18---> emily & eliot


Name: Emily Ruck Keene
Hometown: Oxfordshire, England
Current City: Paris, France
Occupation: Editor and Co-Host of Paris Lit Up
Age: 28

What does poetry mean to you?

For me, poetry—writing and reading—is a unique personal experience, by which I mean that everyone can find something different in it. It might be writing a poem to express your political standpoint or reading a poem on loss that triggers a reaction in you. There is a silent dialogue between the words, the writer, and the reader that I find beautiful.

Favorite Poem:  “Portrait of a Lady” by T.S. Eliot

Why do you like this poem?

Eliot’s was a complicated personality, but his poetic genius can’t be denied. “Portrait of a Lady” is an excellent example of Eliot’s (in)famous reputation for having a ‘smug’ voice, his weaving of references like a tapestry, and the moments of fragility that catch the reader unawares:

“I feel like one who smiles, and turning shall remark
Suddenly, his expression in a glass.        
My self-possession gutters; we are really in the dark.”

17---> joe & tranströmer


Name: Joe Ross

Current City: Paris 

Previous Places: PA, D.C., CA

Occupation: That would be nice.  In the mean time: writing, coaching, teaching, being present, and with those I meet.

Age:  Current

What does poetry mean to you?  

Poetry is a place of wander, wonder, connection, music, discovery, transmission, wisdom, fun, truth, experimentation, mystery, renewal, beauty, hope, essence, and sometimes something to dance to.

Favorite Poet:  

The one I’m reading.  Currently, Tomas Tranströmer.

Why do you like this poet/poem?  

Friendship, attention, being,  use of  metaphor, image, music, honesty, truth, humanity, and connection.

A poem from Tranströmer:


On the subway platform.

A crowd among billboards

in a staring dead light.

The train comes and fetches

faces and briefcases.

Darkness next. We sit

like statues in the cars

hauled into the tunnels.

Strain, dreams, strain.

At stations below sea level

the news of darkness is sold.

People moving melancholy,

mum, beneath clockfaces.

The train carries a load

of street clothes and souls.

Looks in all directions,

passing through the mountain.

Nothing changing yet.

But near the surface begins

the hum of freedom’s bees.

We emerge from the earth.

The countryside flaps its wings

once, and then subsides

under us, wide and greenish.

Shucks of corn blow in

across the platforms.

End of the line! I ride

beyond the end of the line.

How many aboard? Four,

five, hardly more.

Houses, roads, skies,

fjords, mountains

have opened their windows.

14---> le comptoir général & senghor


Name : Le Comptoir Général
Hometown: Paris
Occupation: Ghetto Museum, bar, restaurant and concept-store. Our sustainable projects are the result of creativity that springs up in poor or marginalized places all over the world.

What does poetry mean to you?

Poetry can affect all generations, and make people consider anything from love to loss, indeed poetry does what little else can, it can inspire. Poetry is the power of love among everything.

Favorite Poem:
Femme Noire” from Léopold Sédar Senghor

Why do you like this poet/poem?

Leopold Sédar Senghor’s poetry is based on a desire and a hope to create a Universal Civilization, beyond the boundaries of traditions and differences of the people.

This specific poem is also a wonderful homage to all the women of the world, who are still oppressed and prosecuted every day.

1---> chelsie & whitman

Name: Chelsie

Hometown: St. Louis, MO

Current City: Paris

Occupation: PhD candidate

Age: 31

What does poetry mean to you?

Poetry is the distilled essence of meaning-making, pulled together through repetitions of sound and rhythm that surpass referential language.

Favorite poet/poem

Walt Whitman & “Song of the Open Road

Why do you like this poet/poem?:

For its celebration of wanderlust and exploration, its praise of struggle, and its reminder to celebrate our non-material wealth. 

national poetry month 2015, broadcasting from paris, france

in april, the united states celebrates national poetry month, a time to consider the social power of poetry. this blog is designed to feature profiles of people from around the world who enjoy poetry. the posts will occur in april each year and aim, by virtue of collection, to illustrate the diverse beauty of the art. 

if you’re interested in participating, please email verseofapril@gmail.com.