Wednesday, April 20, 2011

word week, day four

Portland is a literary town, and anyone who's spent even a few hours here can't help but notice that Portlanders love the written word. Powell's City of Books is a beloved institution, and even has a satellite store at the airport. The Multnomah County Library has for years had the distinction of having the highest circulation in the nation among libraries serving less than 1 million residents, and its materials are checked out at twice the rate of the national average.

So it's no surprise that we have what I think is a uniquely Northwest way of celebrating literature: Poetry Posts. These mostly handcrafted boxes range from elegantly designed masterpieces utilizing clear cedar, copper and stained glass, to the most humble works cobbled together from recycled materials, but they all share a common theme: poetry.

Here are a few of the posts around my neighborhood:
(click on images to zoom in)

 In Portland, poetry thrives in driveways,

  nestles amongst the vegetables,

 draws passers-by with the written word

and slows the pace of pedestrians. 

Not all poetry is verbal.

 This one has a solar-powered light on top.

This one is beautiful to look at as well as a pleasure to read what's posted inside.

April is National Poetry Month.


I rub my shoulder
against a doorframe’s wood,
getting the feel of this creature
felled and transformed.
My fingers curve to knead blood
toward a muscle’s hurt, lotion
into an elbow roughened by neglect.
Snubbing shoes, I let bare soles
reacquaint themselves
with the wear of pavement’s grit.
Clothes serve the modest task
of long, soft friction.

Bit by bit, night by day,
I grow smoother-grained,
ready for light. Let me be
a mirror in which something else
might catch a glimpse of itself—
the burnished stone beneath
a lifetime of water, flowing.

Oregon's Poet Laureate

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