Each April for the past seven years, the Knopf publishing house has given the reading public the equivalent of a free gift — its poem-a-day...

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Each April for the past seven years, the Knopf publishing house has given the reading public the equivalent of a free gift — its poem-a-day program. Each day of the month (April is, not coincidentally, National Poetry Month), readers who sign up at the Knopf Web site will receive a poem via e-mail. They can also download broadsides, send poems as e-cards and read essays on the craft.

Last year, recipients received poems from Mark Strand, Dorothy Parker, Sharon Olds and Langston Hughes. For more information, check out www.knopfpoetry.com.

We close with a 2004 selection on the lighter side from Dorothy Parker, from “Verse for a Certain Dog”:

A skeptic world you face with steady gaze;

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High in young pride you hold your noble head;

Gayly you meet the rush of roaring days.

(Must you eat puppy biscuit on the bed?)

Lancelike your courage, gleaming swift and strong,

Yours the white rapture of a wingèd soul,

Yours is a spirit like a May-day song.

(God help you, if you break the goldfish bowl!)

Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times book editor