On the Second January’s Poems

I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate winter.  It worries me terribly.  Everything is so much harder, and darker, and more expensive.  Twice this month I’ve taken a header, once in the driveway, once in the parking lot at the Indian Island School on the way to a basketball game.  Winter hurts.  It’s also more difficult to get around–when my friend Lisa and I wanted to go to a poetry reading in Waterville, it was worth our lives to get there and back.  I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this was about this longest of all seasons–the number of poems out there about winter and snow and ice is enormous.  I kept digging them out for the kids, because that was where my head has been all month.  In the snow and the ice. There was one brilliant spot in all of January, though:  on the Friday snow day at the end of the month, a poet acquaintance of mine asked, on FaceBook, of all places, “Who needs a poem?”  I responded by saying that everyone needs a poem, most of us just don’t know it.  So he forwarded a piece of his and allowed that I could share it with my students.  They found that highly interesting.

Here are the offerings for this second January:

January 3rd, Tuesday:  Greg Delanty, “A New Law”

January 4th, Wednesday:  Marcus Jackson, “Winter Thanks”

January 5th, Thursday: Erin Shannon Hollowell, “Practice”

January 6th, Friday: Lucille Clifton, “I am Running into a New Year”

Lucille Clifton

January 9th, Monday:  Jane Kenyon, “This Morning

January 10th, Tuesday: Mary Oliver, “The Snowshoe Hare”

January 11th, Wednesday: Billy Collins, “Snow Day”

January 12th, Thursday: Edna St. Vincent Millay, “The Snow Storm”

January 13th, Friday: Wes McNair, “Old Cadillacs”

January 17th:  Tuesday: David Adams, “A Definition of Happiness”

January 18th-20th:  midterm exams

January 23rd, Monday: still midterms, thanks to last Friday’s snow day

Anne Porter

January 24th, Tuesday: Ralph Burns, “Fishing in Winter”

January 25th, Wednesday: Robert Burns, “Winter: A Dirge” (for his birthday!)

January 26th, Thursday: Anne Porter, “Winter Twilight”

January 27th, Friday: Hunh.  Another snow day.  How’d that happen?

January 30th, Monday: Stephen Anstey, Untitled (“Everyone needs a poem”)

January 31st, Tuesday: David Budbill, “Winter is the Best Time” (Let’s try to keep the spirits up, shall we?)

So there it is.  Another January down.  I just wish winter weren’t so long and hard and cold.  Next up?  February.  I think I’ll do love poems again this year.  Any suggestions?


  1. And this hasn’t even been such a bad January, as compared to some! I always save Billy Collins’ “Snow Day” for the day after we have one. Then I set them to writing their own. Seventh graders eat that up. Have gotten some good ones. Today I had them writing winter haiku, to send to their Japanese pen-pals who live in the southwestern part of the country where they barely get snow, let alone snow days. Should be a fun exchange.


  2. Jenny Doughty

    How about Wendy Cope’s “For I will consider my lover, who shall remain nameless”? I can email you a copy if you can’t find it. It goes alongside ‘For I shall consider my cat, Jeoffrey’, and makes a fun model.

    Among less-familiar classics there’s Browning’s “Life in a Love”. And what’s wrong with a good old-fashioned Shakespeare sonnet?


    • Jenny, I shall look those up. February’s always a short month–well, because it’s short, but also because there’s a vacation smack in the middle of it.


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