August is Poetry Month

Poetry Month (1–31 August) is a new initiative presented by Red Room Poetry to increase the profile of Australian poetry, poets and publishers.

Our goal is to increase access, awareness, value and visibility of poetry in all its forms and for all audiences. The inaugural Poetry Month will be held during August 2021 with the aim of an ongoing annual celebration.

Red Room Poetry

Amongst many other things, August is Poetry Month here at This Reading Life. The wonderful folk at Red Room Poetry have inspired me to focus on all things poetry throughout August. Especially Australian poetry.

I am in no way an expert on poetry appreciation and I often battle various inner demons to even pick up a book of poetry. But when I do, when I find the right collection, I am astounded and amazed and moved beyond words. Discovering another’s poetic voice; their rage, their love, their hope and despair, is like suddenly dropping into another world that you didn’t know existed, only to find someone who understands you completely, or someone who pushes your understanding of the world to entirely new levels.

Poetry has the power to comfort and confound in one sentence.

It can tell a story – an epic, life-changing, dramatic story or something much more simple, some little detail from everyday life illuminated by our close gaze.

The mechanics of a poem often elude me. The forms and types, the rules of meter and rhyme leave me scratching my head. Which is probably why I tend to be drawn towards free verse poems. I enjoy the unstructured, wild ride the free verse poet takes me on. But I’m also a fan of haiku, one of the most structured, precise forms of poetry available. One of the reasons I now blog about my favourite poems, is to expand my knowledge about such things.

Throughout August, I will revisit some old favourites and highlight new-to-me collections. I hope to listen to some of the reading sessions scheduled on the Red Room calendar. Check out the past winner links on the Peter Porter Poetry Prize to see where the Australian poetry scene is right now.

For a more international poetry perspective, try the online poetry sessions from the Emily Dickinson Museum and their Phosphorescence series. They have been a pure delight during these lockdown times.

Join Jennifer @Holds Upon Happiness for her weekly A Poem For A Thursday, a place where we share our favourite poems.

But for now, I will leave you with the words of Barbara Kingsolver, recently interviewed by Ashley Hay for the Griffith Review.

I love poetry for its close, elegant focus. Pure language, the execution of a perfect moment, an explosive meeting of two previously unacquainted thoughts…A novel is a station wagon; you can stuff a lot of big themes in there, whole families of characters, and take them for a long ride, even picking up hitchhikers along the way. A poem is a unicycle. It can convey only a small parcel, exquisitely balanced. And delivering that package is not even the point, it turns out. Just climbing up there and holding it all in motion is the wow.

Don’t be afraid to let your poems do what only poetry can, and go the places that poetry alone gets to go….Poetry is a cradle that rocks us in the mother tongue.

A poem is a unicycle’ | A conversation on poetry, politics and post-truth | Barbara Kingsolver & Ashley Hay | Griffith Review 71

My previous Australian Poems For a Thursday:

16 thoughts on “August is Poetry Month

  1. I actually reviewed a Red Room anthology earlier this year – Guuwayu – For All Times – which I really enjoyed and which I had some idea you were going to read too. One poetry book a year should do me but if I see something suitable I’ll do a post for poetry month.


    1. Thanks Jen, you continue to inspire me to delve into poetry with you weekly poem. I often get waylaid by other things, but I always check out what you’ve picked each week.


  2. I very much enjoyed your lovely post and thanks for the links (the Kingsolver quote was great BTW). I’ll definitely have to check out the Thursday poems and find some new favorites.
    Although I’m a bit intimidated by poetry and am quite ignorant of its formal aspects, I enjoy reading it at times and still manage to find poems that show me an entirely new way of viewing the world (as you say, when a poem connects, it really connects). I find it interesting how so many of us (myself included), however, limit our poetry reading or avoid it altogether. In my own case, I think this stems from the fact that poetry makes me slow down, re-read lines to savor the beauty and, frequently, really think about the meaning. A novel, on the other hand, can be skimmed very quickly and seems to be a better fit for our frantic world.
    I love the idea of having a designated poetry month; it’s such a great way to call attention to poetry and to particular poets. Here in the U.S., I believe April is our national poetry month. In the past I’ve tried to post something on the subject but this year, sad to say, I left the occasion unmarked.


  3. I am not a huge poetry fan but I just read two books, one for my book club by Pablo Neruda, another one for the classics spin by Robert Frost. They both didn’t overwhelm me. But I did enjoy your post. Thanks, Brona.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking about recycling my 6 Robert Frost poems. I read/analysed them a number of years ago when B24 was studying them for his HSC exams, in an attempt to enthuse him…it didn’t work 😀


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s