On Year 5: October’s Poems


I’ve been seeing Facebook memes about how October is so many people’s “favorite color.”  It seems to have taken the fancy of any number of poets, writing about the month, about the season, about things which are part of both.  Exploring the poems of October has been quite an interesting adventure.  One person in my third period class did pick up on the fact that so many poets named their pieces “Autumn” or “October;” didn’t we just read that one? was the question I heard.  Surprise!  No, no, we didn’t.  We read another one with that title by a different author.  Isn’t it cool to see the different takes by the different writers?

I realized, though, that I always introduce the class by saying the same thing:  Today I have a poem for you.  It was brought home to me when a young person shot back, Don’t you always?  And–for four years and two months now–I always have!

October 1, Wednesday:  “Still Morning” by W. S. Merwin

Edward Thomas

October 2, Thursday:  “October” by Patrick Kavanagh (both Patrick Kavanagh in general, and tomorrow’s Hughes poem in particular have been suggested in the past by the poet Jenny Doughty:  she understands my taste, I think.)

October 3, Friday:  “October Dawn” by Ted Hughes

October 6, Monday: “Wild Turkeys” by Lawrence Kessinich

October 7, Tuesday: “Beyond the Red River” by Thomas McGrath

October 8, Wednesday: “Rain” by Edward Thomas

October 9, Thursday: “Full Moon” by Liesel Muller

October 10, Friday:  teacher conference–no class

October 13, Monday:  Columbus Day–no school

Dylan Thomas

October 14, Tuesday:  “Especially When the October Wind” by Dylan Thomas

October 15, Wednesday:  “Autumn Sky” by Charles Simic

October 16, Thursday:  “Autumn Comes to Martins Ferry, Ohio” by James Wright (and did they ever want to talk about what “suicidally beautiful” looks like!)

October 17, Friday: “Octobers” by Loren Graham (because of an ad that came in my mail this week:  How come we don’t get poetry ads in the mail? one young person asked.  Hallelujah for targeted advertising!)

October 20, Monday: “Six Cheerful Couplets on Death” by Michael Blumenthal

October 21, Tuesday: “Autumn” by Amy Lowell

Amy Lowell

October 22, Wednesday: “Haymaking” by Edward Thomas

October 23, Thursday: “For My Son, Reading Harry Potter” by Michael Blumenthal

October 24, Friday: “The Students” by Mark Halliday

October 27, Monday: “Autumn” by Joan Mitchell

October 28, Tuesday: “The Broken Fountain” by Amy Lowell (I don’t know that we’ve read any Amy Lowell in all these years–so I guess two this month could make up for that lack.)

October 29, Wednesday:  “October” by Robert Frost

October 30, Thursday: “The Haunted Palace” by Edgar Allan Poe (I couldn’t decide which Poe to read for Halloween, so I chose two!)

October 31, Friday: “Spirits of the Dead” by Edgar Allan Poe

Postscript:  The month ended with the sad news of the death of Galway Kinnell.  Needless to say, November’s going to rock with the man’s work.  As always,  I am open to suggestions.  Keep them coming in!

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