Sunday, April 9, 2017

Is all poetry local? #NPM17

On day nine of National Poetry Month, the Academy of American Poets suggests we "Learn more about poets and poetry events in your state." Here's the link for Minnesota. With all the information listed, they seem to have missed a list of Minnesota poets, other than our two poet laureates, first, Robert Bly, and now Joyce Sutphen. Several Minnesota cities also have poets laureate. St. Paul has sidewalk poems, as do Northfield, St. Cloud and elsewhere.

Looking at my shelf of contemporary Minnesota poets, this list of names shows up, not counting those in anthologies:
  • Sharon Chmielarz
  • Bob Dylan, Nobel Laureate
  • Maureen Gibbon
  • Ronald Gower
  • Tom Hennen
  • Bill Holm
  • Jeff Humphries
  • Ann Iverson
  • Louis Jenkins
  • Jim Johnson
  • Freya Manfred
  • Jude Nutter
  • Sheila Packa
  • Thomas Smith
  • Barton Sutter
  • Connie Wanek
  • Morgan Grace Willow

Minnesota poetry on the hoof
Minnesota poetry on the hoof
Photo by J. Harrington

My Minnesota is literally full of poets and figuratively full of poetry. And, there's always the League of Minnesota Poets. James Wright captures Minnesota's farm country and prairies, and this time of year, with this poem, which is

A Blessing

By James Wright

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness   
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.   
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.   
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me   
And nuzzled my left hand.   
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

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Please be kind to each other while you can.