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    It is Officially National Poetry Month... Now What?

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Does the mention of National Poetry Month send you running in the opposite direction, fleeing from nightmarish visions of sweating over a Robert Frost poem to finish high school english? Would you rather read a pile of owner's manuals than this year's Griffin Prize nominees? Is poetry misunderstood and underappreciated, or impossible to understand and intended only for the highest of high brow academics?

    Before we start wishing for April to fly by so we can get to Asthma Awareness Month, STOP, take a deep breath, and consider getting excited about poetry. Here's three reasons why:

    "I am amazed that poets will continue to write about their divorces, even though there is currently a robot taking pictures of orange ethane lakes on Titan." Christian Bok's Xenotext. I cannot possibly expand on how Bok is inserting verse into a strand of DNA for it to generate new lines, literally bringing poetry to life, but a recent article in Maclean's does a pretty good job. The work is being accomplished right here in Calgary. Read the article from a January edition of Maclean's - "Creating the Poetry Bug".

    The 10th annual Calgary Spoken Word Festival is already underway. Not only does this festival bring in poets from all over the world, it also offers poetry workshops, giving us a chance for hands-on learning from some of the masters of the craft. Take a look at the cover story of this week's FFWD for an in-depth look at this year's festival

    On April 9 McSweeney's will release Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry. Featuring essays, interviews, and lesson plans "Open the Door will be useful for first-time and veteran teachers, as well as parents, babysitters, MFAs with no job, and anyone else with an interest in poetry’s place in the lives of our younger citizens". If McSweeney's is excited about producing a book about enthusing poetry into the next generation, then the future looks bright. The four titles already released under the McSweeney's Poetry Series are some of the most beautiful book you'll ever lay eyes on.

    April or not, the world of poetry is in good hands. Stay tuned to the 'Nook all month for recommended reads, local event highlights, poet profiles, and please leave a comment below to let us know how you'll be celebrating National Poetry Month. But remember that April is also Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so put the poem down when you get behind the wheel!

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