To say that our experiment with submissions for April, National Poetry Month, was a success would be an understatement. More accurate is that our inbox almost broke, it was so full of poems from readers from Durango to the Four Corners and beyond. We received work from frequent letter-writers, as well as those we don’t normally hear from. Some even tried to slip in poems from faraway places, out of state, under cover. Our salute to poetry month on Opinion pages was that popular.
Poets shared so much – on occasion, even too much – from happenings in their gardens to feelings excavated from deep inside their souls. Joyful and heart-wrenching times, and everything in between. We heard much about things learned in an instant. Love found, lost or wrecked, and epiphanies that set locals to take different tacks, transforming who they were.
The power of poetry brought in middle-schoolers with wide-eyed dreams and senior citizens who have seen Durango transform itself multiple times, from hard days in the ’80s to the city it is now. Or is becoming.
Some poets pushed the boundaries of taste in our G-rated newspapers, leaving us to wonder about highly charged metaphors. Others were so on the nose, their poems didn’t land in our pages because there was no opportunity for imagination. It was that clear. (You know who you are. Nice try, though.)
Equally important, not everyone embraced poetry month. To those who really got behind the letter to the editor with the headline “Enough Already with the Poems,” we hear you. Honestly, we didn’t expect so many submissions. And to the person who was annoyed to read yet another poem online when she opened what she thought was a letter, we will sort out this situation and likely create a special section for poetry, if we do this again. Our deluge of poetry crowded out our usual number of letters to the editor.
Now, we are ready to get back to the business of discourse. You are always welcome to submit an issue-oriented letter in poetic verse, as long it pertains to topics we discuss in these pages.
Overall, though, hold your personal poems until next year. We are no longer accepting them, as it’s May, no longer poetry month, and we’d be out of compliance. With so much creative expression in our communities, next April we know we would be better able to brace ourselves, er, uh, we mean accept the multitude of entries.
We’ll run some remaining poems in the next week or two. If you don’t see your poem in one of our printed additions, take a look online.
Thank you for sharing not only your words and creative work, but your inner lives with us. It’s been interesting. And fun. Stay tuned, as we consider how to celebrate poetry month next year, in a way that serves all of our readers, including those who could do without so much poetry.
In the spirit of poetry month, we leave you with the words of master Chilean poet Pablo Neruda from the first stanza of “When I Die I Want Your Hands On My Eyes,” just because we think they are beautiful.
When I die I want your hands on my eyes:
I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands
to pass their freshness over me one more time
to feel the smoothness that changed my destiny.