• Alysa Salzberg

A celebration of National Poetry Month that raises some questions

There are many ways to celebrate National Poetry Month. Former Santa Barbara poet laureate David Starkey has opted for reviewing one book of poetry a day.


Yes, that’s one book, not one poem.


To be fair, Starkey, who is currently a book reviewer for the Santa Barbara Independent, is doing something truly wonderful: putting poets’ books into the spotlight. This can help make their work known and also help them earn income.


But I wonder if any fellow poetry lovers see a bit of a problem here? Is reading a book of poetry in a single day really a way to appreciate poetry?


Jean Cocteau famously wrote “Every poem is a coat of arms. It must be deciphered.” Is a day enough time to decipher – and savor – what could amount to dozens of poems?


Whatever you believe, and however you experience and take in poetry, there is one thing for sure: sharing beloved poems is a great thing.


Read on and add some (more) poetry to your life with Starkey’s book list, whether you enjoy the poems one at a time, or in one big poetic rush.



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