National Poetry Month was introduced in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States, and, since 1998, it’s also been celebrated in Canada. The idea for the celebration came when the Academy saw the success of Women’s History Month (in March) and Black History Month (in February), and wanted a way to celebrate and promote the work of poets, and the power of poetry. So, as a Library who always enjoys a celebration, we are happy to oblige!
Today, we bring you a poem by American poet Sherwood Anderson . Anderson was born on September 13, 1876 in Camden, Ohio. He left school at age 14 in order to support his family, finding success as a businessman and salesman that would support him for most of his life. He also served in the Spanish-American War. At the beginning of his career, he wrote at night and on weekends, finally finding success with his book of interrelated short stories, Windesburg, Ohio, which was published in 1919. His work consistently focused on aspects of real life in the midwest, and the scenic and emotional details that made up the fabric of everyday life there. This poem is representative of that spirit, and the love of the outdoors that sustained Anderson for most of his life:
My song will rest while I rest. I struggle along. I’ll get back to the corn and
the open fields. Don’t fret, love, I’ll come out all right.
Back of Chicago the open fields. Were you ever there—trains coming toward
you out of the West—streaks of light on the long gray plains? Many a
song—aching to sing.
I’ve got a gray and ragged brother in my breast—that’s a fact. Back of
Chicago the open fields—long trains go west too—in the silence. Don’t
fret, love. I’ll come out all right.