Sunday, July 29, 2012

What Does a Poet Laureate Do? Joseph Brodsky.

Poet Laureate from 1991 to 1992 and winner of the 1987 Nobel Prize for Literature.

 Joseph Brodsky 

"What concerns me is that man, unable to articulate, to express himself adequately, reverts to action. Since the vocabulary of action is limited, as it were, to his body, he is bound to act violently, extending his vocabulary with a weapon where there should have been an adjective."

Astonished that poetry had so little place in our society, Brodsky initiated the idea of providing poetry free to members of the public, in public places - supermarkets, hotels, airports, hospitals, . . . "anyplace people congregate and can kill time as time kills them."

The result was The American Poetry & Literacy Project, a national, non-profit organization created by Brodsky and a young author named Andrew Carroll.

They hoped that the books might help people find some comfort and companionship and believe it or not, the idea was a bit controversial when Brodsky proposed it.

In addition, the Academy fosters the readership of poetry through outreach activities such as National Poetry Month.

Here are a few of the books published for The American Poetry & Literacy Project:

101 Great American Poems. 

How to Eat a Poem: A Smorgasbord of Tasty and Delicious Poems for Young Readers.

And now for some poetry:

A Song

I wish you were here written in beach sand
I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish you sat on the sofa
And I sat near.
The handkerchief could be yours,
the tear could be mine, chin-bound.
Though it could be, of course,
the other way around.

I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish we were in my car,
and you'd shift the gear.
We'd find ourselves elsewhere,
on an unknown shore.
Or else we'd repair
to where we've been before.

I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish I knew no astronomy
when stars appear,
when the moon skims the water
that sighs and shifts in its slumber.
I wish it were still a quarter
to dial your number.

I wish you were here, dear,
in this hemisphere,
as I sit on the porch
sipping a beer.
It's evening, the sun is setting;
boys shout and gulls are crying.
What's the point of forgetting
if it's followed by dying?


Joseph Brodsky:

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