Well, Easter passed us by as softly as a stingray shaking off sand in the shallows. My family wouldn’t have noticed it, were it not that we almost stepped on it. Maybe this is just what holidays are like for us now. I wouldn’t know, it’s been four years since I’ve had Easter with my parents. Or maybe I don’t notice holidays anymore (I did miss Pi Day, after all.) But this time, I think it is because the last day of March signifies yet another holiday, for it is the eve of National Poetry Month.
That’s right! Rev your engines, poems, poems all month long, my poems, other people’s poems, poems you might not even think are poems. It’s going to be great. And one more way in which I’m celebrating is taking part in the Big Poetry Giveaway and, well… giving away poetry.
Why give away poetry? Because poetry is awesome. Okay, so why Silverstein and Eliot? Now you’re asking the right questions.
In the past few years, I have seen the development of a hoity-toity attitude toward literature, as if only that which is long-winded, uses large words, or doesn’t make a lot of sense to begin with is real literature. This attitude is especially persistent in academic circles, where it sadly produces the exact opposite of the intended effect. I have had several teachers who complain that students or people in general don’t read enough or don’t read enough poetry, but in the same breath condemn perfectly legitimate literature for not falling into an acceptable genre. I had one teacher who’s example of an uneducated slob who doesn’t read real poetry is an (adult) person who’s favorite poets are Dr. Suess and Shel Silverstein. But it all that falls into the genre of “acceptable” is that which is long-winded, wordy, and dense, why do we wonder that so few people take interest in reading?
The irony of making this argument and giving away a copy of poetry by Eliot is not lost on me. I could say that though I believe good poetry does not have to be dense, I do not believe the dense poetry cannot be good. I could say so truthfully. But even Eliot could not have been serious and dense all the time, as can be seen by a delightful little set of poems he wrote about cats. Are these poems dense and wordy and full of existential meaning? I don’t think so. And they certainly lack the footnotes which The Waste Land is famous for. Are they nevertheless wonderful poems? Absolutely. Why? Because they are fun. The same goes for Silverstein (and yes, as it happens he and Seuss really are my favorite poets). Thus:
I will be giving away one copy of Falling Up, Where the Sidewalk Ends, or A Light in the Attic by Shel Silervstein (winner’s choice)
And one copy of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot. (Note: there are two winners here, I will pick one for each prize.)
How do you enter? Leave a comment below telling me who your favorite poem or poet is. Please do not forget to give me a way of contacting you if you win, such as a link to your own blog or an email address.
And don’t forget to come back throughout the month, where I will be posting more about my favorite poems, as well as my own.
Happy National Poetry Month!