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Poetry Friday: Poetic Gratitude

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It's the last Friday of 2018, so that means it's also the last Poetry Friday of the year. Today's reader is the producer of the series, KNAU's Gillian Ferris. She reflects on some Poetry Friday highlights, and she has a thank you poem for the nearly 100 people who participated in the segment during its inaugural year. 

Hey, everyone! Happy Almost-New Year!

What an incredible year of poetry thanks to so many of you out there. I'm so grateful for you. This segment started sort of by accident when I was running out of time to produce something for National Poetry Month in April. So, I decided, hey, why not have KNAU listeners read poems? It'll take a lot less time than producing a feature! So, that's what I did. 

And I got so many emails and phone calls and texts from listeners who just loved hearing a few minutes of poetry every Friday, just a few minutes away from headlines, but still concentrating on the spoken word. And they urged me to keep doing the segment, to keep going every Friday. So, I did, and that's how all of this started. 

Over the course of the year, I've realized that every poem a person chooses to read, or write, or both, has a story behind it. And you covered everything from nature to dogs, to life and death,  and joy and pain, and everyone had a story to tell through poetry. 

17 year old Emma Collier of Flagstaff was featured in the very first Poetry Friday segment, and she read about school bullies...

"...so guess what,

if I ever have my own team

I am picking everyone first

even the worst kid

and the kid with the stutter like a skipping record

'cause I know all of us are scratched,

even if you can't hear it when we speak..."

Another one of my favorite segments was from aspiring poet and NAU student Michael Lyles who told us about his experience being black in America in his original poem "Trials and Tribulations"...

"...why jamal cant live like brad

is there a difference between ghetto fab and rad

heavy metal and jazz

cant we appreciate differences and settle them

my ancestors built this country and i aint settled in

40 acres and a mule wheres our settlement

forget it

i guess your just american

living in good ole America..."

Jake Bacon, lead photographer for the Arizona Daily Sun, brought us to tears with a poetic eulogy by Mordant that Jake dedicated to the late editor of the paper, Randy Wilson...

"...Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife,

Throughout the sensual world proclaim,

One crowded hour of glorious life

Is worth an age without a name."

I think, perhaps, my favorite segment of 2018 - it was a Father's Day tribute - it was a magical radio moment between a dad and his young daughter who surprised each other by writing poems for one another...

"Did you write me a poem?

Mmm hmmm.

Oh, awesome.

It's called "I love Dad"

Dad is silly

Dad is cozy

Dad is nice.

Dad taught me how to row a boat.

I love Dad

and he loves me.

Oh, thank you, Anya. I love you too."

I am so honored to have been witness to all the stories and poems you shared with me and your community in 2018, so here's a thank you poem for all of you. It's called "When Giving Is All We Have", by hometown poet, Arizona poet, Alberto Rios, Arizona's first Poet Laureate. 

When Giving Is All We Have

One river gives

its journey to the next.

We give because someone gave to us.

We give because nobody gave to us.

We give because giving has changed us.

We give because giving could have changed us.

We have been better for it,

we have been wounded by it - 

Giving has many faces: It is loud and quiet,

big, though small, diamond in wood-nails.

Its story is old, the plot worn and the pages, too,

but we read this book, anyway, over and again:

Giving is, first and every time, hand in hand,

mine to yours, yours to mine.

You gave me blue and I gave you yellow.

Together we are simple green. You gave me

what you did not have, and I gave you

what I had to give - together, we made

something greater from the difference. 

Poetry Friday is produced by KNAU's Gillian Ferris. If you have an idea for a segment, drop her an email at Gillian.Ferris@nau.edu.

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Gillian came to KNAU in 2001 as a freelance reporter. Her first story won an Arizona Associated Press Award. Since then, Gillian has won more than a dozen Edward R. Murrow Awards for feature reporting, writing, editing and documentary work. She served as KNAU’s local Morning Edition anchor for many years before becoming News Director and Managing editor in 2013. When she’s not working, Gillian likes to spend time in the natural world with her dog, Gertie. She is an avid hiker, skier, swimmer, and reader.