There must be something one can say about National Poetry Month starting on April Fool’s Day. But I can’t, or won’t.
For National Poetry Month 2011, TweetSpeak Poetry will be featuring a series of posts on poets living and dead, published and unpublished, and including links to sites that we’ve found on the internet that are all about poetry.
The internet has done something that no one really expected – it’s moved poetry from the academy to the web, and revitalized it with the lifeblood of the streets. You can find every kind of poetry imaginable (and some unimaginable) on the web – good, bad, indifferent, soaring, sonnets, rondels, limericks, funny, serious, eulogies; you name it, it’s all there.
One indication of this interweaving of poem and web: earlier this week, One Stop Poetry was one of the five finalists for a Shorty Award in the arts category – and it won. Imagine a site devoted to poetry winning any kind of internet-related award! Several of the creators of One Stop Poetry were on hand at the dinner in New York for the announcement – and they tweeted all over Twitter in their excitement.
Each of our posts this month will feature a poem. And what better way to start than with a poem by the most recent winner of the National Book Award for poetry, Terrance Hayes, who received the honor for Lighthead: Poems.
Fish Head for Katrina
The mouth is where the dead
Who are not dead do not dream
A house of damaged translations
Task married to distraction
As in a bucket left in a storm
A choir singing in the rain like fish
Acquiring air under water
Prayer and sin the body
Performs to know it is alive
Lit from the inside by reckoning
As in a city
Which is no longer a city
The tongue reaching down a tunnel
And the teeth wet as windows
Set along a highway
Where the dead live in the noise
Of their shotgun houses
They drift from their wards
Like fish spreading thin as a song
Diminished by its own opening
Split by faith and soaked in it
The mouth is a flooded machine
Lighthead is Terrance Hayes’ fourth collection of poetry. A professor of creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University, Hayes has received the National Poetry Series Open Competition award, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, a Pushcart Prize, three Best American Poetry selections, a Whiting Writers Award, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Other books of poetry by Hayes include Hip Logic, the collections elected for the National Poetry series; Muscular Music; and Wind in a Box. He was born in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1971 and lives with his family in Pittsburgh.