Thursday, April 1, 2010

Poems of New York

April is National Poetry Month, and to celebrate, tonight we host poet and teacher Stephen Wolf, who also happens to be editor of a wonderful volume of New York-centric poems, I Speak of the City. He, along with young poets from the New York Writers Coalition, will read some of our favorite works by poets whose names you might recognize (Whitman, Ginsberg) and those you may not at all (Lindsay, Koch).

To get the ball rolling, here's a portion of a poem by Charles Hanson Towne called "Manhattan" that probably speaks to many of us. Read it aloud!


When, sick of all the sorrow and distress
That flourished in the City like foul weeds,
I sought the blue rivers and green, opulent meads,
And leagues of unregarded loneliness
Whereon no foot of man had seemed to press,
I did not know how great had been my needs,
How wise the woodland's gospels and her creeds,
How good her faith to one long comfortless.

But in the silence came a voice to me;
In every wind it murmured, and I knew
It would not cease, though far my heart might roam.
It called me in the sunrise and the dew,
At noon and twilight, sadly, hungrily,
The jealous City, whispering always -- "Home!"

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