To stay socially connected while we are physically distant, join Tulane University Libraries in celebrating National Poetry Month this April. Anyone from the Tulane community —students, faculty, staff, and alumni—can submit their favorite short poem in any language or any format, ranging from epic poetry to spoken word. To participate, provide your name, affiliation, the poem you want to share, some information about it, a picture of yourself (photos are optional), and even a short video of yourself reading the poem.
"In addition to being a poet, [Larkin] was also a librarian... This particular poem references New Orleans and Sidney Bechet, who was a saxophonist, a contemporary of Louis Armstrong, and one of the pioneers of early jazz." - David Banush
Read Philip Larkin's "For Sidney Bechet" here, and submit your own favorite poem here.
"Emily Dickinson is the first poet I discovered that spoke to me. Every other poet seemed to have feelings and emotions that were so distant. Ms. Dickinson echoed so perfectly how I felt." - Carrie Moulder
Read Emily Dickinson's "Because I could not stop for Death" here, and submit your own favorite poem here.
"I wrote this poem as a way of working through the loss of social interaction with strangers. I am sharing it with the hope that it gives voice to some of the feelings people might be having right now: worry, disorientation, loss." - Matthew Sumpter
Learn more about Matthew Sumpter here, and submit your own favorite poem here.
"Russell Edson's works consistently push our preconceived notions of what constitutes poetry with conversational, almost script-like dialogue, and an often terrifying dose of absurdism. His poems are absolutely bizarre, and I love 'em." - Jared Goudsmit
Read Russell Edson's "Ape" here, and submit your own favorite poem here.
"The month of April 2020 has, of course, been a particularly unusual month for us as we struggle with loss and so much that is different from our normal routine. When the library asked if I would record a poem to help celebrate the month, my mind went immediately to a poem by Elizabeth Bishop, one of my favorite poets...She is someone who learned at an early age something about loss." - Brian Edwards, Dean and Professor of English, Tulane School of Liberal Arts
Read Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art" here, and submit your own favorite poem here.
Peter Cooley, Professor of English Emeritus at the Tulane School of Liberal Arts, has shared an original poem about the corona virus entitled, "Shelter in Place." On his morning walks, he usually passes by his neighbor's yard where morning glories grow all over the fence with a sign that reads, "Please take." The neighbor's sign and career as a nurse at Ochsner hospital inspired this poem.
Read more about Peter Cooley here, and submit your own favorite poem here.
Sarah Covert, Tulane almuna and staff member in the Freeman School of Business, chose this poem because it reminds her of comforting things and of her childhood because her parents read it to her. She loves how the writing matches the kinetic energy of being on a swing.
Read Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Swing" here, and submit your own favorite poem here.
This semester, students in PORT3290 attended a special research session at the Latin American Library to learn about their extensive collection of cordel poetry from Brazil. Cordéis are short pamphlets with highly metric rhyming verses, often about quotidian and even silly topics. Megwen Loveless, Senior Professor of Practice in Tulane's Department of Spanish and Portuguese, chose this poem by undergraduate Stephanie Holden in which she describes the indifference her cat shows to humans.
Read Stephanie Holden's "O gato irreverente" here, and submit your own favorite poem here.
"While incarcerated, [Corso] liked to read dictionaries...He loved just the sound of words. That's one of the things I like about this poem. The way it gives you pleasure in just the sound of words," shares Leon Miller, Curator of Louisiana Research Collection at Tulane University Libraries' Special Collections.
Read Gregory Corso's "Marriage" here, and submit your own favorite poem here.
"The Newcomb Institute has the honor and privilege of hosting Layli Long Solider as the 2020-2021 Aron's poet. She will be on campus next academic year for a reading and workshop. We really hope that you can join us for this truly special time, not only to listen to an exceptionally talented poet share her work but for all of us to enjoy the opportunity to finally gather together and celebrate together with members of the Tulane community. To share moments like this are really beacons of light during these dark times," says Julie Qiu, Senior Program Coordinator at Tulane Newcomb Institute.
Read Lily Long Soldier's "Whereas" here, and submit your own favorite poem here.
"This has been one of my favorite poems since I first read it in a Spanish literature class during my freshman year of college at Wesleyan University in 1999. I love the repeated green imagery for things usually and rarely verdant. The class I first read it in solidified my love of Spanish language and literature, which led me to study abroad in Spain and eventually laid the path for me to become the Latin American Studies and Spanish & Portuguese subject librarian at Tulane," shares Rachel Stein, Research and Instruction Librarian at the Tulane University Latin American Library.
Read Federico Garcia Lorca's "Romance sonámbulo (Verde que te quiero verde)" here, and submit your own favorite poem here.
Michelle Kohler, Associate Professor of English at Tulane University's School of Liberal Arts, been teaching a class on poetry and politics this semester. She and her students collectively read Karisma Price's "Things that Fold" on Zoom during their last week of class before finals. They chose this poem by Karisma Price, who is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor and poet in the English Department, because it discusses disaster, systemic inequality, efforts and failures, and both personal and communal loss. Kohler says, "We loved the way her list of "things that fold" moves quietly among literal and figurative meanings. This poem that thinks about Hurricane Katrina also helps us think about the politics and grief of our current moment."
Participating students include: Sari Axelrod, Brooke Benjamin, Emmy Cohen, Fabiana Lacau, Nick Villalobos, Georgia Ryle, Frankie Gaynor, Riley Hamburg, Mia Schneller, Mary O'Dea, Grace O'Brien, and Samantha Schiller.
Read Karisma Price's "Things that Fold" at Four Way Review here, and submit your own favorite poem here.
Michelle Gibeault, Tulane University Libraries' Scholarly Engagement Librarian for the Humanities, writes, "I chose this poem because, if we let it, the art born out of the HIV pandemic can help us through this moment too." According to the Poetry Foundation, "A poet and performer known for his political edge, Essex Hemphill openly addressed race, identity, sexuality, HIV/AIDS, and the family in his work, voicing issues central to the African American gay community."
Read more about Essex Hemphill here, and submit your own favorite poem here.
Sneha Rout is Research Scholar at Tulane School of Public health and Tropical Medicine. She is balancing her diet of nutrition and food security research work but the seasoned poetic outbursts seem to outnumber her COVID-19 quarantine days. Submit your own favorite poem here.
"This is a Malay pantun, a short oral form of love poetry originally dating from the 15th century. It consists of four lines in an abab rhyme scheme. Even in a rough English translation, it expresses a lovely sentiment, and in Malay it simply flows—as every good poem should," writes Bruce Smith, Cataloging Specialist at Howard-Tilton Memorial Library.