What Two Local Poets are Reading for National Poetry Month

Happy National Poetry Month! To celebrate, we asked two local poets to share poetry recommendations.

National Poetry Month was founded by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996 and has been celebrated ever since. As defined by poets.org, NPM is a “special occasion that celebrates poets’ integral role in our culture and that poetry matters.”

Celebrate with us by reading what two local poets, Nancy K. Jentsch and Alexandra McIntosh—both of whom are in CCPL’s collection—recommend.

Alexandra McIntosh

Provided by Alexandra McIntosh

Alexandra McIntosh “lives and writes in Kentucky, her favorite place in the world. You can find links to her publications and photos of her dog on her website: alexandraMcIntosh.com.”

Her debut poetry collection, Bowlfuls of Blue, was released in 2021 and explores various communities, from human to animal to spiritual. Other themes explored include newness in routine, stories of her childhood and more.

View Bowlfuls of Blue in our catalog and read on for McIntosh’s recommended poems.

Wendell Berry’s “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”

McIntosh’s recommendation: “In this brilliant poem, Berry uses the voice of a ‘Mad Farmer,’ an archetypal wise fool; I picture him standing out in his Kentucky field ranting about the state of the world and offering us a better way. I often recall this poem, especially the final line, when I am in need of hope.”

Wendell Berry is a Kentucky poet, author, essayist and environmentalist who has penned over 50 titles. He has been awarded with a host of awards, including the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, a National Humanities Medal, the T.S. Eliot Prize and more.

You can read “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” in The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry. View more of his work in our catalog here.

Jorie Graham’s “The Bird on My Railing”

McIntosh’s recommendation: “This lovely poem explores one of my favorite aspects of poetry: its ability to preserve a specific moment and allow the reader to return with fresh eyes. It’s a poem about the miraculous passing of time and the beauty of the present moment.”

Born in New York City and raised in both Italy and France, Poetry Foundation called Jorie Graham “one of the most celebrated poets of the American post-war generation.” Graham’s work often draws from the fields of visual art, mythology, history and philosophy.

In CCPL’s catalog, Graham appears in Poems from the Women’s MovementYou can read “The Bird on My Railing” at London Review of Books.


Nancy Jentsch

Provided by Nancy Jentsch

Nancy Jentsch describes herself a “second career poet” who spent 37 years teaching German and Spanish at Northern Kentucky University. Following retirement, Jentsch has dedicated more of time to writing.

Released in 2022, you can check out her collection, Between the Rows, from our catalog. Jentsch’s recommendations are below.

Organelle by Donelle Dreese

Jentsch’s recommendation: “This book concentrates on environmental topics and is by a professor in the English Department at NKU. I couldn’t put this one down!”

Donelle Dreese is a local writer who also works as a professor of English at NKU. Read more about her work at donelledreese.com, where you can find her writing for publications like Psychology Today and Lexington Herald-Leader, among others. You can read her collection’s namesake poem, “Organelle” on Split Rock Review

The Safety of Small Things by Jane Hicks

Jentsch’s recommendation: “This is a recent read for me and combines poetry that looks in detail at nature with poetry written about the journey of a cancer patient. The writing is superb, not shying away from the smallest of details and the infinity of emotions.”

Jane Hicks is an Appalachian-based teacher, poet and fiber artist. Both of her collections were published by the University Press of Kentucky, most recently The Safety of Small Things was released in early 2024.

You can check out her other collection, Driving with the Dead, from CCPL’s catalog.


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We loved hearing the voices of MUSE Cincinnati Women’s Choir at last Friday's Arts & Culture Series! The series takes a bow this Friday at 7 pm for the third and final installment: The NKU String Project. Bring the whole family! Register: loom.ly/0loWtc4. ... See MoreSee Less

3 days ago
We loved hearing the voices of MUSE Cincinnati Women’s Choir at last Fridays Arts & Culture Series! The series takes a bow this Friday at 7 pm for the third and final installment: The NKU String Project. Bring the whole family! Register: https://loom.ly/0loWtc4.