I had an Audible credit burning a hole in my pocket, so I was looking around for something to buy. I hit on Good Poems edited and read by Garrison Keillor. Not a new-to-me title. I took a cassette version of this collection with me to Suriname. I was hoping to recreate The Writer’s Almanac even though I lived in the middle of the rainforest with no electricity.
In the brief introduction, Garrison says that reading poems on the radio is not the same thing as a poetry reading.
People listen to poems while they’re frying eggs and sausage and reading the paper and reasoning with their offspring.
Radio poems sound a lot like homeschooling. There’s a house full of distractions competing for attention. It’s hard to create and sustain the ideal learning environment. But Garrison continues, talking about the rare times when a poem really does connect with a listener, sometimes a listener actually hears a poem.
Sometimes a poem cuts through the static and delivers some good thing.
And that seems like a really good thing to remember at the start of a new school year. Not every poem is going to connect; not every lesson will transform. Some days we just show up like Garrison Keillor. We note the day’s significant facts, read a poem, and call it a day.
A good day.