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For Jennifer Reeser, Web conferred blessings on perspective and more

Part 3 of 3 What was the world of poetry like before most Americans gained access to the Internet? For one thing, fewer poets were published. In order to get into a print magazine, your work was vetted by an editor. Universities controlled most public readings. In one sense, you had to be known to the ‘knowns’ in order to climb the ladder of publication and rewards. Although much has changed since that time, much remains the same. 

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Photo circa 1940 by Marion Post Walcott for US Government project. Bayou in Schriever, LA. (US Library of Congress)

The making of the incredibly versatile Jennifer Reeser

Pt. 2 of 3 Jennifer Reeser, in case you missed the first article in our series about her, is no ordinary writer. Exceptional poet, widely praised translator, essayist, and reviewer, Reeser has long refused to confine her intellect to one form or genre. Years ago, a famous poet’s son who became an accomplished writer told how his father “made his head.” As with everything, seeds of one’s future are sown at a very young age.

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Cover of Reeser's collection 'The Lalaurie Horror'

Ghost tours and voodoo—nothing off limits for Reeser’s poetry

Pt. 1 of 3 Let’s face it. Poetry can be boring. On the other hand, poetry can be exhilarating when the writer dares to tread on murky ground. Jennifer Reeser does the latter. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and in her own collections, and you never know what subject she will tackle next. A master sonneteer and expert at other forms as well, her poems fall flawlessly on the ear. Among those I found extremely interesting is Reeser’s collection The Lalaurie Horror, described as a “poetic ghost tour” of a mansion once owned by an alleged female serial

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El Plomo mummy copy photo Jason Quinn

A brutal headline rekindles a poem I will never forget

Each night I take about 30 minutes to read news before I go to bed. For some reason, this usually relaxes me, a fact that confounds my husband. Last night, the opposite happened. I read a news story about a murder, and the details are permanently impressed on my memory. The story was about the killing of a baby. 

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Colleagues, journalists, former students and many others came together to celebrate poet and novelist James Dickey's 70th birthday in 1993. (Photo: Indie Art South)

National Poetry Day launches in UK, but Americans get in on the fun

At first I thought it was a mistake because I’ve covered National Poetry Month stories for a long time. In the US, April is the month we celebrate poetry. As I read through posts on the Twitter cesspool, I realized the Brits celebrate the genre differently. Turns out today, October 4, is National Poetry Day in the United Kingdom. It also turns out I found some nice poems nestled in a lot of lame verses. 

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Browning’s poem beat mine, but I agreed with the decision

It’s happened before and it will happen again. It’s happened to me personally and professionally. One simple poem can stop all motion and inspire even the most hardened anti-poetry type. I have many examples of this, based in part on the tours and readings I did to promote my book. My most recent experience happened on my deck out back on one of our football Saturdays. 

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*Featured photo is from the US Library of Congress. It was taken between 1920-1930. It is from the National Photo Company Collection.

Like football? We have poems for that, you know

About five years ago, a professor at the US Naval Academy got into hot water. Why? He included a football poem for students to read in his English class. The poem was about football, it’s true, but like any fine poem, it’s about far more than that. Professor Bruce Fleming’s decision to teach “Kong Looks Back on his Tryout With the Bears” was a blessing to me even though I don’t know him. 

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Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. (IAS photo)

Summer poems trend with forced rhymes, but not all is lost

Perhaps only a psychic could see how Twitter selects trends each day, but at present, you’ll find #PoemToWelcomeSummer among top items. The topic shows 1, 546 Tweets as I write this, compared with another trend, #ILikeIt, with 673,000 current Tweets. Maybe some Twitter controller just had a beam in his eye for childhood summers.  The Twitterverse jumping on the summer poems chain gang favored forced rhymes and ditties. Poems included advice on sunscreen and laments about kids already bored now that school is out. All, however, is not lost. 

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Jayne Jaudon Ferrer at an event with Mayhem Poets.

Carolina author keeps Poetry Month Parade alive

Jayne Jaudon Ferrer is a successful author crossing different genres, but her labor of love is Your Daily Poem. For years, Ferrer sent a poem each day to her list of subscribers at Your Daily Poem. She’s debating options for the listserv, but she decided to keep the tradition of a Poetry Parade during April when National Poetry Month is celebrated. 

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Robert Frost house Ripon VT

When was the last time you read a poem?

In the mid-nineties, Americans began to celebrate April as National Poetry Month, courtesy of the Academy of American Poets. The celebration is observed by those who still love what is arguably the most difficult art to do well. When was the last time you read a poem? Maybe it’s time. 

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