

So, with work balanced against the pre-packaged pulse of our lives, why slow down to read a poem?

why poetry by Lindsay OberstOne local poet offers her reasoning. Judith Cofer, a professor of English and creative writing at the University [of Georgia,] believes powers held within the unconscious can be found through poetry.

“You experience associations with language that lead you to some unexpected places,” she said in an interview conducted by Christine McQuade in 2005. “I have had poems reveal some things to me that I didn’t know I had in my brain.”

One thing revealed to her is the ability to let go.

“I think that the power of free association, a tool used in analysis, is available to the poet, or people who read poetry,” she said.

Cofer’s poem, “Seizing the Day,” acknowledges this power. It uses everyday events to explore a deeper meaning.

Life can be seen as a rush with movements crushed by predetermined events. At the same time,  young people are able to experience the beauty of the moment. Instead, they often whisk by the many firsts that will be relished later on.

The first job, the first home away from home, and the first kiss in the window of a quiet coffee shop — a fresh taste, slight and bitter.

It’s the age of bite-size portions and chain-store labels, an age too swept up in rapid movement and change. Go now, read a poem and steal souls with your eyes.

This piece first appeared in The Red and Black.

On my writing blog, I wrote about some beautiful Japanese poetry. I’m not sure if any events are going on here in Atlanta for poetry month. I’ll have to find out.

Even if you don’t write poetry, reading it can bring about unexpected emotions and reactions. Poetry has many powers; Cofer pointed out one in our discussion mentioned above.

Will you take time to write or enjoy poetry this month?

~ Lindsay Oberst

Photo Credit: brain image by suttonhoo.blogspot.com

Lindsay Oberst is a writer, journalist and editor. She writes about arts, culture, design, literary, digital media, technology, social good, health, business, marketing and sustainability. She also writes fiction and poetry.

Find her on Twitter @LindsayOWrite and @LindsayOAtlanta.
She’s on Facebook and Google Plus, too.

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