Has anyone else been dragging a bit this week? Perhaps it’s the five straight days of grey Dickensian mizzle, but also, I am missing the fanfare of Poetry Month. It seemed that every morning there was something fun on twitter or in the news about poets and poetry. (OK, there still is if you follow the #poetry and #poem hashtags, but last month’s pop was exponential.)
One thing I learned is that reading (and writing) poetry is good for the brain. Not a revelation, but still gratifying to hear that the time I spend idling about poetry websites can be chalked off as mind-sharpening. Writer Alan Heathcock also argued that poetry is important for one’s mental health in a piece for NPR’s All Things Considered.
So if you too are suffering from Post-Poetry Month depression, here are some ways to put some poem in your routine. The USPS has just issued Forever stamps that honor ten American poets: Elizabeth Bishop, Joseph Brodsky, Gwendolyn Brooks, E. E. Cummings, Robert Hayden, Denise Levertov, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams. So now we can all be a little bit inspired when we mail our letters, or at least when we pay the electric bill.
Three of my favorite websites offer a poem-of the day:
All three also have wonderful twitter feeds. Also on Twitter, there is a delightful tweep called @Pomesallsizes, who samples poets ranging from Charles Bukowski to Rainer Maria Rilke. Last Tuesday featured a translation of “Venice in Winter,” by Bakhyt Shkurullaevich Kenzjejev—a Kazakhi poet whom I’d never read.
Finally, the Poetry Foundation offers an amazing free mobile app with an extensive searchable database, as well as a very cool, interactive, spinning poetry roulette that clusters poems via themes like love, youth, frustration, joy, and grief. After all, in the words of Gwendolyn Brooks, “poetry is life distilled.”