This month I ask the Muses and myself (and you, if you’re listening and want to play along) to give a shout out to and for a few poets craving a wave. They may be your favorite go-to poets for lonely days and nights. It could be they wrote a few poems that you keep picking up for a pick-me-up. Or as with me, maybe one or two of your poets this month are new-ish to you, a welcome breath of spring. Whoever floats your lyrical boat, for National Poetry Month let’s give it up for all poets everywhere and from all time striving to leave a line that will be remembered.
To kick it off, I offer you these four poets as worthy of the Muses:
- Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828) was one of the four great haiku poets of Japan and, for me, the most accessible. When I started diving into the world of haiku on Twitter several years ago, I not only found some fabulous poets writing today, but was introduced to the masters of days long past. Issa remains my favorite of the ancients for his quirky humor, sense of humanity, and down to earth style.
- Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 – 1926) is my life poet the way some people have a “life verse.” I’m partial to the translation by Robert Bly, since I am not fluent in German, the original language of most of his poems. Maybe this post will explain my connection to Rilke more than anything else I could write here.
Marge Piercy has written several poems that make me feel as if the top of my head were taken off (thanks, Emily Dickinson, for that image). She’s also written a few poems that make me bang my head on the desk and wonder if we’re from different planets. She challenges me. I like that. And I really really like this poem, which I have shared with many people over the past few years.
- Sarah McKinstry-Brown is new to me, that welcome breath of spring I mentioned earlier. Her chapbook “When You Are Born” has been sitting on my night stand for a while, but I only recently picked it up and started skimming through. And then that thing at the top of my head happened, so I had to Google her and find out who the heck this person was that could write things like this.
Now your turn… Which poets (or poems) blow the top of your head straight off?