Covers of poetry books by e.e. cummings, Sylvia Plath, and moreReaders (and listeners) are needed for the 16th Annual Favorite Poem Reading, sponsored by the Arts Society as part of the College’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Month on Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. EDT via Zoom.

Interested readers should contact Henry or Liam by Monday. Send a copy of your poem and a few words about why it’s your favorite.

Favorite Poem Project

Launched by then–Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky in 1997, the project encourages Americans to think about the role of poetry in their lives. It maintains a searchable database of favorite poems, has published an anthology, and encourages communities to sponsor favorite poem readings.

The readers

Anybody connected with Lafayette may share a favorite poem by reading it aloud. Students, secretaries, administrators, custodians, security guards, faculty, facilities operations employees—anyone who spends part of his or her day on campus is encouraged to read. And everyone is encouraged to come and listen.

The rules

  • The poem must be a published work.
  • Readers may not read their own poetry.
  • Song lyrics, excerpts from greeting cards, and passages from religious books such as the Bible or the Koran are not allowed.
  • Readers may choose to talk about their poem, but they may not use notes of any kind. The only printed materials allowed are the poems themselves.
  • The reading of the poem plus any remarks shared by the reader cannot exceed five minutes.

The poems

People read what is important to them. At a recent favorite poem reading in Boston, a state senator read Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress,” a homeless man read Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” and a teacher recited Langston Hughes’ “My People” in American Sign Language. Selections at previous Lafayette readings range from Emily Dickinson to George Carlin to “Casey at the Bat.”

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