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Cultural heritage may be a large component in telling a life story, but the core of an individual is the human aspect – sorrow and joy, fear and courage, adversity and triumph, grief and healing, etc.  It is that aspect that is relatable, regardless of passage of time and cross-cultural differences.

Stories, music and art offer common human spirit denominators.  These two videos became viral, because they created a global resonance:

Where the Hell is Matt? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlfKdbWwruY&feature=related

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir – “Lux Aurumque”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7o7BrlbaDs

A good biographer understands that telling a life story should be holistic, non-judgmental and balanced – culture, friendship, loss, adventures, growth, faith, wisdom, lessons, etc. 

Every person’s life story, without exception, will affect every person who reads it. 

Tell your story.  Affect the world.

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“If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the inquisition might have let him alone.” -Thomas Hardy

Before printed literature was available, spoken poetry was used to convey information, stories and prayers.  Samuel Taylor Coleridge described poetry as “the best words in their best order.”  He should know. 

Poetry has evolved over the centuries, reflecting the changing times in attitudes and perspectives, and the growth of spirit.  Poets draw “outside the lines,” creatively expressing alternate realities and contexts of thought and emotion.  They are rebels in the literary world. 

Geoffrey Chaucer’s prose in “The Canterbury Tales” caused quite a stir in his time, because he dared to write in his native language of Middle English, as opposed to the classical languages.  Walt Whitman introduced “free verse poetry” with his “Leaves of Grass,” then Lewis Carroll and e e cummings took that literary ball and carried it even further, creating new configurations of verse and vocabulary. 

Whether it’s the chilling words of Edgar Allan Poe (“Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore, Of Never—nevermore”), the sardonic humor of Ogden Nash (“God in his wisdom made the fly, And then forgot to tell us why”), the spiritual musings of Kahlil Gibran (“The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.  The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals”), or the whimsical, motivational writings of Theodor Seuss Geisel aka Dr. Seuss (“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.), poetry can alter your perception.

April was established as National Poetry Month by the Academy of American Poets to, among other things, highlight the legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets, introduce more Americans to the joys of poetry, and to have poetry play a more integral role in the school curriculum.

Sonnets, haikus, limericks, rhythm and rhyme, and slam poetry can all be celebrated in a variety ways this month, including:

  • On April 14, 2011, join others around the country and carry a poem in your pocket.
  • Download the PoemFlow app for your iPhone or iPod Touch, where a new poem will appear each day, the text flowing across and down the screen in harmony with the poem’s heartbeat.  Each poem is accompanied by historical trivia and contextual information:  http://www.poemflow.com

Do you have a favorite poet?

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