A Few Words to Spring Poets

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There was a lengthy article in March 10, 1923 edition of the Town Crier about Spring Poets, and who they are, and how all Spring poems need to include doves.

“The merry, merry season is almost at hand,” it begins. “That is to say, if another snow storm doesn’t hit us. Two or three times already it has looked as if Winter were rather slipping from her perch upon the lap of Spring, then the weather prediction would go all haywire again and we’d wake up in the morning to find the milk frozen and snow halfway to our knees.”

It continues, “But anyway, according to the calendar the equinox approaches and it’s time for all of us to fix up the lawns and flower beds and for editors to get a fresh lot of regretful rejection slips printed anent the deluge of manuscripts.”

Enter: the Spring Poet. “There is one mystery about Spring Poets which, despite my feeling of cordiality, not to say affection, I have never been permitted to penetrate. Where do they come from, and whither do they go, and what are they, anyway?” The writer is perplexed. “It is a matter of common knowledge that Spring Poets do not eat, being in this respect like the May-flies. Come to consider it, they have many other characteristics peculiar to May-flies, coming and disappearing along with them – maybe they are a species of May-fly! I never thought of that before. If it had occurred to me in time, I would have asked the government to make a special classification of Spring Poets when taking the census, and then we would have known whether they are real folks.”

It seems as though the Town Crier editors were reading a lot of poetry submissions. Perhaps, instead of being knee deep in snow, they were knee deep in bad poetry. Many of those poems having doves mentioned in them. Lamentable, to be sure.

Today, Seattle has poets and poetry for all seasons! There is a poetry-only bookstore in Wallingford. There is a poetry publisher called Wave Books (and not far away is Copper Canyon Press) producing work. Hugo House has poetry classes filled up and Seattle Arts and Lectures brings in some of the nation’s best poets. Coming to Town Hall on March 19, poetry translator Michael Straus joins Washington State’s Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna for a conversation.

Do you consider yourself a Spring Poet? Show those old Crier editors a thing or two! Submit your best Spring poem to jonathan@townhallseattle.org by 3/15/19. We’ll put some of the best up on our blog and shower you with praise.

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