April 27, 2011
April is Poetry Month, so what better time than now to try, once again, to unravel the mystery surrounding the beautiful poems. There are so many wonderful poets to choose from. Where do you start? How can you find something that makes sense?
I don't know about you all, but I sometimes struggle with being a well-rounded reader. I enjoy most genres; I enjoy contemporary fiction, biographies, cookbooks, history, and so many others. There are two vital types of books that one must have a passing knowledge of in order to claim to be a well-rounded reader in my mind. Those two are classics and poetry. Both are areas which I struggle with, especially poetry. How many of you will read a poem, sit back, and instead of marveling at the depth and beauty of that poem, wonder "what in the world was that saying?" Poetry is often like reading a foreign language for me. Rest assured, there is hope for us not-so-deep-and-philosophical types.
My tips for looking for poetry are simple. The first thing I do is find smaller books of poetry! If I feel like I have to read through hundreds of pages of poems, the chances of me actually reading that book go down significantly. The second thing I did was start with some contemporary authors. It's amazing how much use of language and cultural context can get in the way of understanding the meaning of a poem. Once I did this, I began enjoying poetry so much more, and have been able to start going back to other authors that used to completely stump me. My favorite "beginner’s book of poetry" would have to be A Brave and Startling Truth by Maya Angelou.
North Oak Branch