The Poet

from the essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Notwithstanding this necessity to be published, adequate expression israre. I know not how it is that we need an interpreter, but the greatmajority of men seem to be minors, who have not yet come into possessionof their own, or mutes, who cannot report the conversation they have hadwith nature. There is no man who does not anticipate a supersensualutility in the sun and stars, earth and water. These stand and wait torender him a peculiar service. But there is some obstruction or someexcess of phlegm in our constitution, which does not suffer them toyield the due effect. Too feeble fall the impression of nature on us tomake us artists. Every touch should thrill. Every man should be so muchan artist that he could report in conversation what had befallen him.Yet, in our experience, the rays or appulses have sufficient force toarrive at the senses, but not enough to reach the quick and compel thereproduction of themselves in speech. The poet is the person in whomthese powers are in balance, the man without impediment, who sees andhandles that which others dream of, traverses the whole scale ofexperience, and is representative of man, in virtue of being the largestpower to receive and to impart."

Read more Ralph Waldo Emerson


A premier publishing services firm

Independent Publisher on Instagram

Celebrate National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month
Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month (NPM) brings together publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools, and poets around the country to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of businesses and non-profit organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events.

In April 2006, the Academy of American Poets will launch the first-ever Poetry Read-a-Thon. Geared for middle school students (grades 5-8), the Read-a-Thon’s goals are to celebrate the reading of poems and writing about poems. In addition to emphasizing the pleasure and fun of reading poetry, the Read-a-Thon will facilitate the students’ development of writing and comprehension skills.

The Academy of American Poets is partnering with the American Poetry & Literacy Project (APLP) to edit and produce a special anthology of poems appropriate for ages 10-14. The Academy and APLP will distribute approximately 15,000 copies of this free anthology to participating classrooms and community partners.

* * * * *

Here are 30 tips for getting the most out of National Poetry Month:

  • Read a book of poetry
    "Poetry is a response to the daily necessity of getting the world right."
  • Memorize a poem
    "Getting a poem or prose passage truly 'by heart' implies getting it by mind and memory and understanding and delight."
  • Revisit a poem
    "America is a country of second acts, so today, why not brush the dust of these classics and give them a fresh read?"
  • Put poetry in an unexpected place
    "Books should be brought to the doorstep like electricity, or like milk in England: they should be considered utilities."
  • Bring a poem to your place of worship
    "We define poetry as the unofficial view of being, and bringing the art of language in contact with your spiritual practices can deepen both."
  • Attend a poetry reading
    "Readings have been occurring for decades around the world in universities, bookstores, cafes, corner pubs, and coffeehouses."
  • Play Exquisite Corpse
    "Each participant is unaware of what the others have written, thus producing a surprising--sometimes absurd--yet often beautiful poem."
  • Read a poem at an open mic
    "It's a great way to meet other writers in your area and find out about your local writing community."
  • Support literary organizations
    "Many national and local literary organizations offer programs that reach out to the general public to broaden the recognition of poets and their work."
  • Google a poem
    "Many people carry single lines of verse with them, sometimes for years, and are eager to remember the rest of that particular poem."
  • Hear a Poem
    "Often, hearing an author read their own work can clarify questions surrounding their work's tone."
  • Young People’s Poetry Week
    "You'll find party ideas, poem starters, crossword puzzles, award certificates, lists of poetry books for kids, and more."
  • Subscribe to a literary magazine
    "Full of surprising and challenging poetry, short fiction, interviews, and reviews, literary journals are at the forefront of contemporary poetry."
  • Put a poem in a letter
    "It's always a treat to get a letter, but finding a poem in the envelope makes the experience extra special."
  • April is the cruelest month
    "To mark tax day, the Academy distributed thousands of free copies of The Waste Land at selected post offices across the country."
  • Take a poem out to lunch
    "Adding a poem to lunch puts some poetry in your day and gives you something great to read while you eat."
  • Put a poem on the pavement
    "Go one step beyond hopscotch squares and write a poem in chalk on your sidewalk."
  • Recite a poem to family and friends
    "You can use holidays or birthdays as an opportunity to celebrate with a poem that is dear to you, or one that reminds you of the season."
  • Organize a poetry reading
    "When looking for a venue, consider your local library, coffee shop, bookstore, art gallery, bar or performance space."
  • Promote public support for poetry
    "Every year, Congress decides how much money will be given to the National Endowment for the Arts to be distributed all across America."
  • Start a poetry reading group
    "Select books that would engage discussion and not intimidate the reader new to poetry."
  • Read some literary criticism
    "Reading reviews can also be a helpful exercise and lend direction to your future reading."
  • Buy a book of poems for your library
    "Many libraries have undergone or are facing severe cuts in funding. These cuts are often made manifest on library shelves."
  • Start a commonplace book
    "Since the Renaissance, devoted readers have been copying their favorite poems and quotations into notebooks to form their own personal anthologies called commonplace books."
  • Start a notebook on
    " lets users build their own personal portable online commonplace book out of the materials on our site."
  • Add verse to your email signature
    "Many email programs allow you to create personalized signatures that are automatically added to the end of every email you send."
  • Ask the Post Office for more poet stamps
    "To be eligible, suggested poets must have been deceased for at least ten years and must be American or of American descent."
  • Sign up for a poetry class or workshop
    "Colleges and arts centers often make individual courses in literature and writing available to the general public."
  • Subscribe to our free newsletter
    "Short and to the point, the Update, our electronic newsletter, will keep you informed on Academy news and events."
  • Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day
    "New Yorkers are encouraged to carry a poem in their pocket and share it with friends, family, coworkers and classmates."

    * * * * *

    In March 2005, the twelfth and final month of the National Poetry Almanac, the Academy of American Poets selected 31 groundbreaking books of poetry. This group of books was meant to showcase the masterpieces of American poetry that have influenced—or promise to influence—generations of poets.

    Featured here are essays on each of these books, from Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson to Allen Ginsberg and Sylvia Plath, with information on their authors, publication history, critical responses, and their most acclaimed poems.

    Visit the 31 Masterpieces of Poetry page.

    * * * * *

    Discover thriving poetry communities around the country on the National Poetry Map