April 29, 2019
National Poetry Month: Staff Reflections

As we wrap up National Poetry Month, Indiana Humanities staff members shared some of their all-time favorite poems and performances. Happy reading!


I love this podcast, “Interesting People Reading Poetry” which features artists, chefs, elected officials, scientists and more interesting people who read their favorite poem then explain what it means to them. Listen here: https://interestingpeoplereadingpoetry.com/



In 2016, slam-poet Adam Henze stepped up to the microphone to read his poem “For Those Who Love Fast, Loud Things,” in one of the loudest, fastest, places on the planet—the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was an unusual place for poetry, to be sure. But Adam, on the winner’s circle stage, and on enormous screens around the track, captivated the crowd’s attention with his words and his beat. It was certainly the most unusual place I’ve ever heard poetry, but at the same time, it felt right. After all, why shouldn’t the world’s greatest spectacle cause us to write passionately? We often infuse art and music into sporting events, why not poetry? Note: Poetry at the track isn’t actually new—we helped bring it back for the 100th running of The Indianapolis 500 after decades of absence. Read the poem here.



Here’s my favorite poem:


What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why (Sonnet XLIII)

Edna St. Vincent Millay

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,

I have forgotten, and what arms have lain

Under my head till morning; but the rain

Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh

Upon the glass and listen for reply,

And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain

For unremembered lads that not again

Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.

Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,

Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,

Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:

I cannot say what loves have come and gone,

I only know that summer sang in me

A little while, that in me sings no more.



Posted In: National Poetry Month

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