Poetry surrounds us in our homes, when we read it aloud or are reciting lines in conversation. Maybe your family treasured beloved sonnets, or footprints in the sand. Maybe your aunt put lyrics on her refrigerator, or a parent drilled you on a Maya Angelou poem for school or church. Perhaps poems from the Old Country were passed down in their native language.
For National Poetry Month in April, we’ll be focusing on poems that you grew up reading and hearing, poems that were shared between family.
“It’s often what people go to first when they’re trying find a way of communicate the incommunicable, or what’s hard to say in everyday language,” said Raquel Salas Rivera, Philadelphia’s poet laureate, who grew up with the work of José Martí, Dylan Thomas, Shel Silverstein and Miguel Hernández, among others. “People reference poetry because poetry has a tendency to make us see anew … It forces us to re-experience things, but to perhaps see the truth those experiences contained.”
We want to know all about those experiences. Tell us what poems were shared in your family and have been a part of your life over the years. You can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share a collection of our favorites. Please name the specific poem, tell us your name, where you’re from, and what it means to you.