Roundabout Books Celebrates National Poetry Month

Roundabout Books Celebrates National Poetry Month

Hello Everyone!

With the spring almost here, I wanted to take some time to write and tell you what we have been putting together for you at our bookshops!  With our new space in Greenfield, I want to begin attending to the rhythms of theme months again--and I'm excited to start with National Poetry Month.

Our bookseller, Page, set up our display this month.  "Poetry for Everyone," it says.  In our collection, we have books for children and adults, as well as by children and adults.  It includes newly published work from Basho, used copies of Joy Harjo's work, as well as the work of Enheduana, the world's first known author.  Shel Silverstein poems are stacked at the front and the collected poems of "Our Children, Our Poets," from the Putney Grammer School, 1990, are displayed with a poem pulled out to highlight:

"The age is
too old to be here
but not ready to be there
Thoughts occur
that never were conceived before"
Ian Balcom, Grade 8

Like this young poet, the first known author, Enheduana, writing around 2300 BCE announces herself, inscribing herself into clay as "the weaver of the tablet," telling "[her] king!" "Something has been born which had been born before." 

What is that, I wonder!?  "Poetry," maybe?  But, I think we were enunciating out loud our words, rhythmic, metaphorical, lyrical, and expressive long before we thought to "weave" them onto clay.  I suppose I can answer for myself, at least: 

There is something about a poem that sometimes makes me feel like I am right there (and then) where "thoughts occur."  It feels to me like the specific resonance of the thoughts linger like a tuning fork in the air.  It is the thoughts themselves, in their specificity, that are new.  Poetry is the way of looking at the world around and saying, "I relate to you" and yet "you cannot be subsumed into some general idea."  Nope, just this idea will do.  Only you will do. 

As far as the poetry by children, I'd invite you to take a look!  And, maybe you haven't read Shel Silverstein in a while, either.  I keep thinking of the world's shortest work of scripture, here the Tao te Ching of Laozi in Lin Yutang's translation

"When the highest type of men hear the Tao (truth),
they try hard to live in accordance with it.
When the mediocre type hear the Tao,
they seem to be aware and yet unaware of it.
When the lowest type hear the Tao,
They break into loud laughter -
If it were not laughed at, it would not be Tao."

Maybe that's a way to read poetry, too!  Laugh at it if you like--it can take it!  If we look at something freshly, or look at something and realize it can't last, or look at something and feel it will ring in the air forever, we sometimes feel fuller, I think!

Love, love, love to you all, and we'd love to share our projects, if you would enjoy some time in our time machine-bookshop!