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Poetry in Motion

We often think of poetry as a rather passive thing. We picture poetry-readers with a volume of poetry open in their laps, gazing dreamily at the distant landscape outside the window.  That kind of thing.

And, sure.  There is that.  

But poetry can be active, too.  Lively.  Fun . . . even!


(I often find poetry in my garden.  Poetry without any words.)

Today, I thought I'd share some more active ways to introduce some poetry into your day!  Poetry in motion, indeed.

You can watch it!

Wondering what to stream next?  How about a movie about a poet? (Disclaimer: I have not seen the first 2 movies on this list, but I've seen the other 5 and can highly recommend.)

Before Night Falls - This 2001 critically-acclaimed film is based on the life of Cuban poet Reinaldo Reinas.  Starring Javier Bardem, this movie is available to rent on Amazon Prime for $1.99.

Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle - This 1994 film, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Matthew Broderick, is about the life of acclaimed writer Dorothy Parker and her involvement with the Algonquin round-table.  This movie is also available to rent on Amazon Prime for $1.99.

Bright Star - This 2009 period-drama tells the tale of the passionate romance between poet John Keats and his muse, Fanny Brawne.  This one is available to rent on Amazon Prime for $3.99.  (Have your Kleenex ready.)

And if poet-biopics aren't your thing, you can also try a movie that's about poetry, but not about an actual poet:    Dead Poets Society, Shakespeare in Love, and Four Weddings and a Funeral.  (Okay.  So that last one is a real stretch, but there is a great poem in there!)  All three of these are available to rent on Amazon Prime for $3.99, and "Shakespeare" and "Four Weddings" are also streaming on Hulu right now.

You can listen to it!

Do you like listening to someone else read poetry for you?  (It's pretty wonderful, I just gotta say.)  You might like checking out a poetry podcast.

The Slowdown - for 5 minutes of poetry every weekday hosted by former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, this one is balm for the soul.

Interesting People Reading Poetry - this short (occasional) podcast features various artists and luminaries reading a favorite poem and then explaining why they like it.  It's hosted by Andy and Brendan Stermer, and even though they don't broadcast regularly anymore, there are plenty of episodes to enjoy.

Audio Poem of the Day - from the Poetry Foundation, this daily podcast features one poem every day - classic or contemporary - read by poets or actors.

You can click on any of the links above to visit the podcast sites, and from there you'll be able to listen from your computer or device.  If you'd like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that through whichever podcast app you use.

You can also visit The Poetry Archive to access a vast collection of poems being read aloud by their authors.  This site is a true treasure!  It's searchable, and includes an amazing collection of poems and poets.  There is nothing quite like hearing a poet reading their own words.  Check it out!

You can write it!

Yeah.  This is the one that is hardest for me.  I love poetry!  I read it every day.  I listen to it read to me every day.  But writing it?  Not so much.  One year I did a 100-days project . . . where I wrote a haiku every day.  It was really fun!  My haikus weren't very good, but with practice I did get a little better.

Maybe you want to try your hand at writing haiku?  Here's how!  It's easy and it's fun.  (And you never have to share them if you don't want to.)


And now, here's a poem that's just fun.  (And I can use some fun today.)  (Because it's snowing.)


Twelve Things I Don't Want to Hear
Connie Bensley

Assemble this in eight straightforward steps.
Start with a fish stock, made the day before.
The driver has arrived but sadly, drunk.
We'll need some disinfectant for the floor.
Ensure all surfaces are clean and dry.
There's been a problem, Madam, I'm afraid!
We'd better have the manhole cover up.
Apologies, the doctor's been delayed.
I'd love to bring a friend, he's so depressed.
They've put you on the camp bed in the hall.
There's just one table left, perhaps you'd share?
I know it's midnight, but I had to call . . . 


Today's poem was published in Poetry to Make You Smile, 2005, Octopus Publishing Group Ltd., with a forward by Jane O. Wayne.  Information about the author can be found here.


Have a great weekend, everyone.  May you find solace in words!




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Oooh, I really like the idea of hearing someone read a poem aloud - thanks for those links in particular.


Another movie with poet theme: Possession Available on Amazon Prime for $3.99

Or read the book by A.S. Byatt


I love your active watching and listening to poetry suggestions, especially The Slowdown! I've been listening to the Poetry Unbound podcast and really enjoying it; you might also.


I love deeply Poetry Unbound (thank you Mary for that heads up!) and also the Writer's Almanac... And, yes, The Slowdown. My morning minutes are so much better thanks to Poetry!

Writing it... oh my. In my dreams! XOXO

kathy b

Oh my gosh. I Have to get that poet's books! WONDERFUl and it make me laugh!


I love the 12 Things poem....made me laugh.


I think what people often miss about poetry is that often it can't fully be appreciated unless it's read aloud. Something about adding a voice really makes it come alive!

I'm impressed that you wrote a haiku a day -- haikus are not easy to write, or at least not easy to write well! I used to write a lot of poetry (as a much younger person), but almost always went for free verse.


Mary and Barry have been keeping me company this month and, tritely, so has Emily.


Padraig O'Tuama's Poetry Unbound is a bookend for my week. You will LOVE it! (and that scene from Four Weddings is one of my favorites!) xoxo.


I love both Poetry Unbound and The Slowdown. Poetry read aloud is such a treat.

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