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Saturday, March 5, 2022

Poetry Is A Call To Action

“Poetry can tell us about what's going on in our lives - not only our personal but our social and political lives.”  Juan Felipe Herrera

The author of nearly two dozen books, the poet, performer, writer, cartoonist, teacher, and activist Herrera was the United States Poet Laureate from 2015-19.  


His experiences as the child of migrant farmers strongly shaped his work, such as the children's book Calling the Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award in 1997.   He also was awarded the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry for Half the World in Light.


“I'm a political poet - let us say a 'human' poet, a poet that's concerned with the plight of people who suffer. If words can be of assistance, then that's what I'm going to use,” he said.  “Poetry is a call to action, and it also is action.”   For Saturday’s Poem, here is Herrera’s,


Let Me Tell You What A Poem Brings 

Before you go further,
let me tell you what a poem brings,
first, you must know the secret, there is no poem
to speak of, it is a way to attain a life without boundaries,
yes, it is that easy, a poem, imagine me telling you this,
instead of going day by day against the razors, well,
the judgments, all the tick-tock bronze, a leather jacket
sizing you up, the fashion mall, for example, from
the outside you think you are being entertained,
when you enter, things change, you get caught by surprise,
your mouth goes sour, you get thirsty, your legs grow cold
standing still in the middle of a storm, a poem, of course,
is always open for business too, except, as you can see,
it isn't exactly business that pulls your spirit into
the alarming waters, there you can bathe, you can play,
you can even join in on the gossip—the mist, that is,
the mist becomes central to your existence.


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