standing Westerly Library

A great poem is like a great painting — the more you look at it, the more it reveals itself. When you truly love a painting, you never tire of looking at it, and it’s the same with a much-loved poem. Like complex paintings, when we revisit the great poems at different times of our lives, they reveal different parts of ourselves: like a mirror. 

April is Poetry Month. We usually put out a display of poetry books, which everyone ignores for the duration, because poetry is unfashionable and boring right? Okay, I confess, I rather like poetry. Actually, some of it I love to the depths of my soul. Some of it I detest.

A poem is such a deeply personal object, and because it’s so personal, the poems we love we clutch to us, and those we don’t, we push away in disgust — “Don’t dump your strange emotions on us, unheard-of poet! I don’t want your emotional baggage.”

You might have to plow through dozens of poems, tens of dozens even, to find one that you might like to get to know — a kind of literary Tinder-style exercise. And many of them (ungrateful wretches) will refuse you entry without a dozen or more readings, before they reveal their secrets. Sometimes, like a painting you have to ask some “experts” to explain, to help you crack the code, but once you get it, it will be yours forever. 

Some poems are instantly accessible, demanding little work. You can read Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” and instantly feel the yellow coming off the page. It’s actually a Victorian protest against the ugliness of the Industrial Revolution, but now we’ve moved past belching chimneys and London Fog, we can just celebrate the daffodils. Or, hang on, maybe we should resurrect it as an anthem for climate change … again, poetry as a mirror. 

Here’s some more poems that are easily soaked up: “Warning” by Jenny Joseph, “The Listeners” by Walter De La Mare, “Winter Seascape” by John Betjeman, “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, “Funeral Blues” by W.H. Auden, and “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley. 

The Poetry Month display is under the tree in Circulation.

Top requested books

1. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

2. “Becoming” by Michelle Obama 

3. “Run Away” by Harlan Coben 

4. “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover

5. “The 18th Abduction” by James Patterson

6. “Redemption” by David Baldacci

7. “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides

8. “Someone Knows” by Lisa Scottoline

9. “Neon Prey” by John Sandford

10. “The 13-Minute Murder” by James Patterson

Top requested movies

1. "Green Book"

2. "Vice"

3. "Mary Poppins Returns"

4. "Bohemian Rhapsody"

5. "The Mule"

6. "Can You Ever Forgive Me?"

7. "On the Basis of Sex"

8. "A Star is Born"

9. "Aquaman"

10. "The Favourite"

This Week

MONDAY — 10-11 a.m., Awesome Amphibians! – for ages 6-12, the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center is bringing in frogs and salamanders; 3:30-5:30 p.m., Earth Day Trivia (for teens) – put your environmental knowledge to the test! Snacks for all, prizes for the winner; 4-6:30 p.m., Tax Prep Help with AARP! First come, first served. SIGN-UP BEGINS AT 3 PM; 5:30-7 p.m., Conversation Class – for English Language Learners.

TUESDAY — 10-11 a.m., for ages 3-5, Sing me a Story with Mike Markowitz; 1-2 p.m., Teen Space Community Garden Clean Up – Help us get the garden ready for planting; 2-3 p.m., Casey Farms: Project CHICK (for ages 6-12) – a fun introduction to raising chickens, with a live hen! 2-5 p.m., Seed Bombs & Risk Tournament – seeds and dirt provided to make seed bombs you can take home (all day long), Risk game starts at 2; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Knit and Crochet Group! – a friendly knitting, crochet, needlework, and yarn craft club; 6-6:45 p.m., Demystifying Meditation – Join Chris Liguori, a Davidji certified meditation teacher to practice awareness and discuss mindful living. All are welcome; 6-7:45 p.m., Quilters Corner – all are welcome to this quilting club. 

WEDNESDAY — 10-11 a.m., Dancin’ with Hoops – for ages 5-12, hula hoops provided! 1-2 p.m., Teen Space Community Garden Clean Up – Help us get the garden ready for planting; 2-5 p.m., 4:30-7:30 p.m., Shoreline Robotics Practice – For teens grades 7-12 interested in STEM and Robotics; 2-5 p.m., Teens Against Pollution-Art Built – do art to promote environmental activism; 5:30-7 p.m., Conversation Class – for English Language Learners.

THURSDAY — 10-11 a.m., Superhero Training with Captain Marvelous and Spidey (ages 4-12) – come meet a superhero! 10-11:30 a.m., Conversation Class – A free conversation class for English Language Learners; 1-2 p.m., Teen Space Community Garden Clean Up – Help us get the garden ready for planting; 2-5 p.m., Teen Green Scene! – come make recycled planters that are self-watering! 5:30-7:30 p.m., Chess Club – All ages and experience levels are welcome, no sign-up required; 6-7:30 p.m., Cribbage Night! – open to all ages, no registration needed, we have boards but please bring one if you have one.

FRIDAY — 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m., Toddler Music with Bonnie Light (ages birth-5) – an adult must accompany each child; 2-3 p.m., Indeed Workshop – a free class on using the world’s largest website for job postings; 3:30-4:30 p.m., Teen Creative Writing – come join our writing circle for writing prompts, journaling, and snacks.

SATURDAY — 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Make & Take Crafts for children! 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Adult Writers Workshop – A group-led prose writing workshop; 1-2:30 p.m., Dungeons and Dragons (Teen Led Program) – No prior experience with the game is necessary—registration is required.

Jules Belanger is a reference librarian at the Westerly Library.

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