National What Month?

Nope, no April Fool’s Day joke here (well, at least, it’s not meant to be), instead…

Today marks the beginning of a month-long celebration of poetry, poets, and all things poetic.  Aptly named “National Poetry Month,” it was inaugurated as a yearly tribute to poetry in the United States a mere twelve years ago by the Academy of American Poets .  This annual rite was created to increase the attention paid (by individuals and the media) to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our poetic heritage, and to poetry books and magazines… [and] to achieve an increase in the visibility, presence, and accessibility of poetry in our culture.  The Academy of American Poets web site has more information about National Poetry Month including this FAQ.

To add one small voice to the national celebration, during this month I’ll share some recent (or maybe not so recent) poems I have come across which I have enjoyed—proof that even a computer scientist/meteorologist can occasionally discover a right side to the brain.

To begin the month, here is a poem in sonnet form entitled “April in Town“, apropos given the current month (of course!)  It is by the 19th-century American poet, Lizette Woodworth Reese.  Reese was a contemporary of Emily Dickinson.  Although she never gained the same level of attention and critical acclaim as Dickinson, still, during her lifetime, she was a popular artist of traditional poetic forms.  The majority of her poetry presented bucolic or nostalgic themes, often favored in the post-Victorian era.

April in Town 
by Lizette Woodworth Reese 

Straight from the east the wind blows sharp with rain,
   That just now drove its wild ranks down the street,
   And westward rushed into the sunset sweet.
Spouts brawl, boughs drip and cease and drip again,
Bricks gleam; keen saffron glows each windowpane,
   And every pool beneath the passing feet.
   Innumerable odors fine and fleet
Are blown this way from blossoming lawn and lane.
Wet roofs show black against a tender sky;
   The almond bushes in the lean-fenced square,
      Beaten to the walks, show all their draggled white.
A troop of laborers comes slowly by;
   One bears a daffodil, and seems to bear
      A new-lit candle through the fading light.


A Handful of Lavender
by Lizette Woodworth Reese, Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1891, p. 85.


About notjustweather

Dave Linder: Meteorologist, computer scientist, writer... and one who enjoys a well-timed quick quip.

Posted on April 1, 2008, in Poetry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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