14 Poems for Valentine’s Day

With its origins in the religious feast day of a martyred Roman saint, we’re a little fuzzy on how exactly Valentine’s Day evolved over the centuries into a popular secular celebration of love, romance, and chocolate. But no matter if you embrace the day with gusto or scoff at the oversized expectations it brings, devoted Bas Bleu readers can’t deny the power of a great love poem! Whether you’re looking to restore your faith in love, searching for the perfect words to inscribe in your sweetheart’s valentine, or turning your focus inward after a relationship ends, these fourteen poems for Valentine’s Day will make your literature-lovin’ heart beat a little faster. As always, feel free to share your favorite love poems in the comments section below. (To read each poem in full, click on the graphic.) Continue reading

Why Read Poetry?

If you, like Bas Bleu’s reviewers, were an English major in college, chances are good you owned at least one poetry anthology the size of a large brick. Some of us still have one, lugging it from dorm to apartment to house as time passed and our personal libraries grew. But how many of us crack it open on a regular basis, poring over the tissue-thin pages to soak up the words of William Shakespeare, Christina Rossetti, Rainer Maria Rilke, Emily Dickinson, Rumi, Pablo Neruda, e. e. Cummings, Anne Sexton, and Audre Lorde? And how many of us count World Poetry Day among our favorite holidays? Continue reading

Banned Poetry

This week marks Banned Books Week, the American Library Association’s annual event designed to draw attention to the censorship challenges that some books and authors continue to face even in the twenty-first century. From time-honored classics (Lolita, The Bluest Eye, The Catcher in the Rye, Lady Chatterley’s Lover) to modern young-adult bestsellers (Speak, Two Boys Kissing, Looking for Alaska), novels have born the overwhelming brunt of censorship efforts in this country.

But censors and strict parents aren’t immune to the powerful effects of poetry on impressionable souls. Today on the blog, the Bas Bleu editors are taking a quick look at just a handful of poems that have drawn the ire of school districts, governments, and parents over the years.

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