COLUMN: In honour of poetry month

In honour of National Poetry Month, I put on my poetry cloak and wrote a Shakespearean sonnet. Are you ready? Here goes:

In honour of National Poetry Month, I put on my poetry cloak and wrote a Shakespearean sonnet. Are you ready? Here goes:


Ode to Dewey classification 811.54


Of poetry, the Nelson Lib’ry strives

To thoughtfully and tastefully acquire

Works that make our readers feel alive;

That scintillate, that tantalize — inspire!


We specialize in poets from these climes

From poems of love to angst to reverence;

The words on our good shelves reflect the times,

Ourselves exposed in past and present tense.


Crozier’s Book of Marvels marvels us;

Susan Musgrave’s Given is a gift;

Don’t you want to sit down and discuss

These poems that so intrigue, expand, uplift?


Bisset’s thots are always incorrect,

Wayman’s got the word on Dirty Snow,

And Austin Clarke — well, he’s got dialect;

Fred Wah writes with nuance and with flow.


The tale’s well spun by Ernest Hekkanen,

We love our books by Susan Andrews Grace.

On Joyce and Shay and Hornby we depend:

Our local poets offer sense of place.


How glad we are to have this wealth of poems!

How glad to have such honest reverie!

We’ll add another, freshly minted tome

And launch it this month at your library.


If you think only poets can write verse

You’ll find your inner poet if you might

Arrange some books disparate and diverse,

And see the spines make poems to your delight!


So join us at the Nelson Library

And celebrate the gift of poetry.


Apologies to those I didn’t mention in my over-long sonnet (traditionally 12 lines of iambic pentameter and a rhyming couplet) and bigger apologies to the real poets who’d have done a much better job. We really are so fortunate that poets continue to write poems, because in many ways they are the conscience of the writing world. And they sure aren’t in it for the money.

Poetry can be a little frightening for some, but it doesn’t need to be. For National Poetry Month, challenge yourself. Don’t let my sonnet colour your view! Take out a book of poetry (or a few), and discover what worlds can be painted with the artful arrangement of words.

In fact, try it yourself. Our Book Spine Poetry Contest runs all month. See our main book display area, where piles of books with potentially evocative titles are waiting to be arranged into new and different contexts.

Take a photo (or ask us to) and you could win! It’s a lot of fun; even staff members are having to keep themselves from quickly assembling a new poem as they walk by to help someone with a computer problem, or to find a book.

Please join us for the launch of Jane Byer’s first book of poetry, Steeling Effects published by Caitlin Press, on Thursday, April 17 at 7 p.m. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate National Poetry Month, and I’m thrilled to add Jane’s deeply honest, inspiring book of resilience to our oh-so-wonderful collection of books by poets from across the country and beyond.


— Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more information go to

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