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national poetry month  












 

We have spun around the calendar once again to April, National Poetry Month, days of warmer rain and brighter sun, and, as is to be expected, miscellaneous corruptions of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land: "April is the cruelest month." National Poetry Month is very much an institutional recognition of poetry, an opportunity for publishers to market, bookmongers to vend, schools to instruct, critics to vent, organizations to publicize, and poets to either flee or embrace the abundance of attention. It provides an opportunity for assessment and speculation, to ask the "overwhelming" questions (Eliot would advise, "Oh, do not ask"): where is poetry headed, what does it mean to the culture at large, what can it be in years to come, is it continuing its rebirth in the Republican United States even in time of war? The poets presented by Bold Type this month are one answer among many. They represent a broad variety of poetic experience, ranging from the reimagined cool blues of Kevin Young and the ghostly visitations of Sarah Arvio through the calm mediations of Peter Davison and the stark classical passions of Edward Hirsch, finally to the brutal emotional shock of Sharon Olds and the powerful dark elegance of Andrew Zawacki, one of the most admired younger poets in America. Read also an interview with Kevin Young on the role of the blues in American today and controversies over who owns the blues.

--Ernest Hilbert
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