Happy Sunday, leisure learners! Can you believe that it’s almost reading outside time?! (It’s like swimsuit season, but for word nerds.) As you probably know, we are heading into National Poetry Month for April. The selections below are in the spirit of throwing grammar temporarily aside, focusing on individual words and even individual letters.
In this month’s column, I challenge you to update your knowledge of poets (see first link), and also take the time to celebrate the magic of what happens when just a few words, put together in just the right way, combine to create powerful human emotions.
Here is your March 2022 Leisure Learning List:
This is a fantastic site to learn about cutting-edge poets. This is a small press whose focus is on inclusion, and their poets represent almost every walk of life.
What do I mean by that? Well, just think along the lines of “Darfurian child bride who learned of this at her own wedding.” That’s the type of cosmopolitan diversity this press offers.
The link above is for Button’s list of poets. Their bios alone are interesting, if not radiant at times. I suggest you look at some of the poets to see their specific areas of interest, then watch them reading their work on Button Poetry’s YouTube channel.
This is my kid-friendly pick of the month. Obviously, if you are here, then you value reading. But how exactly does your physiology work to make that happen? Why are letters and numbers shaped the way that they are? Are curved letters the same height as flat-topped letters in the same font?
This video is geared more for kids, but it does present some of the most recent research about how our brains process words, therefore I recommend it for all ages. It’s a good way to update what you learned in that Psych class years ago.
First, let me just say that this non-profit online poetry ‘zine has one of the best taglines ever—For the Ink Hearted. That alone is worth appreciating.
Poetry is often musical, and this list takes that concept to a literal level. It starts with Tennyson’s Ballad of Shallot being retold from the maiden’s point of view and takes off from there. Even if harpsichord rock isn’t your thing, comparing the original ballad with Emilie Autumn’s version is a worthwhile endeavor.
In the United States, where books are produced entirely by hand, this short YouTube video shows how a team of craftsmen (and 1 featured craftswoman) work together to produce a book that is also a work of heart. From setting the individual letters to sealing those beautiful, gilded covers that are swoon-worthy, this video will wow anyone who has become accustomed to push button printing.
These are 10 examples of words that have been turned into visual art. You will find gorgeously rendered black-out poems, letters arranged into jewels and sentence diagramming turned on its linear head.
If you are hungry for more, these should satisfy your appetite.
Tell us in the comments: Which of these March 2022 Leisure Learning picks are you most excited to try?
Melissa Haas is the author and illustrator of Catula: The Misadventures of Dracula’s Cat and The Night Before Christmas (NOW WITH CATS), among other books. Follow Catula’s whereabouts on Instagram @CatulaTheCat or download a free coloring page at www.catulathebook.com.