Last year, Santa Claus, or maybe my mother gave me the terrific gift of a book entitled, Poetry 180. This book is actually a printing of a fabulous project also called Poetry 180 which offers a poem a day for American high school students. The project is the work of Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate of the United States. Collins started the project in hopes of creating a turning back, a 180, if you will, to poetry, an art so often forgotten in these days. For more about the project, click here.
Today, I'd like to post just one of the poems of Poetry 180. The poem is by Ted Kooser, whose project American Life in Poetry, I highlighted in my last post. Hopefully, by highlighting a few of the phenomenal poetry projects out there, I can perhaps encourage a few more people into incorporating poetry into their daily lives. Also, its a good example of just what the Poet Laureate of the United States actually does. We live at an age where poetry is perhaps more accessible that it has ever been. Why not take advantage of it?
Selecting a Reader
Ted KooserFirst, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it. She should be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having money enough for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses, and there
in the bookstore, she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back
up on its shelf. She will say to herself,
"For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned." And she will.
from Sure Signs, 1980
University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pa.