Now I know we don't need an excuse to celebrate poetry or anything, but since April is National Poetry Month ("breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain"), I thought it would be fitting to take the opportunity and introduce you to a few utterly amazing, very modern poets. I could, of course, give you Yeats ("There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow"), or Auden ("In the prison of his days/Teach the free man how to praise") or Dickenson ("Because I could not stop for Death/ - He kindly stopped for me), but that would be too pat, and you probably already know those folks well (if not, take the opportunity to do a little reading - they're wonderful poets). No, instead I'll introduce three rather modern poets that you may not know. First is the magnificent, late, Dorothy Porter (1954 - 2008).
What voice of dirty ice
is talking in my head
I can't watch the sky
without ringing Heaven.
My heart ticking as slowly
over its hissing dial tone.
Pick up, Heaven.
Please pick up.
(Other Worlds: Poems 1997-2001)
Joel is a poet, novelist, speechwriter, and many other things. I'm just including a snippet of one of his poems here - if you want more (and trust me, you want more), you'll have to drop by Joel's website or pick up one of his exceptional books.
From "The Path Ahead"
The path ahead is surest without shoes
Migrant trees shed small square yellow pages.
Forget-me-nots stamped return to sender.
What the body forgets the mind remembers.
That beauty can malfunction
Is a given. Love knows
Of all the beauties beyond this.
At every plateau, praise.
I could keep going. I could quote more from those three, or I could find another twenty superb, individual, magnificent wordsmiths to introduce or remind you of. Instead I'll ask you to join the dialogue and cite, quote, or list a few of your own favourites. Let's talk poetry for a while. Because poetry "makes nothing happen" (emphasis is my own, though it was called to my attention by John Banville's own beautiful reading of "In Memory of WB Yeats"). In other words, it makes what was once nothing, into something that "survives".