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Website of the Week — Poets.org


Time again for our Website of the Week, which this week salutes the start of National Poetry Month with an online source for all your poetic needs.

Poetry and the Internet may be an odd couple, but it turns out that the Web is full of resources both for those who write poetry and those who enjoy it.

SWENSON: "Poets.org is the largest website devoted to poetry. We represent all different kinds of poetry. There are some American poets who are very interested in formal poetry, for instance the sonnet. Other poets do not care at all about forms that someone else invented. They discover their own forms as they're writing."

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Poets.org features a select list of some 1700 American poems, biographies of 500 poets, essays on poetry, and more. And it's well organized with lots of links to help you find your way around.

SWENSON: "For instance, if you go to the page on Langston Hughes, you not only have the biography, just a brief life of Langston Hughes, but you can click on certain of his poems and hear them read aloud."

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.

Langston Hughes reading his poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." Among the other popular poets featured on the site are Emily Dickenson, Robert Frost, Walt Whitman and Maya Angelou.

Now, I often have trouble decoding poems, so I wondered about listeners who may not be native English speakers. But Tree Swenson says poetry isn't just for sophisticated language experts.

SWENSON: "They should just relax, take a deep breath, and whatever they feel coming out of the poem, whatever images the poem brings to mind, that's fine. That's poetry. The fear of poetry, I think, prevents many people from loving poetry. And I think it's less of a problem in other countries."

Make poetry part of your life at our Website of the Week, Poets.org, or get the link from our site, VOANews.com.

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