Don't Put Yourself In A Box, Unless It's On Twitter: Detroit Poet Reads #NPRpoetry
We're going big on National Poetry Month by going small: We invite our readers to dabble in the literary genre with original Twitter-length poems.
This week, we enlisted the Detroit poet, playwright and performance artist Jessica Care Moore to pick her favorites from the #NPRpoetry feed. From San Francisco, Moore spoke to NPR about which verses stopped her scrolling thumb.
For the most part, she compiled a heartfelt bunch.
But Moore says when it comes to poetry, she also gravitates toward the honest and the complex. So naturally, Leigh's poem caught her eye. "Because I think everyone's mother has secrets," she says. "I'm a mom. I might have a couple of my own, and you keep things from your children sometimes just for their own safety."
My mother had so many secrets.— Leigh (@TalGrl58) April 1, 2018
She expected us to hide them.
I don’t think it qualified as abuse.
But it was hard not to tell.#NPRPoetry
JoyAnne O'Donnell's juxtaposition of dandelions to a lion also stuck out to Moore. "I think the metaphor she's using is that dandelions are strong. You know, despite everything, you still see a dandelion. Your rose bush might go away, but the dandelions seem to live forever, you know."
Dandelions— JoyAnne O'Donnell (@JoyAnneODonnell) April 6, 2018
blown from our hearts
of great thoughts.#NPRpoetry pic.twitter.com/8dBiEqJzd8
Speaking from rainy San Francisco, Moore also connected to a "simple and soft" offering from Clyde The Poet; she notes pretty lines like "doors percuss." We can only speculate what or who "Storm Tonight" is about, but Moore takes a stab: "He's clearly talking about somebody he loves with almond eyes. And maybe they're inside because it's raining. And the rain is sideways because maybe they're comfortable."
Storm tonight— clyde (@clydethepoet) April 2, 2018
next to me
start of storm
sideways rain #NPRPoetry
As our poets flock to Twitter to pour their thoughts into a box, the performance artist has some advice for tweeters who may want to translate their work to the stage.
"Don't limit yourself with boxes and labels," Moore says. "There's a lot of great poets who know how to rock a mic. So I would say absolutely study your craft, and read everything."
And read everybody. "Read indigenous poets. Read Asian poets. Read African-American, poets of the African diaspora. Read European, American poets. Read the greats in all genres from different cultures and in different languages. If you've got a grasp on another language, do that."
NPR's Elizabeth Baker and Natalie Winston produced and edited this story for broadcast.
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