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.
Anne Sexton (1928–1974), a contemporary of Maxine Kumin, Robert Lowell, and Sylvia Plath, turned to writing at the advice of her therapist as a means to manage mental illness. Her works include the poetry collections To Bedlam and Part Way Back (Houghton Mifflin, 1960), All My Pretty Ones (Houghton Mifflin, 1962), Transformations (Houghton Mifflin, 1971), The Awful Rowing Toward God (Houghton Mifflin, 1975), and 45 Mercy Street (Houghton Mifflin, 1976), edited by her daughter, Linda Gray Sexton, as well as the play Mercy Street, produced in 1969. Sexton took her own life in Boston in the fall of 1974.
Peter Paige, who wrote, directed, and starred in the 2005 indie film Say Uncle, has also played in the series Queer as Folk and had guest turns on television programs including Will and Grace and Grey's Anatomy. His stage credits include roles in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, and John Guare's Landscape of the Body.
"To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Triumph" by Anne Sexton, 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 Add your recommendations for first-time poets on the back pages, and while you’re at it, paste in your own polished, unpublished work or that of others you admire.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.