National Poetry Month

Poet of the Day – Ann Howells

National Poetry Month April 20, 2020

Ann Howells

 Bigotry
 
falls, a gentle snow
upon young shoulders,
persistent wind chime
tinkling the ear.
It turns off lamps,
turns up heat,
so subtle
it goes unnoticed.
It falls like crumbs
from Mama's apron,
spills in ashes
from Dad's pipe.
Like asbestos
in the ceiling,
lead in the water,
it poisons
from the inside out,
surfaces in the most
unlikely places --
like the mouth
of a child.
 
"Bigotry," appeared originally in Chiron Review and later in my book, So Long As We Speak Their Names, poems about the watermen of Chesapeake Bay.

1.     What inspired you to write this poem?

The poem was inspired by some of the rhetoric I’ve heard lately in political discussions, especially the words of youngsters who were obviously parroting what they had heard with no real understanding.

2.     What do you like about this poem?

I am sending my poem, I like the poem as it stands — short and to the point.

3.     What would you change about this poem?

There is nothing in the poem I would change. It was simply a reflection on the insidiousness of prejudice and how it is perpetrated.

4.     Where, when, and how often do you write?

I generally write early in the morning before the rest of the household is stirring or late at night after everyone else is in bed. Of course, that doesn’t mean that ideas don’t come to me in the shower or while driving. I try to jot those ideas down as soon as possible and come back to them later

5.     What poetry books are you reading right now?

I have just finished rereading Edward Lee Masters Spoon River Anthology, the annotated version this time with explanations of his influences. I am about to begin a newly released poetry book by Christopher Manes that is based on letters from a leper colony that used to be in Louisiana.