Getting ready for World Poetry Day

by Ingrid Robeyns on January 29, 2012

Last Thursday, we celebrated national poetry day in the Netherlands. The cultural office of my university asked all staff teaching on that day to read a poem during class. I selected a couple from a volume edited by Amnesty International, which has translations of wonderful poems by great poets like Nazim Hikmet or Pablo Neruda. Yet since I forgot the book at home, I took refuge to the internet, where I found some lovely poems by Miriam van Hee, a Belgian/Flemish poet who writes in a sober and accessible style and whose poems I read quite a bit in my youth. That’s how I ended my teaching that day, and I hope to be lucky that next year national poetry day is again on a day when I teach.

All this reminded me of a delightful thread we had here at CT a while back, in which Trane suggested we could all come up with translations of our own favorite poems. In slightly amended fashion, I suggest the following: on 21 March, World Poetry Day, I will open a thread where everyone can post a poem of their own making or their favorite poem by someone else – and in both cases with or without translation into English/Globish. Go write, people!



Henry 01.29.12 at 7:37 pm

Not a poem, but an extemporaneous translation of _in vino veritas_ by a guy I used to know called Mac Darrow.

Many a True Word
Is Slurred


Ingrid Robeyns 01.29.12 at 7:39 pm

Hey Henry, you have to wait till the 21st of March! I’m just giving people a heads-up since I suppose most of us need some time to write a good poem, or indeed translate one :-)


William Timberman 01.29.12 at 8:28 pm

Some of us already have a few up our sleeves. Will we need until March to decide whether or not we dare expose the rest of the world to them? Decisions, decisions…..


Henry 01.29.12 at 9:04 pm

Oh, I know, but since it’s not a Reel Pome …


Andreas Moser 01.29.12 at 9:27 pm

I have no sense for poetry at all, so I’ll rather read a novel on that day.


John Quiggin 01.30.12 at 9:20 am

A great idea. Is it OK to post a song?


Ingrid Robeyns 01.30.12 at 7:00 pm

OK, perhaps we should rebaptise it into ‘creative-with-words day’. Hope that meets everybody’s needs & desires!


Bloix 01.30.12 at 10:52 pm

I commit to posting a poem. Of my own making.


G. Mcthornbody 01.31.12 at 2:31 am

Does it have to be a new poem? Or can I add one from several years ago when I was far more creative?


maidhc 01.31.12 at 7:38 am

I don’t write poetry but I have some favourite poems. They also have a reason why they are on my short list. I can post one with its story if that is what the plan is. I can easily pick one that is less than 20 lines or so.


Z 01.31.12 at 9:27 am

Such a great idea!


Shelley 01.31.12 at 7:03 pm

I already have!


Ingrid Robeyns 02.01.12 at 8:49 am

Bloix: thanks!
G. Mcthornbody: of course, it should be fun for us, so there should only be minimal rules. So new poems, old poems, poems-in-progress… all welcome.

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