“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,

I love you simply, without problems or pride:

I love you in this way because I don’t know any other way of loving.” 

April is National Poetry Month. When I think about how poetry enhances lives, changes lives and sometimes even alters cultures, I am in awe. And it gives me pause to think of all the amazing poetry that has been passed from one to another over the course of history.

A few years ago, when we were living deep into the forest at the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains not far from the small town of Nellysford, VA, my husband and I would get up before the sun rose to share writing time. Taking turns, one would select a line of poetry and we would both write for about 20 minutes from that line. We filled several journals with our shared words. And when we look back on it, we recall the time as a sort of meditation. 

For centuries poets have been asking and wondering and bringing to life pieces of our world we may not have noticed or pieces that enrage us. For me there are so many brilliant poets; too many to mention them all.

Some I love include Pablo Naruda, Frederico Garcia Lorca, Rita Dove, Rainer Maria Rilke, Mary Oliver, Amiri Baraka, Gwendolyn Brooks, Nikki Giovanni, Octavio Paz, Sylvia Plath and slam poets like Shane Koyczan and Mark Kelly Smith.

Tonight (April 5), Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, hosts their monthly Open Mic Poetry night, starting at 7:30 p.m.; Battenkill Books, 15 East Main Street, Cambridge, is hosting a poetry night on April 27 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. You are encouraged to bring one or two poems to share (yours or someone else's).

Nationally, on April 19, the Academy of American Poets will hold its annual Poetry & the Creative Mind celebration at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, hosted by Meryl Streep. Celebrating poetry’s important place in our lives, the event features actors, dancers, artists, musicians, and public figures on one stage sharing their favorite poems; and at the end of the month, oPoem in Your Pocket Day, people around the country will select a poem, carry it in their pocket and share it with others throughout the day. 

Who is your favorite poet? Your favorite poem? 

Kathleen Phalen-Tomaselli is a features writer at The Post-Star. She can be reached at kphalen-tomaselli@poststar.com for comments or story ideas. 


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