Is April really the “cruellest month?” Though perhaps more famous for his modernist poetry such as The Wasteland and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” T.S. Eliot wrote a batch of poems about cats for his godchildren in the 1930s, and they’ve remained among my favorites for some time. Whimsical, inventive, and just plain fun, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats is worth your time especially if you’re a cat person. I prefer this illustrated edition by Edward Gorey. Fun fact: Andrew Lloyd Webber primarily used the text of these poems as the lyrics for his musical Cats. Cue the Rum Tum Tugger!
A poem I love is by Indiana poet Robert Pfingston, “The Presence of Trees.” I first discovered it while developing Next Indiana Campfires and we read it often on the trail. I love its incantation of Indiana native trees. It washes over me each time we read it, often on sun-dappled trails in the woods, and its imagery always places me in the woods surrounding my parents’ home in Decatur County. Read a reflection on a Campfires program and the text of the poem here.
Where to begin? I really enjoy the conversations about poetry poets are having via the podcast format. Everyone should listen to the VS Podcast hosted by poets Danez Smith and Franny Choi for some of the best conversations about contemporary poetry, and life generally. Tracy K. Smith’s The Slow Down features some great daily content that forces, necessarily, the listener to slow down, listen and reflect. In addition to listening to these things, I’m currently reading Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic and can’t recommend it enough. Read a sample here.