Poetry's Gathering Popularity

Article excerpt

Byline: Robert C. Herguth Daily Herald Staff Writer

April is National Poetry Month . To honor this literary form, we will publish a poem every day this month. The poets we have selected live in the Northwest suburbs where poetry projects abound year round.


Enticing scents

engulf my senses

Quietly I inhale


as rising heat develops rich aroma


by the steaming flavor

I remember what will be

As I can nearly taste


yet to touch my palate

- Llke Saebeler

"I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty."

- Edgar Allan Poe, 1850

"Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat."

- Robert Frost, 1925

Back in the 1960s, poetry readings seemed largely confined to beatnik coffeehouses and lively university campuses.

But in the past few years, poetry has taken on a more mainstream appeal, especially in the Northwest suburbs. Poetry readings are popping up in cafes, libraries, taverns, and even chain bookstores - corporate entities that would have made any good hippie cringe.

So why the change?

Some believe more people are realizing the importance of having an "artsy side" and expressing it. Others think modern society has erased the stigmas associated in the past with poetry. One person suggested it could just be a fad, like the sudden popularity of different coffees.

"It's becoming kind of faddy, like lattes and mochas. It's the thing to do," said Vicki Ashton, owner of the Vail St. Cafe in Arlington Heights, which has held poetry readings since opening in 1994.

But, she added, she also believes "middle America" is increasingly becoming aware of the importance of expression through art and, as Robert Frost put it, "taking life by the throat."

Whatever the reason, poetry readings have become big business for a growing number of places in the Northwest suburbs - as April, National Poetry Month, should demonstrate. …