By Colorado Review Associate Editor David Mucklow
Even in the midst of all the extensive reading I do in the MFA program, from critical essays, peers’ works, books of poems for class, and reading for pleasure (still trying to get through that stack from this year’s and last year’s AWP book fair), I’ve been finding a more urgent need for reading poetry daily. I think the world has also been feeling this need in the wake of our chaotic news cycle, Twitter feeds, unpredictable spring weather patterns, or just the pressure of our daily grind. The thing that I find difficult about this anxiety and need is looking at my whole bookcase of poems and not knowing which one to turn to. And from this I’ve found that I don’t always need a specific poem in particular, but rather just any poem. In order to keep this daily poetry need stress-free, I’ve been actively seeking out daily poetry emails and services. I thought that you too, in your daily stresses, joys, and attention to spring weather, might also want to enjoy this stress-free daily poetry, and so I’ve compiled a list of places to sign up for and read poems.
– Poem-a-Day from the Academy of American Poets features contemporary and living poets during the week and classic/dead poets on the weekends. Sign up on their website here – https://www.poets.org/
– Poem of the Day from the Poetry Foundation features a poem from their vast archives of poetry, and they also offer an Audio Poem of the Day straight to your inbox. Sign up at the bottom of their home page here – https://www.poetryfoundation.org/
– Poetry Daily publishes work from contemporary poets, both established and emerging, every day on their website, and do important work to share news of recently published works – http://poems.com/today.php
– Gramma Weekly, from the new press Gramma, publishes awesome work of contemporary poets every week in many different mediums from text, to video, to audio, and multimedia publications – http://gramma.press/ (full shameless disclosure: they recently published one of my poems – thanks again!)
– PEN Poetry Series sends out recent work from a poet every week, (sometimes several poems, sometimes one long poem, but every time very good) if you’re looking for poems a little less frequently – https://pen.org/literature/pen-poetry-series/
– Linebreak magazine also publishes weekly, and they publish an audio recording of the poem as read by a different poet than the author – https://linebreak.org/
– Rattle magazine is an excellent source for poetry, in print and online, and will send you a poem every morning from their amazing archives – http://www.rattle.com/
– Narrative magazine publishes weekly poetry and fiction on their site, and have a deep archive of amazing writing from established, emerging, and also classic writers. Sign up for an account and check out their weekly publications here – https://www.narrativemagazine.com/user/register
– Lit Hub Daily sends a comprehensive list of literature and poetry related news every weekday, if you’re looking for a variety of interests and commentary along with poetry. Sign up on the right side of their home page – http://lithub.com/
– Twitter is full of excellent people and accounts that post links to poems and poetry news all day. In particular, Kaveh Akbar shares tons of different great poetry every day on his feed, and his account is a great source of contemporary poetry. (Not to mention, his own poet-interview site www.divedapper.com and all of his own poems that he shares) – https://twitter.com/KavehAkbar
– Dream Delivery Service is perhaps the coolest analog way to get poems every day. The wonderful poet Mathias Svalina travels to different cities by bike every month, and hand delivers personal surrealist dream poems to your front door, or by mail, all for a fair price (pay your poets!) Look into signing up here for a wireless and stress-free poem – https://dreamdeliveryservice.tumblr.com/
You might ask, why read poems every day? You might also ask why does it snow, is then hot and sunny in the same day, and then windy the day after that? All to say, such things are silly questions. The only answers are to just observe the weather and read a poem every day. Try it out. For me, reading a poem every day is a small way to remember that the world is much bigger than myself, and also that within myself is the largeness of the world. The simple act of seeking out something as little as one poem a day has been a great release, a motivator for my own writing, and a consistent opening of the world. Hopefully something on this list might do the same for you!