Celebrating National Poetry Month

ABRAMS President & CEO Michael Jacobs Reflects

painting

April has passed and so has this year’s National Poetry Month. That hasn’t stopped me, however,  from sending around a few bonus poems and tracks as habits–even recently acquired ones–sometimes die hard.

Since I started sending a poem-a-day (more or less) to the US and UK staff six weeks ago, having started a week early when I was in Bologna,  you’ve received around 40 poems from more than 35  poets.

Mostly, they’ve been poems that I knew or had discovered or poems that I came across by chance or by association.  They are poems that, for some reason or another, struck me or poems that I had stashed in a “drafts folder” on my laptop waiting to be sent or not sent if or when the mood struck.

Screen shot 2013-05-03 at 3.53.58 PM

 

Usually, I sent them early in my day, often before full morning light and before my senses were completely about me. And I was mindful that, before I over-edited my choices, or gave in to my hesitations, before I thought too, too hard about the audience (you) for the poems, in other words, when there still seemed to be some “risk” involved via misinterpretation or the desire that they be liked by all or hated by some, that a “first principle” of trusting my instincts and embracing that risk would be my guide.

artichokes

 

Often the poems were really ways of having others more talented than I describe the world as experienced or imagined as in a picture or a painting, a photograph, a film a song, a conversation conjured in images, in lines, in stanzas, in verses, in  words.

piazza-maggiore

 

At other times they were to just see what might touch whom and how and when and to have others, if  I was lucky, let me know why.

arcade-bologna

 

In the end, the poems are and were just sketches by somewhat unreliable narrators–with yours truly as interlocutor–and signs pointing toward where I or you or they had been. Or, of where we might be going, where we wish we’d been, where we wanted to go. I hope that through these poems, these sketches, these reminders of things you knew but forgot or never knew but perhaps were vaguely reminded or remembered you had a chance to imagine yourself in a world of your making.

tate

 

Me–for better or worse, I’ve lately been beset with a bad case of the “Emilys” as I am both deeply in thrall of and horribly confounded by an ongoing encounter with the Belle of Amherst.  She, whose thoughts and sounds, syllables and images as always both entice and elude and leave me, in the morning, at noon, in the dusk of evening and in the dark, starlit night in awe of her words:

white-oak

The Red—Blaze—is the Morning—
The Violet—is Noon–
The Yellow—Day—is falling–
And after that—is none–

But Miles of Sparks—at Evening–
Reveal the Width that burned–
The Territory Argent—that
Never yet—consumed–

tombstone

 

Michael Jacobs is President & CEO of ABRAMS.

by
on Friday, May 3rd, 2013
in Poetry Month
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