The Making Of …

Hooray. National Poetry Month is underway.

Small Pond is breaking with tradition and kicking the month off with a Robert Frost poem. For the past 2 years, the celebration started (and ended) with poems by William Stafford.

Stafford’s one of my favorite poets, but I wanted to highlight another favorite this year, so Frost will bookend the month. Don’t worry—Stafford still shows up.

Another change this year is a emphasis on 20th and 21st century American poets. Sure, there’ll be a couple of international poets and some poems written before 1900, but the bulk of poems this year come from 1950 and onwards.

“Where do the poems come from?” I hear you asking.

Every tag represents a poem I enjoyed. I've got collections that look ragged because of the number of paper bits sticking out.
Every tag represents a poem I enjoyed. I’ve got collections that look ragged because of the number of paper bits sticking out.

When Small Pond started celebrating National Poetry Month, I drew from my collection of poetry books. My collection includes a smattering of anthologies (including one I put together myself for myself) and about 2 dozen single-poet collections. Poetry Month on the blog highlights my go-to poets—the ones who strike a chord for me and from whom I know I can always find a half dozen or so wonderful poems—and poets who I’ve just discovered through this project. To be honest, I tend to avoid including long poems simply because I appreciate your stopping by the pond and know your time is valuable.

I haven’t exhausted my favorites from books I own by any means, but I branched out this year and picked up 3 collections from the library: The Best American Poetry of 2011, The Best American Poetry of 2012, and Twentieth-Century American Poetry.

The Best American Poetry series is great. You get a collection of current poetry that likely hasn’t made it into larger anthologies or even into a poet’s next collection. Each volume of the series is guest edited by a different poet so you get a slightly different slant to what’s included. The books end with notes on each included poet and often notes on what inspired their included poems. Go check them out. I plan to buy the 2011 edition since so many of the poems jumped out at me.

That’s a look at how this year’s collection came about. Each day’s poem should be live on the web site around 11:30 a.m. EDT. Occasionally, I want to comment on a particular poem: why it made it into the collection or what it means to me; those posts tend to go live around 1:30 p.m. EDT.

You can use the blog’s RSS feed to follow along or subscribe to receive emails when a new post goes live—links are at the bottom of the page. If the emails get to be too much, unsubscribe through the link to do so in one of the notification emails. I won’t be offended: 30+ emails can be a bit much if you’re not excited about poetry.

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