World Poetry Day

UNESCO declared March 21st to be World Poetry Day to "promote reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world and to give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements."

You'll have to wait until April for National Poetry Month. Then you'll have to wait until April 30th for "Poem in Your Pocket Day." We'll get back to that in a few weeks. In the meantime, how about marking the day with a poem?

Clemens Starck is a rolled-up-sleeves workingman's poet. He's been a carpenter, a merchant seaman and a ranch hand. I picture him with a blood blister under one of his fingernails. He's studied languages and Chinese poetry, and has been awarded both the William Stafford Memorial Poetry Award and the Oregon Book Award in Poetry.

Here's a poem about making poems from Mr. Starck's book, "China Basin" (2002). I'm reprinting it without permission, but with admiration.


Maybe I already know
as much as I’m destined to know, for this lifetime,
about small-engine repair.
And also about plumbing.
For that matter, I wouldn’t mind
drinking a beer
to celebrate
an end to plumbing, and an end to small-engine repair.

Why not study ethnobotany,
or practice juggling?
I could learn to read Chinese, and start in
on the ten thousand poems extant
of Lu You.

It’s unlikely I’ll take up blacksmithing,
or become a backhoe operator.

For the time being
I think I’ll just concentrate
on finding the words
for the mist that rises from the fields in the morning,
or the moon
as seen once from Joel’s truck
on the way home from a job in Corvallis.


~Christopher said...

Excellent poem. I had no idea there was a national poetry month, day, or anything.

Anonymous said...

We should celebrate.

MightyToyCannon said...

Indeed! More information about National Poetry Month can be found at the Academy of American Poets site:

You can subscribe to receive a daily poem through April. If you're really ambitious, you can try writing a poem each day.