March is National Poetry Month. I love this month. For as long as I can remember, I have loved poetry. Perhaps it was the fact that I was introduced to fun and silly rhyming poetry at a young age and then learned more. Perhaps it was because I was raised in the Lutheran church where music is quite important, and that meant reading the great lyrics to the hymns that are poetry. Maybe it was a combination of it all. No matter, what that paved the way to my loving poetry and growing up in Lake Charles meant that I could attend poetry readings for free through The Banners Series. Sadly, I did not really know about this series of cultural events until college, but at least I did learn about it. This means that I’ve gotten to hear and meet and still hear and meet many living poets.
So, here’s list of five living poets that I enjoy. (I can never truly pick “favorites,” as I like so many poets and poetry!)
John August Wood
I love Wood’s poetry. Many of you may remember when I posted about his lecture Sex, Death, and God: Reflections on Poetry and Literature. This was a great lecture and more people that usual turned up for this lecture. However, there is a reason that many came beside the topic. Dr. Wood was a professor at McNeese. I was lucky or blessed or fortunate enough to be able to have two English classes taught by Dr. Wood – my first two English classes, because I was in Honors College, so I had to take English 105 and English 106, which Dr. Wood taught.
I found out that he wrote poetry and got his book, Selected Poems, 1968-1998. I fell in love with his imagery when he used the phrase “a growl of bees,” and loved how he could make a gross topic such as cockroaches into such a fun poem.
I cannot say much about this poet other than he writes amazing poetry. This was one of the poets that I got to meet at a poetry reading.
Yes, this is yet another poet that I got to meet at a poetry reading through The Banners Series. However, I can say that it is fun how he likes to play with his last name in poems (and who wouldn’t, with a last name such as Zimmer?). I can also recommend his book, Crossing to Sunlight
Another poet that I got to hear read because of The Banners Series. It is said that the most awful thing to do is write about the idea of writing. Yet, Harrison is able to write about the idea of a poem in a poem that he calls “Sing.”
Yes, I did get to hear Creech read at a reading through The Banners Series. He was a student of Dr. Wood and he is now a teacher at McNeese State University. When I was an undergrad at McNeese, he was a graduate student there and many of the undergraduate students who took a class for this with a high GPA and loved poetry were very anxious to get a glimpse at his new poem if they could. We tried to sneak a peak before our class to read his newest poem. We never did, but it was fun, and it was great being among the first to ever hear it. I recommend his books Field Knowledge and Paper Cathedrals.