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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

If You Love Poetry, Every Day Can be World Poetry Day by Fran Joyce

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In 1999 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established March 21 as World Poetry Day. Around the world, October is often considered the month to celebrate poetry in honor of Virgil’s birthday (October 15). I know this is August, not March or October, but if you love poetry, every day is World Poetry Day.

In explaining their decision to honor this writing form, UNESCO cited a desire to “support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.”*

Endangered languages…think about it. We have a spoken language and a written one. Both have their own unique balance and order. We all know poems are best in their original language. That’s probably why I have so many English, American and Canadian poets on my list. But, consider for a moment if your language were replaced as many Native American/First Nations or African languages have been, or if there was a push in your country to adopt a “world language” for commerce and better communication with other countries. Would you be sad or would you rejoice? Consider your favorite poem. Would it still speak to you if the rhyme scheme had to be abandoned for purposes of translation or the perfect pairing of words was suddenly a sentence?

This is why poetry is an important oral tradition in addition to its written form. Poems can be about anything…love, loss, nature, beauty, oppression, racism, war or even a trip to the dentist. So, take a trip around the world with us and visit some of the world’s best poets. We’ve included the country they were born in and/or the country they live/lived and wrote in if different; the year of their birth and death if applicable, so you can get a a little perspective of the period they are writing in and the title of at least one of their works. The poets are loosely grouped by country. There are 197 countries and  so many amazing poets out there, so please forgive me if your favorite poet  or country didn’t make the list. How many of these poets have you read? Read something by a poet you’ve never heard of and celebrate the beauty of words today and every day.

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William Shakespeare (1564-1616) England “A Lover’s Complaint”

Thomas Hardy 1840-1928) England “The Man He Killed”

John Keats (1795-1821) England “Endymion”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning ( 1806-1861) England “How Do I Love Thee?”

William Blake England (1757-1827) “The Tyger “

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) England “The Prelude”  

John Donne (1572-1631) England “No Man is an Island”

Lord Byron (1788-1824) England “She Walks in Beauty”

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) England “Jabberwocky”

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) England “The Charge of the Light Brigade”

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) British India “If”

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) USA “Daddy”

Mark Twain (1835-1910) USA “Genius”

T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) USA “The Waste Land”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) USA “Uriel”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) USA “The Song of Hiawatha”

Robert Frost (1874-1963) USA “The Road Not Taken”

Langston Hughes (1902-1967) USA “Mother to Son”

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) USA “The Raven”

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) USA “Caged Bird”

E.E.Cummings (1894-1962) USA “i carry your heart with me (i carry it in)

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) Chile “If You Forget Me”

Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) USA “25 Minutes to Go”

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) USA “Howl”

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) USA “I’m Nobody! Who are You?” “Not in Vain”

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) USA “America”

Tupac Shakur (USA “The Rose That Grew From Concrete”

Samuel John Hazo (1928-present) USA “Overheard”

Margaret Atwood (1939-present) Canada “Flying Inside Your Own Body”

Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) Canada “Dance Me to the End of Love”

Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942) Canada “A Summer Day”

John Busteed Lee (1951-present) Canada “Burning Land”

Dionne Brand (1953-present) Trinidad and Tobago/ Canada “Ossuary VIII”

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Ireland “Her Voice”

W.B. Yeats (1865-1939) Ireland “The Second Coming”

Jose Asunción Silva (1865-1896) Colombia “Nocturne III”

Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957) Chile “Intimate Letter”

Julia de Burgos (1914-1953) Puerto Rico “Dawn of My Silence”

Salvador Novo Lopez (1904-1974) Mexico “The Friend who Left”

Coral Bracho (1951-present) Mexico “Firefly Under the Tongue”

Li-Young Lee (1957-present) dual citizenship China and Indonesia educated in the US BA  University of Pittsburgh “Eating Alone”

Laxmi Prasad Devkota (1909-1959) Nepal “Crazy”

Frederick Garcia Lorca (1898-1936) Spain “City That Does Not Sleep”

Anais Nin (1903-1977) France “Risk”

Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) France “The Young Fools”

Charles Baudelaire France(1821-1867) “Be Drunk”

Virgil (70BC-19BC) Rome The Aeneid

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italy Divine Comedy

Alda Merini (1931-2009) Italy “When the Anguish”

Sappho (630BC-570BC) Greece “Ode to Aphrodite”

Homer (sometime between 12th and 18th century BC) Asia Minor/Greece The Iliad

Rafael Guillermo (1933-present) Mexico “Not Fear”

Octavio Paz (1914-1998) Mexico “Between Going and Staying The Day Wavers”

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) Scotland “Answer”

Robert Burns (1759-1796) Scotland “A Red, Red Rose”

N.K. Soho (1975-present) India “Ambrosia”

Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) Ottoman Syria/ Lebanese American “Children”

Vikram Seth (1952-present) India “All You Who Sleep Tonight”

Herman Hesse (1877-1962) Germany/Switzerland “Without You” “How Heavy the Days”

Harold Pinter (1930-2008) England  “Don’T Look…”          

Wole Soyinka (1934-present) Nigeria “Civilian and Soldier”

Antjie Krog (1952-present) South Africa “What the Stars Say”

Joumana Haddad (1970-present) Lebanon “Devil”

Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963) Greece/Turkey “The Little Girl of Hiroshima”

Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004) Lithuania “Song on the End of the World’

Halal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273) Afghanistan (present day Tajikistan) “Spiritual Verses”

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) Japan “Basho’s Death Poem” (master of Haiku)

Eriko Kishida (1929-2011) Japan “The Soundless Girl”

Xu Zhimo (1897-1931) China “Taking Leave of Cambridge Again”

Leung Ping-kwan – Pen name Yesi (1949-2013) China/Hong Kong “Images of Hong Kong”

Oodgeroo Noonuccal aka Kath Walker (1920-1993) Aboriginal Australian “A Song of Hope”

Judith Wright (1915-2000) Australia “The Moving Image”

Gig Ryan (1956-present) England/Australia “When I Consider”

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Photo block 1 - William Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sylvia Plath, Langston Hughes

Photo block 2 - Edgar Allan Poe, Maya Angelou, Pablo Neruda, Dionne Brand

Photo block 3 - Oscar Wilde, Julia de Burgos, Anais Nin, Charles Baudelaire

Photo block 4 - Robert Burns, Khalil Gibran, Halal al-Din Rumi, Leung Ping-kwan

Photos credits:

 Dionne Brand photo from the Canadian Encyclopedia.

Leung Ping-Kwan photo: By Halfnerd [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Charles Baudelaire photo: Étienne Carjat [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Julia de Burgos photo: "Notable Hispanic American Women," by Gale Group, 1998; IBSN-13: 9780787620684. Photo Source: Curbstone Press.

Portrait of Anais Nin taken in NYC in 70's by Elsa Dorfman.

All other photo are believed to be in the PUblic Domain.



















August in This Awful Awesome Life

Preparing for an Empty Nest at our Home* by Jim O'Brien