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April’s Stories and Poems

Written by Francesca Dolan, 5th April 2022
Spring is the season of looking out for and finding the new, and it’s this theme of newness that runs as a thread through April’s Monthly Stories and Poems selections.

New beginnings can be found in different ways for the characters we meet in this month’s highlighted stories and extracts. A celebration of a birthday provides an opportunity to look at life in a new light, while on the other end of the spectrum, a time of grieving opens up a window from the past into the present, transforming one man’s understanding of family and friendship, loss and forgiveness. A moment of decision – about whether to stay in familiar surroundings or take the chance of moving to another place – sets the scene for how the prospect of something new can cause lots of different feelings to arise in us.

Elsewhere, new experiences and emotions are opened up within the space of a long haul flight for a mother of a young child, with various answers to huge life questions coming out into the air. There’s also a way of looking, or more accurately, not looking at life that a couple continue to employ which might seem quite different to something many of us typically experience.

April’s stories and extracts are:

‘Mirrors’ by Carol Shields

‘Eveline’ by James Joyce

‘Pray Without Ceasing’ by Wendell Berry

‘All The People Were Mean and Bad’ by Lucy Caldwell

‘A darkness and a mystery’ (from Go Tell It on the Mountain) by James Baldwin

The new comes in the form of the sunrise, as well as spring itself in April’s poem choices. We might be inclined to think of the start of a day or a new season coming into being as solely positive, but this month’s poems equally hold space to consider the other side; the idea that something new might also be challenging or painful, stirring up memories we might want to hide from or that have the potential to hurt us. Other poems pose new questions for us, well worth the opportunity to take the time to pause, reflect and do some re-reading as we consider these different perspectives.

‘Between the Stars’ by Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)

‘The Happiest Day’ by Linda Pastan

‘Yes, Of Course it Hurts’ by Karin Boye (translated by David McDuff)

‘At Dawn, Sitting in My Father’s House’ by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn

‘There’s silence between one page and another’ by Valerio Magrelli (translated by Jonathan Galassi)


All of April’s choices are available to download here in The Reader Library.

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