Our Team Reveals Their Favorite Poems
In celebration of National Poetry Month, we asked our team members to reveal their favorite poems, the lines that entrance them, the images that woo them. See what they said below! A special thanks to poets.org for making our favorite poems so readily available.
PWN’s fearless leader and executive director, Jennifer Chauhan, who is teaching Memoir Writing Intensive, said, “One of my favorite poems from one of my favorite poets is “Valentine for Ernest Mann,” by Naomi Shihab Nye. I love using this poem with my students to start a workshop, showing them that poems live everywhere (even in the eyes of skunks). It’s a call to live life seeking beauty and stories and poems and humanity everywhere.”
Thank you, Jen! We love the idea that poetry is everywhere!
Our resident songwriter, Mimi Cross, said “‘Archaic Torso of Apollo’ by Rainer Maria Rilke is one of her favorite poems. “It had an immense impact on my writing life. I’ve used it in my classes more than once in the hopes of inspiring that same type of shift in others. It’s like sending up a brilliant flare…”
Thanks, Mimi! I bet you use this poem in Choosing the Artist’s Path!
Our poetry guru who teaches our Intro to Poetry and Poetry classes, Laura Cyphers, said “I cannot say I have a favorite; I can say I have at least 100 favorites over the last two years. However, I love ‘Lover’ by Ada Limón because it embodies the bittersweetness of life these last two years. Lover is also one of my favorite words to say.”
Beautiful, Laura! We love love too!
PWN instructor Gay Edelman, who teaches Write For You, puts forth one of her own creations! “I wrote this poem at a PWN workshop at the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center on a recent Saturday. We did a ‘found poetry’ exercise, and I ‘found’ this poem, which carries a message about facing life on life’s terms and never, ever giving up.”
Love this Gay! We should all be writing more poetry.
Lisa Hartsgrove, PWN program coordinator and instructor who leads our weekly Lunchtime Write-Ins on Fridays and teaches Just Critique, said, “My favorite poem is ‘A House Called Tomorrow’ by Alberto Ríos, (though I love all of Ríos’ work). What makes this poem stand out to me is the way it inspires a feeling of purpose. This poem reminds me of the history that has shaped me, but also reminds me that my future is mine to forge. ‘What we bring, finally, into the new day, every day, // Is ourselves. And that’s all we need / To start.’ This poem releases me of my past while acknowledging it at the same time. It reminds me of my individuality while giving me a sense of connection. When I’m feeling down or lost or stuck in negative self-talk, I read this poem to remind me that I still matter. We all do. Always.”
Wow, thanks, Lisa! We could all use a feeling of purpose during these turbulent times.
PWN’s program director and co-founder, Allison Tevald, who is teaching Define Your Personal Project this Spring Session II, said: “There’s only been one poem I’ve hung on my wall: ‘Wild Geese’ by Mary Oliver. I can’t say ‘favorite,’ because that changes constantly, but I return to this poem more often than most.”
We love this one too, Allison! Thanks for sharing!