Thursday, May 19, 2005

Until we do so every day....

In the weeks leading up to and since NatPoMo, I've seen or heard a number of comments that the idea of a national poetry month is actually contrary to the idea of celebrating poetry. That it somehow makes poetry less necessary the rest of the year. Diann Blakely made this comment recently:

"Just as our celebration of women and black history shouldn't be confined to a single month of the year, we shouldn't ghettoize poetry to a 30-day block on the calendar"

Well, now. I do respect the sentiment that poetry shouldn't be confined or debased (the implication in the word ghetto), but I think it's terribly misguided. I think it's useful and natural to have celebrations from time to time. Birthdays. Holidays. Days of recognition. Anniversaries. Sure, I agree that you'll be the same age for the 364 days following your birthday as you are on the date itself. But the commemoration gives your friends - who won't love you any less on those 364 other days - a good reason to stop what they're doing, and take special note of you on that date.

Same with poetry. While it touches me every day, in April I made stopped my normal routine and took special note of poetry in my life. And to pass that note along to other people - notably, grammar school children for whom I crafted a series of workshops. Certainly, I could have made these school visits on October 9 or January 15. But I don't see the harm - the "ghettoizing" - in setting aside a few days each year in which we can plan for such events.

Like birthdays: until we learn to celebrate each other every day, let's celebrate on birthdays. Until we celebrate poetry every day, let's celebrate in April. It can only help.

1 comment:

32poems said...

I'm right there with you and think we could bring poetry to more people's attention at other times, too.