Red Letter Poem #5

Steven Ratiner, Arlington’s Poet Laureate, is today’s guest blogger.

To Seamus Heaney’s way of thinking, poetry was about providing that “extra voltage in the language, the intensity, the self-consciousness” that raises thought to another level.  Often, we experience that intensity through its sounds, its musicality – and this is true even in contemporary poems that sometimes pose as normal speech.  So it didn’t surprise me to learn that, when Thomas DeFreitas was 15 and he heard the great Irish poet read at Boston College, the event became a catalyst for him and helped make his love for poetry “all-consuming and irreversible.”  An emerging talent at work on his first full-length manuscript, Thomas’ writing has appeared in a number of journals like Dappled Things, Ibbetson Street, Muddy River Poetry Review, and Plainsongs.  His desire for the richness and complexity of experience that words can bring to us is abundantly on display in this boisterous fanfare of a poem – the lingua franca, perhaps, with which all our roving hearts converse.

Red Letter Poem #5:

The Red Letter Poems Project was created in grateful partnership with many of our town’s cultural resources: the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture, the Arlington Center for the Arts, the Robbins Library, the Arlington International Film Festival, and Arlington Community Education. We’ll send out a poem from a new poet every week. If you enjoy them, we encourage you to forward them to friends –  in Arlington and beyond –  or to post them on your social media platforms with the hashtags: #RedLetterPoems, #ArlingtonPoetLaureate. If you want to make sure you receive these poems directly – or to receive notices about future poetry events – send an e-mail to: steven.arlingtonlaureate@gmail.com with the subject line ‘mailing list’.

In ancient Rome, feast days were indicated on the calendar by red letters.  To my mind, all poetry and art – and, in truth, even the COVID-19 crisis itself – serves as a reminder that every day we wake together beneath the sun is a red-letter day.

– Steven Ratiner

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