As I mentioned last year during National Library Week, most poems about libraries are sticky with cotton candy rhymes and syrupy sentimental nostalgia for days that never were—I’m paraphrasing—but I managed at the time to find a few that weren’t written with children in mind (check ’em out, pun intended).
I didn’t think I’d be that lucky this year and had planned to do another poetry contest in which I would bribe you with an Amazing Prize in exchange for writing an original poem about how libraries are sacred trusts worthy of all tax levies and librarians the most wondrous creatures ever to interpret the vagaries of the cataloging systems on your behalf and admonish you in dulcet tones to turn off your cell phone, please, and the young ladies on that screen had better be wearing clothes, mister—and the goat, too.
But then I found this, by Laura Brown Lavoie:
And remembered this one, by Taylor Mali, on the importance of academic libraries:*
Note the distinct lack of rhyme and the surplus of awesome.
We clearly need more of these library (and librarian) affirmations in poetry form . . .
So I guess I’m throwing a
bribefest contest after all!
Your challenge: Write a poem about libraries and/or librarians and share it in the comments of this post (or e-mail it to me). If you do, your name will be entered into the Hat of Win for an Amazing Prize.**
Any type of poem, any (or no) rhyme scheme, four line minimum. Anyone who sends me a video of their original slam poem automatically gets a Special Prize, because whoa.
The usual rules apply:
1. If you write a poem with phrases that rhyme with Nantucket or otherwise use innuendo that goes beyond what my kids are savvy enough to detect, e-mail it to me. If you don’t know the difference (Kev), e-mail me just to be sure.
2.If you don’t want to share your poem with the general public, e-mail it to me and remind me not to post it—I retain the right to argue (liligrif) but I’ll respect your wishes. If you win and prefer I don’t know your mailing address, we’ll work something out.
3. If you’re related to me by known biology or marriage, you’re welcome to write a poem, but you can’t win. Sorry.
4. National Library Week ends April 20th, and so does this contest, at Midnight CST (that’s Chicago time).
If you have any questions, let me know.
And if you can’t bring yourself to write a poem, go tell your local library staff how much you appreciate them.*** If you get a photo of it and send it to me, I’ll toss your name in the Hat.
* I know I’ve shared it before, but that was for a Random Thursday last August, so I can totally use it again. Taylor Mali bears repeating as often as possible, anyway. And it’s my blog.
** “She calls that a prize? Amazing . . . ”
***If you don’t appreciate them, then . . . I got nothin’.
22 thoughts on “Poetry Wednesday: I F%$&ing Love the Library”
Watch! Flitting there among the shelves,
A little troop of sorting elves!
These sharp-eyed souls would go through hell,
To honor Dewey Decimal.
I don’t know about this contest, but I think you’re a shoo-in for Poet Laureate of the ALA, Mike!
I would proudly accept that honor.
You’re my “hero in an epic poem” (to be written) Happy National Library Week.
Also, I noticed that the title of the first video (which is fantastic by the way) may contravene Rule 1. However, this clearly does not take into consideration the notwithstanding clause (Rule 1.2), namelyRule One Point Two n into consideration, namely it’s your F%$&ing blog.
P.S. It’s too late at night for me to be a smart-ass. Leads to type faux.
That’s what I thought, Downith.
The poem, not the type faux (still love that). 😉
(Psst: I posted my 50-word story on your site this afternoon—hope it suits)
A summer afternoon.
The sun pounding the earth with its brilliance,
ripples of heat rise from the asphalt.
So many places to escape from the heat.
Where to go?
Over by the large-print,
there’s someone teaching Geometry.
There’s a story hour for little
wiggly, writhing, bodies,
surrounded by imaginary friends.
Near the door, near the front,
right by the checkout counter,
a bank of computers,
An hour of the internet, for everyone.
New friends and old,
gathered on the shelves,
Movies to rent; books to read;
people to meet; things to learn.
Local arts advertise,
independent newspapers distribute.
Peaceful quiet, cool air
Escape from the oppressive air
This is simply beautiful, Lisa.
(Mike has competition for the Poet Laureate gig!)
I might have had a poem or two published. In a magazine distributed in my high school, but that counts, right?
It absolutely counts.
Ode to the Nantucket Atheneum, 1846
There once was a library on Nantucket
that burned down although the brigade tried to stop it with a bucket.
Maria Mitchell worked there
before she became the chair
of an astronomy department 300 miles from Nantucket.*
*(She was the first professor hired at Vassar College)
You. Are. The. Awesome.
You have no idea how obsessed I am by Maria Mitchell. Your poetic invitation was a mere excuse.
I live to fuel other people’s obsessions, indy! 🙂
Thus spake the librarian
Nah. Always been like that. 😉
I was all set to go with a haiku, and then you inserted that nasty 4 line minimum. Now I’ve got to think some more. In the immortal words of the terminator, “I’ll be back!”
(Try a double haiku)
Just now seeing this. Going to make some stuff up very quickly here, because I really love this idea (and the videos), but still haven’t eaten dinner and will definitely miss the deadline if I don’t do this now. 🙂
I see that you’ve forgotten her, sitting on that cracked back road,
with grass too long for broken sidewalks, and doors too wide
to be so empty.
But she remembers you and your love of romance.
She expects that now and then,
you still pick up a Julie Gardwood paperback.
She remembers every high fantasy you returned so quickly,
and every urban fantasy you kept too long. She remembers
when you discovered Dean Koontz, and how jazzed you were when you finally recalled the name of the Brides of Wildcat County series.
Yes, she still remembers your late fees (and she still forgives them).
And she remembers when you stopped coming to see her.
You see, as you thumb your tablet,
and download your comfy, afternoon in bed,
she still remembers you, even if you hardly think
Darn it, Lisa—you made me cry.
Not my intention, though I am indescribably flattered. Thank you, Sarah.