An Interview with Charlotte Digregorio

Poet Charlotte Digregorio

Charlotte Digregorio is an award-winning author, teacher, and poet in the traditional Japanese form of haiku.  Her poetry has been featured in such publications as Modern Haiku, frogpond, The University of Chicago Magazine, bottle rockets, and Shamrock Haiku Journal, and as Midwest Regional Coordinator of the Haiku Society of America, the Winnetka resident works tirelessly to promote haiku through workshops, conferences, and contests.  On May 7th, you can hear Ms. Digregorio speak about the history of haiku when EPL proudly hosts Haikufest from 1-5:30 p.m. in our 1st Floor Community Meeting Room.  Featuring a writing workshop, haiku contest, book signings, and additional talks by prolific haikuists and artists, Haikufest is a free, HSA-sponsored poetry event that promises to education and inspire haiku lovers both new and old.  To pre-register, simply contact Ms. Digregorio at (847) 881-2664 or EPL at (847) 448-8600.  In anticipation of Haikufest, we recently spoke with Ms. Digregorio via email where she shared some of her haiku and poetic inspirations, discussed her work with HSA, and previewed Haikufest’s exciting line-up of speakers.

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National Poetry Month: April 25th

The Lady’s Reward by Dorothy Parker

Lady, lady, never start
Conversation toward your heart;
Keep your pretty words serene;
Never murmur what you mean.
Show yourself, by word and look,
Swift and shallow as a brook.
Be as cool and quick to go
As a drop of April snow;
Be as trenchant and as gay
As a cherry flower in May.
Lady, lady, never speak
Of the tears that burn your cheek–
She will never win him, whose
Words had shown she feared to lose.
Be you wise and never sad,
You will get your lovely lad.
Never serious be, nor true,
And your wish will come to you–
And if that makes you happy, kid,
You’ll be the first it ever did.

This poem was selected by Olivia M. (Reader’s Services)

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National Poetry Month: April 24th

Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
  My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
  One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
  But being too happy in thine happiness,–
    That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
          In some melodious plot
  Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
    Singest of summer in full-throated ease. Continue reading

National Poetry Month: April 23rd (Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare!)

Sonnet XXV by William Shakespeare

Let those who are in favor with their stars
Of public honor and proud titles boast,
Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,
Unlooked for joy in that I honor most.
Great princes’ favorites their fair leaves spread
But as the marigold at the sun’s eye;
And in themselves their pride lies buried,
For at a frown they in their glory die.
The painful warrior famoused for fight,
After a thousand victories once foiled,
Is from the book of honor rased quite,
And all the rest forgot for which he toiled.
    Then happy I, that love and am beloved
    Where I may not remove nor be removed.

This poem was selected by Russell J. (Reader’s Services)

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Foresooth! ‘Tis the Bard’s Birthday

Hear ye, citizens of the fair land of Illinois! It’s official–today is not only Shakespeare’s birthday, it’s “Speaketh Like Shakespeare Day.” For help in sorting out your thee’s and thou’s, and some tips on rhyming couplets (all the rage back then), this helpful guide will assure you that all’s well that speaks well. 

As to the birthday part of the celebration, well, the date has never been confirmed. Church records show Shakespeare’s baptism dated April 26, 1564, and as this Shakespeare site explains, odds are that the 23rd was the actual birthdate. Coincidentally many scholars accept his date of death as April 23, 1616, a fact  so loaded with irony, fate, astrological forces and a satisfying balance that old Will just might have made use of this device in one of his plays.

So lift a glass in Will’s honor as you ponder the impact of his genius on our lives today.

Barbara L.

National Poetry Month: April 22nd

Long Gone Lonesome Blues by A.E. Stallings

Death was something that hadn’t happened yet.
I was driving in my father’s pickup truck
At some late hour, the hour of broken luck.
It seeped up through the dashboard’s oubliette,
Clear voice through the murk — the radio was set
Halfway between two stations and got stuck.
But the words sobbed through, and I was suddenly struck
Like a gut string in the key of flat regret.
The voice came from beyond the muddy river —
You know the one, the one that’s cold as ice.
Even then, it traveled like a shiver
Through my tributary veins — but twice
As melancholy to me now, because
I’m older than Hank Williams ever was.

This poem was selected by Jeff B. (Reader’s Services)

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National Poetry Month: April 21st

Happiness by Raymond Carver

So early it’s still almost dark out.
I’m near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.
When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.
They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren’t saying anything, these boys.
I think if they could, they would take
each other’s arm.
It’s early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.
They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.
Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn’t enter into this.
Happiness.  It comes on
unexpectedly.  And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

This poem was selected by Rika Ghorbani (Reference Librarian)

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