share a poem: NPR


Share a poem as a letter.

Jess Eng/NPR


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Jess Eng/NPR

share a poem: NPR

Share a poem as a letter.

Jess Eng/NPR

When was the last time you picked up a pen and composed a letter to a friend or family member? NPR Poet-in-Residence Kwame Alexander reminds us that letter writing offers something more to the recipient than the words on the page. The act itself shows how much we care about a person. And, he says, research shows that writing letters makes us happier.

It’s intimacy, the information we convey through our writing, our choice of writing tool, the way we apply punctuation, how we interact with the spatial boundaries of the page – or postcard.

An epistolary poem is a poem in the form of a letter – from Latin, epistulefor letter.

It can tell a story, ask a question, express a wish – or a call for help.

We ask you to write a poem in epistolary form, addressed to anyone – a neighbor, a boss, a child, a lost lover, the forest ranger – to anyone to whom you want to express something meaningful and meaningful to you.

To inspire you, here is an excerpt from an epistolary poem by Matthew Burgess, “Dear David”:

This morning I watched

for your online book

and i almost bought it

of the evil giant

but balked. In place

I wrote a poem in bed

about a fake leopard

jacket while drinking

a chard’s coffee

Midler mug. marcel

says when he catches himself censoring himself, he knows he has to add it anyway.

Anyway, I scrambled some eggs before rearranging my book shelves,

extract those

I can live without.

(Excerpt from “Dear David” by Matthew Burgess, Copyright © 2015 by Matthew Burgess)

Then share your poem via the form below. Then Kwame Alexander will take lines from some of your plays and create a community poem to be read on air and posted online, where contributors will be credited.


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