Sunday, April 1, 2012

"April is the cruelest month,

breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain." ~ T.E. Eliot
I am sure my students think April is cruel...the semester is winding down...research papers are coming in for me...but April is also National Poetry Month.

The Academy of American Poets created this initiative in 1996 to highlight "the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern. [They] hope to increase the visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture while acknowledging and celebrating poetry’s ability to sustain itself in the many places where it is practiced and appreciated." They chose a month when poetry could be celebrated with the highest level of participation. Inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women's History Month (March), and on the advice of teachers and librarians, April seemed the best time within the year to turn attention toward the art of poetry—in an ultimate effort to encourage poetry readership year-round.

I featured some neat journals last week that could be inspirational for writers...the wonderful bound works made with old vinyl records. This week I am featuring another made in USA product from Secret Leaves. What do you do with old books that have seen better days? In the true spirit of "rejuvenating the classics" as my friend calls our work, we have journals made from old book covers. Even though typing for this box is so simple, it does lack the human touch no matter how many fonts are available.

I want people to understand the person in a personal gift. Yes, gift cards are easy...but how neat is it to buy something for someone that you know the person will cherish! Small shops have those special one-of-a-kind treasures...whether is is an old book...(once the Kindle/Nook takes over these are gone with the wind along with Rhett! Anyone give a "damn"?) or a old book that has been reborn into a binder...you could add to these books...a hole punch is all it takes...Secret Leaves takes old books and gives them a new life with blank paper for creating your own classics.Sometimes she leaves "tidbits" of the book...imagine the former owner of this cover...Not only does the book live again, so does "A. Leroy"--Andrew, Anna, Ambrose...the poetry of the world is everywhere!

And, of course, this is April 1...April Fool's Day or All Fool's Day. {I could digress} Anyway, the current thinking is that it began around 1582 in France with the reform of the calendar under Charles IX. The Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved from March 25 - April 1 to January 1.

Some people were only informed of the change several years later. Still others, who were more rebellious refused to acknowledge the change and continued to celebrate on the last day of the former celebration, April 1. These people were labeled "fools", were subject to ridicule and sent on "fool errands," sent invitations to nonexistent parties and had other practical jokes played upon them. The butts of these pranks became known as a "poisson d'avril" or "April fish" because a young naive fish is easily caught. In addition, one common practice was to hook a paper fish on the back of someone as a joke. But, I am not fooling around when I talk about creating poetry in shopping motion by visiting the local small stores...sure, Walmart has "stuff," but for the poetry of selection, check out the small shops that still buy for you--whether it is vintage or antique...the rejuvenated classics...or specialty retail items found after hours of gift show and catalog gazing.

Over the land is April,
Over my heart a rose;
Over the high, brown mountain
The sound of singing goes.
Say, love, do you hear me,
Hear my sonnets ring?
Over the high, brown mountain,
Love, do you hear me sing?

~Robert Louis Stevenson

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