Marist Celebrates National Poetry Month

Original post courtesy of Marist Public Affairs

Members of the Marist community share their favorite poems 

A poem can be a powerful thing. Archibald MacLeish once wrote, “A poem should be motionless in time,” and while it’s true most of us might not think about the power of poetry on a daily basis, it seems everyone has a favorite poem in their memory: something simple or profound that we carry with us across careers, and across continents. And for every favorite poem, there’s a unique story attached that makes those words so much more special. Twenty years ago this April, National Poetry Month was created to remind us that poetry — these motionless moments in time — can be a part of our lives in ways both big and small.

To celebrate National Poetry Month at Marist, we’ve asked a variety of students, faculty, administrators, and staff from across the campus to share their favorite poems, along with the personal stories that make each poem special. We hope their stories below will inspire you to join the conversation and share your own favorite poem with us on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook using the hastags #Marist and #NationalPoetryMonth.

Watch the Events Calendar and the weekly Events @ Marist email from the Office of Public Affairs for special readings and other events throughout April, as Marist celebrates National Poetry Month.

 – Tommy Zurhellen, Associate Professor of English

Check out some of the Marist Community’s favorite poems below!

                                                             Krista Rivera ’16
English/Adolescent Education Major, Spanish MinorKristaRivera2

“Holy Sonnet 10” by John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow 
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

(Click here for the complete poem)

This is one of my favorite poems because it personifies death in such an interesting way. It transforms death into something futile and powerless, which counters the daunting, all-conquering phenomenon people typically consider death to be. The paradox “Death, thou shalt die” communicates such a powerful, spiritual message.

Professor James Snyder
Associate Professor of Philosophy & Director of the Marist Honors Program

“The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by W.B. YeatsJamesSnyder and Finn2

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

(Click here for the complete poem)

When my son was a baby I used to read this poem to him before he napped. I found the poem by accident – I picked up a random book of English verse, opened it, and there it was. But I grew to appreciate the poem because it speaks of the peace and quiet that can be found in the country, and it helped him fall asleep. To this day this poem still holds a special place in my mind.

Kaliyah Gardner ’19
Psychology Major, Creative Writing Minor

Kaliyah“For women who are ‘difficult’ to love.” by Warsan Shire

you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
forget you
want anything but you

(Click here for the full poem)

I fell in love with this poem because it helped me fall in love with myself. It made me realize that I am much more than a love-seeking object and far from a man’s dream. I am reality: something beautiful, multifaceted, and irrepressible. Through her fervent diction, Shire taught me that being difficult to love is not a bad thing, so long as I love my true self.

President Dennis J. Murray

“Invictus” by William Ernest HenleyDennisMurray2

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

(Click here for the full poem)

I have always liked the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. Of course, “invictus” is a Latin word meaning unconquerable. The poem reminds us that we control who we are and how we live our lives. Henley wrote “Invictus” in his early 20s while recovering from a tubercular infection. The disease resulted in one leg being amputated and almost losing the other. Writing the poem under these conditions was an act of courage in itself. He refused to let this disability control his future and went on to live a fulfilling life as a poet and editor. His words have inspired others for generations.

Click on the links below to see more of the Marist Community’s favorite poems!

Marist Community Members

Join the conversation! Share your favorite poem with us in the comments section below! 

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