Celebrate National Poetry Month with ESC Librarians
By Pam Moore, student, SUNY Empire State College
April 7, 2016
April showers bring May flowers, but April also brings National Poetry Month and recognition for its 20th anniversary as “the largest literary celebration.” This celebration will show appreciation to librarians, the true bookworms, with April 21 being dedicated to Library Worker’s Day.
While librarians can certainly field your research or reference questions with their valuable contributions and expertise, they are also great resources for good authors and fantastic books to read. The librarians at ESC are a combined bank of knowledge to assist students with their studies, but they also love to read!
I spoke to ESC librarians Sara Hull, Dana Longely, Sarah Morehouse and Heather Shalloub and asked about their favorite poets, poems and books.
Hull: I enjoy a myriad of styles of poetry - the cheeky humor of Emily Dickinson, the raw, yet finely honed outrage of fellow librarian Audre Lorde, the beautifully simple truths of Rumi -- but my favorite is confessional poet Sharon Olds. Olds holds a magnifying glass over the "ugly," intimate details about relationships of all kinds, of bodies and of sexuality – topics that make us so vulnerable to one another as humans yet, simultaneously, connect us all. Her poems make me uncomfortable in a good way, because they feel visceral and true and recognizable. Her collection, “The Gold Cell,” is my favorite example of this focus on both "small beauties" and truly terrible realities.
Longley: My favorite poet is probably Charles Bukowski. One of his best books, I prefer his early work, is “The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses.” Bukowski appeals to me because he wrote beautifully and hauntingly, but without the pretense of obscure or flowery words. He wrote, in my opinion, for and about the struggles and contradictions of the common man, using common words, but in uncommon ways. He had many flaws as a public person, and a poet, but then again, don't we all?
Morehouse: My current favorite poet is Mary Oliver. Her famous poem "Wild Geese" is found in “Dream Work” (1986.) At the present, I'm finding the way she uses nature to talk about matters of the heart and soul to be both inspiring and reassuring. She reminds me a lot of Henry David Thoreau, but in poetry rather than prose. She also reminds me of the Tao Te Ching, but in images instead of abstracts.
Shalhoub: My favorite poet is Shel Silverstein and his book, “The Giving Tree.” His books were read to my class in elementary school and sparked a love and enjoyment for poetry that I never outgrew. I continued to enjoy poems later in life, when I had my first job in a public library children's room. I love Silverstein's ability to be silly and playful, but also tell stories of very touching life lessons in a way anyone of any age can relate to.
Interested poetry fans can go to Poetry.org to connect with poets or find opportunities to hear or study poetry, find poetry events and resources near you and find festivals, conferences, writing programs, literary organizations, landmarks, poetry-friendly bookstores and more in your area. And use hashtag #npm16 for all things poetry on Twitter!