Random Acts of Poetry Week

pretty how town

I just found out that this week – Oct. 3-9 – poets across the country (and the UK and Ireland) will be delivering Random Acts of Poetry. On the streets, in the parks, at bus stops, schools, cafes, shops and libraries, they’ll be accosting regular passers-by and reading them poetry.

The point, according to the report I read, is to promote literacy in Canada, and so after being hit with the reading, the accostee will be presented with a book of Canadian poetry. Designated readers will also have information about literacy issues in Canada and suggestions on how to support literacy in the community.

The other goal is just to help change the perception of poetry as a bitter pill, and invite people to slow down a little and enjoy some nourishment for the soul.

I don’t know if anything is happening this year in my community – although I know that Nancy Holmes from UBC Okanagan used to be a designated reader here in Kelowna. But to commemorate the event I want to post one of my own favourites for you to read.

And since this is about random acts of poetry, I’m expecting some sharing from you. I don’t care if it’s something brilliant by Shakespeare himself or a little ditty you penned yourself one inspiring afternoon. It’s all in good fun – just remember to say a few words about why you chose it, as I will.

The poem I picked is by an American poet I adore – the incredibly bizarre e.e. cummings and his anyone lived in a pretty how town. I’ll spare you the lit class, but basically I like it because of the musical quality of the words, the esoteric approach and because sometimes I feel like I am anyone; at other times like noone (yes, they’re character names).

Anyway, it’s poetry, yes, but read it. Preferably out loud. Do it for you, even if you hate poetry. Then add something – yes, do. Who knows, you just might get something from it.

anyone lived in a pretty how town
By e.e. cummings

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did

pretty how town 02Women and men (both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed (but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then) they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all deed by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

– Words and top photo by Lori-Anne Poirier

– Lower photo by Kyle L. Poirier

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