Each year, April ushers in many things: longer, warmer days filled with the promise of spring; a fun-filled, much-deserved week off from school; and, of course, a number of events at your local library in honor of the literary craft of poetry.

Celebrated for more than 10 years now, National Poetry Month was established by the Academy of American Poets as a time for bookstores, libraries, schools and individuals to focus on this form of writing.

Perhaps you haven't read a piece of poetry since high school or college. Perhaps you've never liked it much, thought it was hard to comprehend, too flowery or abstract.

Well, if that's the case, then it might be that you just haven't found the right poet. There are as many types of poets and poetry as there are novelists and novels; there are ballads, limericks, sonnets, and free verse, to name a few. And the subject matter is just as vast: There are poems about love, religion, patriotism, war, nature, family and friendship.

If you're still feeling reluctant, there are a number of books at the library to help you break into this genre without feeling overwhelmed.

Frances Mayes' "The Discovery of Poetry" is a self-proclaimed "field guide", not just to reading but also to writing poetry. It is designed to be either read through or used as a reference tool for looking up various terms.

With a number of poems used to illustrate concepts, the book tackles the topics of imagery, rhyme and repetition, meter and style. You'll quickly learn those concepts you thought far beyond your comprehension make perfect sense when illustrated so clearly.

Another good resource is "The Teachers and Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms." This book contains 76 entries on a broad range of poetry types, including both traditional and modern forms. Each entry contains the origin of the name of the form and an example or two.

Everything from blank verse to haiku and insult poems to rap are included, with examples by Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, Pablo Neruda, Woody Guthrie and Allen Ginsberg.

Also, as a part of the Great Courses collection of audio CDs, the library has "How to Read and Understand Poetry" with Professor Willard Spiegelman. This series of audios is published by The Teaching Company and allows you to hear a college-style lecture given by professors from leading colleges and universities.

The goal of this particular title is to help you realize that reading poetry requires no special skill set, and to help you understand how poets effectively use their craft.

If the idea of reading a book on the topic or listening to an audio CD doesn't appeal to you, the Leach Library is hosting a program this month that offers instruction.

"Entering the Realm of Poetry in Seven Easy Steps" is a presentation that will be led by Alice Fogel, a New Hampshire poet who has an upcoming book of a similar title. This workshop-style program will examine different types of poetry and the ways that they can be interpreted.

Attendees will receive a packet of poetry when they arrive, and a discussion will ensue on the various aspects of each poem, including the shape, sound, images and emotions conveyed. You are invited to bring in your favorite pieces of poetry to discuss as well.

The Children's Room will also be celebrating National Poetry Month with a Children's Poetry in the Libraries Day. On Saturday, April 14, local poet Marion Buffington will be at the library from 11 a.m. to noon to share her love of poetry. The program is open to children grades 2 through 5, with advance registration beginning Monday, April 9 at 9 a.m. Be sure to stop by or call early as space is limited.

As Walt Whitman said, "To have great poets, there must be great audiences, too," and we hope you will all join in and be a part of the audience this month. Pick up a book on the topic, or take home a collection of poetry. From Robert Frost to Sylvia Plath, Donald Hall to Emily Dickinson, your choices are numerous.



Kendall Ann Curtis is the public services librarian at Leach Library in Londonderry. Leach Library is located at 276 Mammoth Road in Londonderry. For more information on library events, call 432-1132 or visit the library's Web site at www.londonderrynh.org/library/library.htm.



Upcoming event

April 12

4 to 5 p.m. | Teddy Bears' Picnic. Bring your favorite teddy bear or stuffed friend to the library and join Lois Burbine as she presents an interactive retelling of the classic tale of "Corduroy." Space is limited to 75 (not counting stuffed friends) and advance registration began on Monday. Stop by or call the Children's Room at 432-1127.

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