An Owl’s-Eye View of National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month began in 1996 and has become the largest literary celebration in the world. It is an important reminder to engage with poetry through public and private readings, lectures, and support of local authors. Poetry challenges us to broaden our thinking about the physical and metaphysical by using beautiful imagery, various sonic tools, and myriad forms both classic and contemporary. To celebrate one of our oldest literary forms, we took a peek at what the folks over at Owl Eyes are doing with their poetry library.

In honor of this past National Poetry Month, the staff at Owl Eyes compiled and annotated some of their favorite poetical works. At Owl Eyes, the process of celebration was more involved than simply reading the poems; it also encompassed round-table discussions which became a vehicle for categorizing the poems into a few specific, thematic groups based on their elements; namely, the romanticism of natural subjects, the transience of beauty, and criticism of patriarchal influences.

The team read each poem, gathered together to collect and share ideas, and then annotated each poem based on core themes. Alongside their annotations, they have begun the process of creating beautiful and original cover art for each poem. We’ve gathered our favorite covers and quotes from selected poems—and we invite you to read the rest of the poem and their annotations for free on Owl Eyes.

Mending Wall by Robert Frost

“He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.”

There Will Come Soft Rains by Sara Teasdale

“There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;”

Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins

“Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;”

The Fish by Marianne Moore

split like spun
       glass, move themselves with spotlight swiftness
       into the crevices—
               in and out, illuminating”

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray

“Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade,
    Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
    The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep.”