In celebration of National Poetry Month, every day we're posting a new poem from the spoken-word album Poetic License, a three-CD set that features one hundred performers of stage and screen reading one hundred poems selected by the actors themselves. From Shakespeare and Dickinson to Lucille Clifton and Allen Ginsberg, the lineup spans contemporary American poetry and classics of the Western canon.
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950) was an East Village bohemian poet and playwright who was educated at Vassar on a scholarship awarded on the basis of a poem that later became the title piece of her first book, Renascence and Other Poems (Mitchell Kennerley, 1917). Her later works include A Few Figs From Thistles (M. Shay, 1920), The Buck in the Snow (Harper & Brothers, 1928) and Mine the Harvest, published posthumously by Harper in 1954.
Michael Learned, widely known for her role as Olivia Walton on The Waltons, has appeared in numerous other television programs, as well as in regional theater and on Broadway. Her stage performances include roles in Antony and Cleopatra, the stage adaptation of Dylan Thomas's radio play Under Milk Wood, Molière's Tartuffe, and Edward Albee's Three Tall Women.
"An Ancient Gesture" by Edna St. Vincent Millay, from Poetic License produced by Glen Roven. Copyright © 2010 by GPR Records. Used with permission of GPR Records.
Spread the word about debut poets and their work with this Pass-Along Poems chapbook. Print, assemble, and bind several handcrafted, saddle-stitched editions. Add your recommendations for first-time poets on the back pages, and while you’re at it, paste in your own polished, unpublished work or that of others you admire.
Need a dose of inspiration for your writing routine this April? Take our Poetry Challenge and try out a new writing prompt or poetry-related assignment every day during National Poetry Month.
The video poem may be ushering a whole new demographic to poetry. Here are six that have been made available to a wide audience on YouTube.