Yes, today, July 17, is the official Take Your Poet to Work Day. The folks over at Tweetspeak Poetry (which I suppose includes me) created this, and so far it’s caught on in Australia, Holland, the United States and a few places in between. The Atlantic Monthly promoted it. And the Paris Review. And the Rotterdam Poetry Festival.
The idea is to select one of the conveniently created cutouts – Eliot, Dickinson, Poe, Neruda, Teasdale, Rumi or Basho – print it, cut it our and color it, paste to a stick, and then insert your poet somewhere in your work space. And tell a story.
OK, so I don’t do cut-outs. But, as you can see from the photography above, I did bring some poets to work today: Wallace Stevens (a favorite), Billy Collins (close to a favorite), Wendell Berry (a favorite even if he would hate my politics), and Edgar Lee Masters (who has been THE favorite since high school and given the fact he’s lasted this long as my favorite, it’s unlikely he will be dethroned anytime soon).
Oh, yes, that’s the current (July/August) issue of Poetry Magazine. This issue includes three poems by Scott Cairns (I should have brought him to work today, too) and one by James Galvin, among others; an article by the late film critic Roger Ebert; and four remembrances, including one of Richard Wilbur by Donald Hall.
I inserted the four books directly into my work space – the computer screen (yes, that’s Tweetdeck showing on the screen). And in one way or another, all four or these poets, and a few others, have helped me understand the poetry in work – and the poetry at work. That’s the story here. Perhaps that’s always the story here.
So if you’re in the mood for poetic cut-outs, or even if you aren’t, head over to Tweetspeak Poetry and see what’s happening. And it’s not too late to Take Your Poet to Work.