Poetry at Work
Leslie via Sonora Marshall. It's daily email from a website called days of the year like the day. We're releasing this episode. February eighteenth is Pluto Day as in the DWARF PLANET. Drink wine day and eat ice cream for breakfast day also battery day. Are you generally like on Wednesday or Thursday? We'll look ahead for the following week and fifth or something I can tie into so I put him on my calendar ahead of time and then I get ready to had about a week and notice that it was going to be poetry work Dan. I thought Oh this is fun. I'm GonNa do something with this one. Leslie works in Fundraising at National Louis University in Chicago and only with Leslie looking forward to poetry at workday but she knew just what poem to bring in for the occasion. I found this poem when I my husband and I were out for dinner at one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants so they have this poster and it says be like a pineapple so the poem is be like a pineapple stand tall where a crown and be sweet on the inside. Leslie brought this poem to work recited it to our colleagues. She also passed out pineapples made at a rice paper. Why went all over the building and made people listen to me in the Elevator Jan? Outside of the classroom any opportunity I had where there was a gathering of people I would share my pineapple. I started out and I say okay. I'm going to share my palm. Then I say be like a pineapple and everyone looks at me and then I say stand tall and everybody's stance tall. They change their posture. So it's like they are listening to the palm and then I say where a crown and everybody smiles and then I say and be sweet on the inside and everyone goes. Aw It's short and it is sweet and it elicits a response. Almost one hundred percent of the time. Roses are red as God as my witness. Rework so show about how to do business. I'm Sean Hillier Waylon. Juan workday is the second Tuesday in January. So it kind of missed it this year. But that doesn't mean we can't bring poetry to work on other days of the year to today on rework look at the ways. Poetry can enrich your work life and a few of colleagues at base camp. Come on to shape homes that are meaningful to them. I up waylon talks to the creator of poetry at Workday and take your poet to workday. Which is the third Wednesday of July? I'm Lara Bar. Cats you would know may as night author name online which would allow our cat. I'm a writer. Author publisher when an child. My mom would read poetry to us every day before we got on the school bus. I remember one. That would always make us cry. Tommy African chiefs and it was about this person who had been kidnapped from his tribe in Africa and brought to America on a slave ship. But it was fairly graphic actually needed to cry when she read this to us. Laura found her way back to poetry as an adult when she got involved in online writing communities. Her website tweets speak. Poetry has been around since two thousand nine and grew out of twitter. Community that when meet up to share responses to poetry prompts we had developed this idea that poetry should be for life not for ivory tower. The idea for poetry at Work Day came up and as usual nineteenth out it was just a joke and I took it seriously always take seriously our jokes. I think that in our whimsy. That's where we often find our deepest most important projects ideas is INS heart. Why take to work? I think poetry causes shifts in thinking can wake us up. It helps create new scripts. You know we don't have these scripts that we have in our heads when we have that between friends family members also coworkers memorizing poems together. Having say what I would call Palomas in leading place kids something to hold in common into fall back on this great poem by Tony. Hoagland called Wasp one point in the poem. He says human beings should have a warning label on side that says disorganized narratives in. Sat. You're you're getting into it with a co-worker new half a second to remember. That line is organized narrative inside healthy Back Save yourself you know. What can I do to wait for that narrative to come out in more fullness can I listen I like the way poetry can give us these little phrases that become new scripts in our minds? Tell the steelers people I think poetry. Kinda can save people from their worst impulses because it gives them something to think about. It gave me a lot to think about still does everyday. Don Share is the editor of Poetry magazine. You can be there with you and it can get you through the day and it can get you through like hard times. It can be fun on a good day. I I liked the idea of making it part of like a normal regular life because it is I'm reminded of John Ashbery poem called the Instruction Manual. And it has these lines in it as I sit looking out of a window of the building. I wish I did not have to write the instruction manual on the uses of a new metal. I looked down into the street and SEE PEOPLE. Each walking with an inner peace envy them. They are so far away from me. Not One of them has to worry about getting out this manual on-schedule that connection between work in poetry is a little complicated because most people were because they have to. Some people are working what they do because they're lucky and choose to but all of us have the feeling that work can be constricting and confining so poetry can sort of give you like those lines do away of sort of looking out just sorta like taking that little pause for your imagination to remind you that you're alive that you are more than what you have to do but you have to do anyway. I mean Philip. Larkin has a famous home in the First Line say why should I let the toed work squad on my life? I mean who hasn't asked that question right. It's like you wake up and you're like Oh why why. Why so the connection between poetry and work is real and there are a lot of poems that connect with that instead of ad breaks in this episode. We thought it might be fun to do. Little basecamp poetry breaks so I up. Here's our colleague Lexi from Base Camps Customer Support Team so this is Nikki. Giovanni poem that I thought of when I was listening to the episode of the podcast about the office. And how we're moving. And when you and Jason were describing the ideal scenario it made me think of this poem. it's called my first memory of librarians. This is my first memory. A big room with heavy wooden tables that sat on a creaky wood floor a line of green shades bankers lights down the center heavy oak chairs that were too low. Or maybe I was simply too short for me to sit in and read so. My first book was always big in the foyer up. Four steps a semicircle. Desk presided to the left side. The card catalogue on the right newspapers draped over what looked like a quilt rack. Magazine spaced out from the wall. The welcoming smile of my librarian the anticipation in my heart. All those books another world just waiting at my fingertips. I think for a lot of us. The last time we spent any time reading poetry was back in high school and that experience was probably not the greatest. You know I remember. We had to memorize poems and one of them started out. It's famous palm and it was. This is the forest primeval and I was a kid and I was like I'd never seen a forest and I didn't know it primeval man so we got off on. The wrong foot. Seems to me what happens. Is You get to high school. And the poem Becomes Object. An object that you're analyzing INTERCON poking at it and turning it over and you're not encountering as a as a living kind of entity as a message a call from someone else's heart to your heart. I didn't know there was such a thing as a living poet. I thought they were all like dead white guys with long beards. You know and a lot of them were but Allen Ginsberg came to town and somebody talked me into seeing Allen Ginsberg so I saw a living real famous poet so cool. This was in the early seventies when John was sixteen years old and growing up in Memphis Tennessee. He was just wild and fascinating and I thought Oh. That's a kind of poetry. They weren't going to tell us about in those days. The first thing he did was he meditated. He said Home M- and he did never a long time and everybody was kind of like. Wow this is not what we expected. And then with the harmonium. He started playing what turned out to be. Blake. Poems set to very primitive kind of harmonium music and I just thought this was like a rock concert. Honestly it had music. It had a kind of the Atra Calorie to it and he was a great performer and it was the first time words in a poem came alive for me in any way and then sort of from there. I used to get in trouble in school and they would send me to the library as punishment and so I I'd be there. Had nothing to do is just keeping me out of circulation well in most libraries poaching. Books are the ones that are still on the shelf because they don't get checked out a lot so I just started reading. I would pull book off the shelf and read it. And he's finding great stuff that they didn't tell me about who's right there the whole time. So that's kind of weird all started and nobody told me what to read. Nobody told me what was good or bad or who was. I didn't know who is famous. And who wasn't and I start walking around school with book upon some people would sort of. Give me a funny looking. I liked that it was a little offbeat and at the same time I discovered. There was a lot of people like me doing that. Same thing kind of the rebelliousness or secretiveness of poetry. It kind of felt interesting and cool but most importantly there were poems. That really spoke to me. And I didn't know that they existed. And the only way for me to discover them was three poke around and there was a whole world that I got into but did have an English teacher in high school and she just got. It took me aside and she said you know. Why don't you do something useful without this energy that you seem to have like instead of disrupting class? You know we're making you know SMART. Alec remarks once you write some stuff down. It's like Oh because I didn't think it was okay to write my own stuff down. I thought I had to read what everybody else had written done. Continue to read and write poetry into adulthood and eventually landed at Poetry magazine becoming in two thousand thirteen and we design produce and create a monthly magazine. And that is a business. Even though we're a nonprofit and we have a tight production schedule because we were four issues at a time and basically we published three magazines. There's the print magazine. There's the one on the website and there's the one in the APP and each production system is completely different. We got one hundred fifty thousand poems submitted here year so much of my life is connected to poetry that everything sort of filters in in just the right way of course donnas the outlier the rare person who does poetry at work fulltime but there are lots of small ways to introduce poetry. Enter your work day. You can go to tweet speak poetry. Laura bar cats website and sign up for a daily email poem. That goes out Monday through Friday. The Poetry Foundation which publishes Poetry Magazine has an audio palm of the day at its website and does a weekly podcast and I've been listening to a short daily podcast called the slowdown where Tracy K Smith who was the. Us Poet laureate reads the poem. Don Share says not to be intimidated by poetry. Just dive in and see what you like. People worry too much. You don't have to understand everything you might not understand any of it but if you like it you like it. That's it and on the other hand. If you don't like it you don't have to succeed. It's the poetry scene and hopefully from that seed grows the smallest of ideas. Like maybe I can start taking poetry bike instead of just a coffee break. Just a lunch break. Maybe you know instead of most of there's anything necessarily wrong with spending your whole break scrolling through Guilty guilty. I've done it myself but to say well maybe I'll take opposed to break instead. Feed my stirrup feed my mind feed my soul and on that note. Let's take another basement poetry break. Here's Matthew Vincent. A member of our OPS team on clothes by Leeann juvenile and the weaver said speak to us of clothes and he answered your clothes conceal much of your beauty. Yet they hide not the beautiful garments freedom of privacy. You may find them a harness and a chain would that you could meet the sun and the wind with more of your skin and less of your arraignment for the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind. You say it is the North Wind has woven the clothes we wear and I say I it was the north wind. Shame was loom and the softening of the city is says thread and when his work was done. He laughed in the forest. Forget not that modesty is for a shield against the eye of the unclean and when the unclean shall be no more what we're modesty fetter and fouling of the mind and forget not diverse delights to feel your bare feet and the winds law. Play with your hair. There's a famous poem by William Carlos. Williams called this is just to say it goes. I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox in which you're probably saving for breakfast. Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold. If this sounds familiar it may be because became a twitter me. I'm a couple of years ago with people. Riffing on the original poem than combining it with Song lyrics and so on this poem popped into my head while doing this episode because it occurred to me that the shared office fridge is kind of a fraught place an coworkers. Maybe don't have conflicts over eating each other's plums but may be they do have conflicts over eating each other's leftover Thai food or whatever. Actually it turns out that the kitchen in the offices a poetry magazine does inspire worse every once in a while. Here we do find some verse or allusions diverse on a post it note and this little staff kitchen and I did one day. Find a wonderful posted at said. There are a lot of low to cedars here and it was very funny because this idea of low to cedars goes way back through mythology. Where if you are low to cedar you sort of you're hallucinating. It's like a drug and you're sort of mind is in the clouds and stuff like that. And there's actually a poem called the low to Cedars by Alfred Lord Tennyson. And so you do that once in a while. This sort of scrawl or graffiti. That's almost real poetry around here and the freedom to do that in the work place is something. I urge everybody to take up. I mean just imagine if you left the liner to poetry on posted in your staff kitchen in other way to take your poetry at work. Game to the next level is trying what Laura and her colleagues are doing which studying one poem together for a year. Here's the one they chose. You don't know the kind of person I am and I don't know the kind of person you are a pattern that others made in the world may prevail in following the wrong God home we move star. There's many small trail in the mind shrug that let's fragile sequence. Rake sending shouts the horrible errors of childhood storming out to play from broken dike in his elephants parade holding each elephants tail. But it formed wanders. Circus won't find the park. I call it cruel. Maybe the root of all cruelty to know what occurs recognize the fact so I appeal to voice to something shadowy remote important region in all talk only could fool each other. We should consider less the parade of our mutual life. Get lost in the dark important. That'll wake people awake breaking line. May discourage them back to sleep. The answers weekends s now. A navy should be clear. Darkness around US instinct. That's a ritual to read to each other by Williams offered every team in America and all leadership groups in America should read this poem with each other before they start their meetings first. Allies poem has a lot of space in it for thinking considering and asks something of us. Something of us in the a way that we behave. It's one another you know. I don't like to make really grandiose claims about poetry because they're not true like poach doesn't make you a better person or the world would be full of great people and even posts themselves are often terrible. People say I wouldn't want to be married to Ted Hughes but he's great poet but no way There are a lot of poets. Have an had terrible political views racist misogynist the whole thing because poets are different from other people and they're not better than other people. Either you know. I don't like to have an exalted view of poetry. That makes these big claims for I don't know of poetry induces empathy and other people. I'm sort of dubious can but I'm not sure about that because look at it this way I get all these hundred fifty thousand pumps year will not everybody. Sending him to me is an empathetic wonderful person. I may not be myself right so I'm worried about that because I don't think again. It's sort of like a vegetable. That's good for you. I don't think it works that way. A lot of poems. Have the purpose of alienating people. There are poems that are designed to provoke their provocations. Like other kinds of our can be. They may be nasty on purpose. That's a legitimate purpose poetry as it would be for film painting even music you know. Some stuff is designed to confront people with realities. That are no fun So it has other things to do besides make people better and I don't. Frankly know of any poets right upon to make anybody better at the same time. It can be very very healthy to read palms even unpleasant ones to wake you up one of the things. That poetry does in. Can-do is it reminds you that there are people who have different values and ideas than you do and it can connect you with them and it's a way for people to have differences. Were without violence without conflict that intimacy. That's in poetry humanizes things so that at the least it may not make better but it can help make you more aware of what it's like to be a person somewhere else it does remind you of our own kind of humanity and gives you that insight into what might make things better for people but APLOMB ALONE. Camberley do that. I mean we have to do that today. My calendars telling me answer your questions. Do you have a cat? I do you know some cats Don't spend a Lotta time asking questions. I think. They think they're above that they don't have to deal with. Have you read your cat? The pineapple poem. I have not but I have read my dog the Pineapple Bowl. Oh how did they react? So she just looked at me quizzically. She's a cute little wonderful dog poetry as matter thing that's rear is produced by. Waylon long and me Sean. Our theme music is by Clip Art. Stick around past the credits because we have one more basecamp poetry break. This time from troy the director of operations here basecamp Laura Bar. Cats website is L. L. Barkat DOT COM and tweet speak. Poetry is at tweet speak poetry dot com where you can find little cutouts of famous poets that you can color and put on a popsicle stick to bring in for ticker poet to workday in July. You can also sign up for their daily poetry email. The Poetry Foundation is at Poetry Foundation Dot. Org and the Poetry magazine. Podcast can be found wherever you listen to rework and Leslie's favorite poem about the Pineapple is credited to an entrepreneur named Catherine Gaskin. She's on Instagram at Cat Gaskin now. Here's our colleague Choi with the Benediction for all of us. My Poem for poetry work is blessing for those who are exhausted by John. O'donoghue this just really struck a chord with me. Recently as we were going through the holidays and struggling to get work things wrapped up and getting teenagers ready and offer the holidays and all of the things that come about that this really was just a reminder that sometimes slowing down and connecting with yourself is an important aspect of life and work and really everything so here we are blessing for those who were exhausted when the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic time takes on the strain until it breaks then all the unattended stress falls in on the mind like an endless increasing weight. The LIGHT IN THE MIND BECOMES DIM. Things you could take in your stride before now become labor some events of will weariness invades your spirit. Gravity begins falling inside. You dragging down every bone. The tide you never valued has gone out. And you are marooned on unsure ground. Something within you has closed down and you cannot push yourself back to life you have been forced to enter empty time the desire that drove. You has relinquished. There is nothing else to do now but rest and patiently learned to receive the self you have forsaken for the race of days at first. You're thinking will darken and sadness will take over like listless weather the flow of an wept. Tears will frighten you. You have traveled to fast over false ground. Now your soul has come to take you back. Take refuge in your senses up to all the small miracles you rush through become inclined to watch the way of rain when it falls slow. Free imitate the habit of twilight taking time to open the well of color that fostered the brightness of day draw alongside the silence of stone until it's calmness can claim you be excessively gentle with yourself. Stay clear of those vexed and spirit learned to linger around someone of ease. Who feels they have? All the time in the world. Gradually you will return to yourself having learned a new respect for your heart and the joy that dwells far within slow time. Roses are red as God is my witness. Rework is a show about how to do business. I'm Sean Hyllner This is a. Don't we met you have to do the contraction otherwise we lose the rhythm keeping we're keeping your critique of my poetry reading that's for sure actions? Miami pentameter isn't good enough that there was like. What can we say that's going to fit into this rhythm?