Archives for posts with tag: April

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APRIL (Excerpt from “The Months”)
by Linda Pastan

In the pastel blur
of the garden,
the cherry
and redbud

shake rain
from their delicate
shoulders, as petals
of pink

dogwood
wash down the ditches
in dreamlike
rivers of color.

SOURCE: “The Months” by Linda Pastan appears in its entirety at poetryfoundation.org. Originally published in Poetry (October 1999).

PHOTO: “Gifts” by Mitch Cat. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda Pastan has published at least 12 books of poetry and a number of essays. Her awards include the Dylan Thomas Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award (Poetry Society of America), the Bess Hokin Prize (Poetry Magazine), the 1986 Maurice English Poetry Award (for A Fraction of Darkness), the Charity Randall Citation of the International Poetry Forum, and the 2003 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Two of her collections of poems were nominated for the National Book Award and one for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. From 1991–1995 she was Poet Laureate of Maryland. (Read more at wikipedia.org.)

Recorded August 16, 1956. Ella sings and Satchmo sings and plays.

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IOWA CITY: EARLY APRIL (Excerpt)
by Robert Hass

This morning a cat—bright orange—pawing at the one patch of new grass in the sand-and tanbark-colored leaves.

And last night the sapphire of the raccoon’s eyes in the beam of the flashlight.
He was climbing a tree beside the house, trying to get onto the porch, I think, for a wad of oatmeal
Simmered in cider from the bottom of the pan we’d left out for the birds…

All this life going on about my life, or living a life about all this life going on,
Being a creature, whatever my drama of the moment, at the edge of the raccoon’s world—
He froze in my flashlight beam and looked down, no affect, just looked,
The ringtail curled and flared to make him look bigger and not to be messed with—
I was thinking he couldn’t know how charming his comic-book robber’s mask was to me,
That his experience of his being and mine of his and his of mine were things entirely apart,
Though there were between us, probably, energies of shrewd and respectful tact, based on curiosity and fear—
I knew about his talons whatever he knew about me—
And as for my experience of myself, it comes and goes, I’m not sure it’s any one thing, as my experience of these creatures is not,
And I know I am often too far from it or too near, glad to be rid of it which is why it was such a happiness,
The bright orange of the cat, and the first pool of green grass-leaves in early April, and the birdsong—that orange and that green not colors you’d set next to one another in the human scheme.

And the crows’ calls, even before you open your eyes, at sunup.

SOURCE: “Iowa City: Early April” appears in Robert Hass‘s collection Sun Under Wood: New Poems (HarperCollins, 1996), available at Amazon.com.

MORE: Read “Iowa City: Early April” in its entirety at poetryfoundation.org.

IMAGE: “Dancing in the Moonlight” by Kym Backland. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robert Hass’s first collection, Field Guide (1973), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award and established him as an important American poet. Hass confirmed his ability with Praise (1979), his second volume of poems, which won the William Carlos Williams Award. In 1984, Hass published Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry, a collection of previously published essays and reviews. The book was well received and won many awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award. His third collection of poetry, Human Wishes (1989), experimented with longer lines and prose paragraphs. 
Hass paid tribute to some of his non-Western mentors in The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa (1994), translations of short works by the most famous masters of the short Japanese poem. In 1996, Hass published another collection of poems, Sun Under Wood, which won theNational Book Critics Circle Award. From 1995 to 1997, Hass served as U.S. Poet Laureate and poetry consultant to the Library of Congress. Hass’s first book post-laureate, Time and Materials: Poems 1997-2005 (2007) won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In the mid-1990s, Hass co-founded the River of Words organization, which provides tools for teaching ecoliteracy to young students through multidisciplinary, interactive curricula. Hass was Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2001-2007. He teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, and lives in California with his wife, the poet Brenda Hillman.

Photo of Robert Hass by Margaretta Mitchell

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APRIL SNOW 
by Matthew Zapruder

Today in El Paso all the planes are asleep on the runway. The world
is in a delay. All the political consultants drinking whiskey keep
their heads down, lifting them only to look at the beautiful scarred
waitress who wears typewriter keys as a necklace. They jingle
when she brings them drinks. Outside the giant plate glass windows
the planes are completely covered in snow, it piles up on the wings.
I feel like a mountain of cell phone chargers. Each of the various
faiths of our various fathers keeps us only partly protected. I don’t
want to talk on the phone to an angel. At night before I go to sleep
I am already dreaming. Of coffee, of ancient generals, of the faces
of statues each of which has the eternal expression of one of my feelings.
I examine my feelings without feeling anything. I ride my blue bike
on the edge of the desert. I am president of this glass of water.

SOURCE: “April Snow” appears in Matthew Zapruder’s collection Come on All You Ghosts. (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), available at Amazon.com.

IMAGE: “Snowflakes and Sakura Blossoms,” available free at this link.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Matthew Zapruder is the author of several collections of poetry, including Come On All You Ghosts (2010), The Pajamaist (2006), and American Linden (2002). With Brian Henry, Zapruder co-founded Verse Press, which later became Wave Books. As an editor for Wave Books, Zapruder co-edited, with Joshua Beckman, the political poetry anthology State of the Union: 50 Political Poems (2008). His own poems have been included in the anthologies Best American Poetry (2009), Third Rail: The Poetry of Rock and Roll (2007), and Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (2006), as well as Poets on Teaching: A Sourcebook (2010). Zapruder’s honors include a Lannan Literary Fellowship and a 2008 May Sarton Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has taught at the New School; the University of California Riverside, Palm Desert; and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst’s Juniper Summer Writing Institute. He lives in San Francisco, where he is also a guitarist in the rock band The Figments.

Lady Day sings the classic “April in Paris,” composed in 1932 by Vernon Duke with lyrics by E. Y. Harburg for the Broadway musical Walk A Little Faster. The recording appears on Billie Holiday‘s album All or Nothing at All, recorded in 1956 and 1957 and released by Verve Records in 1958.

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APRIL GALE
by Heidi Mordhorst

Oh, how the wind howls,
howls the blossoms from the boughs;

Oh how the boughs bend,
bend and willow to the ground;

Oh, how the ground wells,
wells with blossoms blown to hills;

Oh, how the hills sound,
sound a whisper pink and loud.

SOURCE: “April Gale” appears in Heidi Mordhorst’s collection Pumpkin Butterfly; Poems from the Other Side of Nature (Boyds Mills Press, 2009), available at Amazon.com.

IMAGE: “Cherry Blossoms,” original oil painting available at fengshui-paintings.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Teacher and poet Heidi Mordhorst earned a BA in American studies from Wesleyan University, an MS in education from the Bank Street College of Education, and an MA in language and literature from the Institute of Education, University of London. She has published two books of poetry for children, Squeeze: Poems from a Juicy Universe (2005) and Pumpkin Butterfly: Poems from the Other Side of Nature (2009). Mordhorst currently resides in the Washington, DC, metro area, where she works as a Reading Initiative teacher with first-graders. 

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APRIL
by Alicia Ostriker

The optimists among us
taking heart because it is spring
skip along
attending their meetings
signing their e-mail petitions
marching with their satiric signs
singing their we shall overcome songs
posting their pungent twitters and blogs
believing in a better world
for no good reason
I envy them
said the old woman

The seasons go round they
go round and around
said the tulip
dancing among her friends
in their brown bed in the sun
in the April breeze
under a maple canopy
that was also dancing
only with greater motions
casting greater shadows
and the grass
hardly stirring

What a concerto
of good stinks said the dog
trotting along Riverside Drive
in the early spring afternoon
sniffing this way and that
how gratifying the cellos of the river
the tubas of the traffic
the trombones
of the leafing elms with the legato
of my rivals’ piss at their feet
and the leftover meat and grease
singing along in all the wastebaskets

SOURCE: Poetry (February 2011)

IMAGE: “Tulips in a Row,” watercolor by Arline Wagner. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1937, Alicia Ostriker received a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and an MA and PhD in literature from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her collections of poetry include The Book of Seventy (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009); The Volcano Sequence (2002); The Little Space: Poems Selected and New, 1968-1998 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998) which was a finalist for the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; The Crack in Everything (1996), a National Book Award finalist and winner of the Paterson Poetry Award and the San Francisco State Poetry Center Award; and The Imaginary Lover (1986), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award of the Poetry Society of America. She teaches poetry in New England College’s Low-Residency MFA Program.

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APRIL MIDNIGHT
by Arthur Symons

Side by side through the streets at midnight,
Roaming together,
Through the tumultuous night of London,
In the miraculous April weather.
 
Roaming together under the gaslight,
Day’s work over,
How the Spring calls to us, here in the city,
Calls to the heart from the heart of a lover!
 
Cool to the wind blows, fresh in our faces,
Cleansing, entrancing,
After the heat and the fumes and the footlights,
Where you dance and I watch your dancing.
 
Good it is to be here together,
Good to be roaming,
Even in London, even at midnight,
Lover-like in a lover’s gloaming.
 
You the dancer and I the dreamer,
Children together,
Wandering lost in the night of London,
In the miraculous April weather.

PAINTING: “Blackman Street, London, 1885” by Stefan Kuhn. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: British poet, critic, and translator Arthur Symons (1865-1945) was born in Wales and educated by private tutors. At 16, Symons moved to London, where he joined a vibrant literary community and participated, alongside poets like William Butler Yeats. Selections from four of Symons’s early collections of poetry—Silhouettes (1892), London Nights (1896), Amoris Victima (1897), and Images of Good and Evil (1899)—were later collected in his two-volume Poems (1902). Symons also translated the work of French and Italian poets Paul Verlaine, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Gabriele D’Annunzio into English.