Brunswick resident Heather D. Martin wants to know what’s on your mind; email her at

Did you enjoy National Poetry Month this year? I did.

April is such a perfect month for poetry, I think, because it’s so full of promise. You know the warm days are on their way, but it is still chilly enough when the breeze blows that a book and a mug of tea are not bad ideas.

Like my friends, I embraced the challenge of the month by intentionally seeking out more poetry. I am glad for the nudge to do so. Poetry, I am embarrassed to admit, often eludes me. Not that I actively dislike it or anything, it’s just not what I reach for.

Poetry that is sweet, flowery or sentimental is just not my cup of tea. Worse for me are the ones that are overly self-aware. Hmm. Those might not be the right words, but I’m betting you know what I mean. The poems that demand you be amazed by how deep and soulful the writer, or reader, is.

But there are other poems and poets I just adore.

I tend to lean toward the wry, the off center, the strange or the blunt. Amanda Gorman takes my breath away. Langston Hughes and Billy Collins are two of my absolute favorites, and despite what I just said about avoiding the sentimental, I love me some Rumi or a sonnet by Shakespeare.


I tend to avoid rhyming poems (or rhyming anything) but I make massive exceptions for both Shel Silverstein and Ogden Nash. Or a saucy limerick.

Top of all my favorites, though, is Mary Oliver. Her poems do what lovers of poetry seek – they encapsulate the human experience and cut past all the clutter straight to my heart. How does she manage to capture so much depth, so much truth, so much meaning in so few lines?

When I am feeling lost or untethered in the sea of adultness, I ask myself, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

That usually sets me straight.

Knowing this about me, imagine my delight when a friend recently sent me a poem by Mary Oliver they said made them think of me: “Poem 133: The Summer Day.” Wow! Right? It does not get much nicer than that. I think I have never received a nicer compliment.

So that was this year’s poetry month gift to me – or I thought it was. It then got even better.


The thing that happened next was I watched the kids embrace, absorb and create poetry of their own. Breathtaking.

The culmination of all this was the Downtown Poetry Stroll in Brunswick. Find more information on the Brunswick Downtown Association’s webpage. There are also plans for the collected works to be available. Stay tuned for details.

More to the point, students in all grades participated and, as I was not a part of this, I can say unabashedly – kudos to the librarians and teachers who were. The organization, curation and exhibition of these poems throughout the community is so well done, so lovely. Most of all, however, kudos to the amazing, smart, kind, thoughtful and deeply interesting young minds who wrote the poems on display.

You all give me hope. You inspire me.

To see the next generation so invested in finding their paths of expression and voice, and seeing in their words the world they want to create for themselves and for us, well, seriously. How can one not be moved?

As for myself, I think I might just spin out my own poetic explorations over the summer, and maybe the fall as well. I might never be able to read about hope being the thing with feathers without rolling my eyes (sorry Emily Dickinson), but there are volumes upon volumes of other poems to try out. I’m game.

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