26 April 2012

Poem in Your Pocket Day: Ode to a Book II

For the past several weeks I have been asking friends, family, and colleagues what poem they plan to carry for Poem in Your Pocket Day.  While poetry is desirable to me all year long, it’s lovely to have one month a year where we see an extra emphasis on poetry.  Adding to the pleasure is a day of carrying and sharing poems for Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Today I am carrying Ode to the Book II by Pablo Neruda.  I selected this poem because I really love Neruda’s poems, and I’m ruminating on a summer when my husband and I enjoyed reading Neruda’s poems together and drinking fine beverages from Chile.  Since neither of us read Spanish, we were careful to select translations we thought would be reliable and settled on The Essential Neruda:  Selected Poems edited by Mark Eisner.  A City Lights Books publication, the selection includes the poems written in Spanish on one side of the page and in English on the other side.
Our Neruda reading summer bled into the fall when we returned to school, and I found myself sharing Neruda’s poems with my students.  Because a large number of my students were bilingual, I enjoyed listening to them read Neruda’s poems in Spanish and then in English prior to our vibrant text-based class discussions.  This classroom memory obviously stayed with one student because she spent last semester (her senior year of college) in Chile studying through an exchange program at the University of Kentucky.  She posted a picture of Neruda’s home on facebook and considerately tagged me in the post; she actually thought of her former high school English teacher while she was in Chile!

Tomorrow I plan to share poem titles and thoughts on Poem in Your Pocket Day 2012, so if you are reading and carrying a poem today, please tell me, so I can add you to my list of people who shared their pocket poems with me.