by Jim Holt
A few years ago, I started learning poetry by heart on a daily basis. I’ve now memorized about a hundred poems, some of them quite long — more than 2,000 lines in all, not including limericks and Bob Dylan lyrics. I recite them to myself while jogging along the Hudson River, quite loudly if no other joggers are within earshot. I do the same, but more quietly, while walking around Manhattan on errands — just another guy on an invisible cellphone.....
"But then something organic begins to happen." is from later in this NY Times article. It's worth a read and finding it today was timely:
Tomorrow I have a conference call with staffers from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) about the upcoming "nationals" here in DC for Poetry Out Loud, the poetry recitation competition for high school students. I'm one of a few judges for the semi final round on April 27. The final round is April 28; among the judges for the final round are Luis Rodriguez. I'm looking forward to being a part of this, and want to do a decent job. I've been doing my homework, which includes viewing a DVD of past winners. I've been moved and impressed by the caliber of the recitations. One that really stood out for me was Amanda Fernandez's recitation of Anne Sexton's "Unknown Girl in the Maternity Ward." I was hoping I'd find this video on the Poetry Out Loud website, but it doesn't include student recitations. But the site is worth a visit. There's a 9-minute video documentary on the 2008 California State Finals, which I quite enjoyed.
Regarding Gathering Words/Recogiendo Palabras: María Luisa Arroyo sent me her book, and I've really been enjoying it. I'm hoping to get permission from Bilingual Press to post an entire poem here at Letras Latinas Blog. In any case, Latino Poetry Review will definitely be commissioning a review of it, and an interview as well. She has a website---HERE.
And speaking of Latino Poetry Review....Yes, it's way way late, but I've been working (finally) on the pieces steadily and sending them off to the ILS web person. Won't venture to promise when the issue will be completely posted, but we're aiming to have it up before the conclusion of National Poetry Month.
In the meantime, what are you doing this NaPoMo?