“By reading poems we love aloud, we can learn how much pleasure there can be in the sounds of words,” says Robert Pinsky, a CAS professor and former U.S. poet laureate. “It’s as though saying the words of a poem aloud makes one feel more able, more capable than in ordinary life. You enter a different state.”
Pinsky founded the Favorite Poem Project in 1997 during the first of an unprecedented three terms as poet laureate to encourage Americans to celebrate and explore their love of poetry. Since then, the project — now directed by BU poet Maggie Dietz (GRS’97) — has produced three anthologies and more than 1,000 readings around the country.
Every week, BU Today features a member of the BU community reading his or her favorite poem. Any student or faculty or staff member can participate.
If you’d like to read your favorite poem for BU Today, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ellen Yadon, administrative assistant in the School of Dental Medicine
“Cat” by J. R. R. Tolkien
“As an owner, admirer, and lover of cats and kittens, I feel Tolkien captured the essence and mystery of felines in this exquisite, tiny tribute. Also, Tolkien’s facility with the English language is well represented in this jewel of a piece. He captures a world with very few, beautifully chosen words."
Katy Rugg, senior coordinator in the International Students and Scholars Office
“To Be of Use” by Marge Piercy
“This poem means a lot to me because I did an extensive job search, and it spoke to what kind of work I wanted to find, and being in a place in my life where the meaning of my work meant a lot in making decisions, and finding a place to be.”
Lisa Flanagan (CFA’04,’08)
“Darkness” by George Gordon, Lord Byron
“I first encountered this poem in a Tom Stoppard play, and it captured me. It’s spooky, it’s haunting, and it’s before its time.”
Fabiana Cabral (CAS’07)
Excerpt from “Ode” by Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy
“I really like this poem because it seems to say that nothing is impossible, that people who are dreamers, who you think are really distracted and don’t know things, are actually the ones who make this world worth living in.”
Emily Merriman (GRS’96,’07)
“Remembrance” by Emily Brontë
“I chose “Remembrance” because I think it’s one of the most powerful poems I’ve ever encountered. I was first introduced to it at BU in the mid-1990s by BU Professors Derek Walcott and Geoffrey Hill.”
Sakena Young-Scaggs, associate dean of Marsh Chapel
"Call" by Audre Lorde
“This poem is one that lays out the sacred in all women of African descent — not just Christian women, not just Yoruban women, but women of faith of African descent all around the world.”
The Favorite Poem Project: October, 2006
Click here to listen to Kate Snodgrass (GRS’90), director of BU’s Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, read D. H. Lawrence; Sara DeRitter (CAS’02, GRS’02), former program director of the Community Service Center, read Maya Angelou; Jonathan Chin (CAS’08), cofounder of Speak for Yourself: BU Slam Poetry, read Elliot Harmon; and Christopher Robinson, sign-language interpreter with BU’s Office of Disability Services, read William Cullen Bryant.
The Favorite Poem Project: September, 2006
Click here to listen to Colleen Quinn, program coordinator in the Student Activities Office, read Shel Silverstein; Paul Howell (GRS’08), doctoral student in astronomy, read Dylan Thomas; Peter Hawkins, CAS professor of religion and director of the Luce Program in Scripture and Literary Arts, read ee cummings; and Reverend Dr. Robert Alan Hill, Dean of Marsh Chapel, read Robert Frost.