I like poetry—or at least I do when I take the time to read it. Every year I vow I’ll read more, and I make one or two purchases in hopeful expectation of doing so. I keep a small stack of poetry books by my bed, thinking that a poem or two taken at bedtime will be just the ticket. (Usually, however, I doze off while reading the latest novel I’ve checked out from the library and never get to that poem reading. Maybe I should do it first thing in the morning?)
|Newest poetry purchases|
I’ve decided that’s OK, though. I’m not going to make reading poetry into another “should.” And you *shouldn’t* either! Even David Orr, New York Times poetry critic and author of the book Beautiful and Pointless: A Guide to Modern Poetry (a book I want to read) told NPR’s Linda Wertheimer, “I don’t know that people ought to bother. I think that poetry is one of those choices you make in life that’s…it’s not really susceptible to reasoning or arguments…. I think a better way to approach the question ‘why bother’ [to read poetry] is not to answer it—but rather just to say that if you do bother, it can be worthwhile.”
So I’m not going to try to convince you to read poetry—but in honor of National Poetry Month, I am going to share with you a few ways you can make poetry part of your life, if you want to.
I continue to love American Life in Poetry with their weekly emailed poems (I post one here every other week), but you can also get a poem-a-day from Poets.org.
To capture the poems (or parts of poems) you like, start a “commonplace book.” You can also add quotes and sayings that are meaningful to you, and end up with a beautiful and inspiring volume.
Start an online poem notebook here.
Listen to poems read by their authors here or look for Poetry Speaks, a combination book and cd package, at your library or at a bookstore (or online). I found it thrilling to hear the voices of T.S. Eliot, Edna St. Vincent Millay and e.e. cummings reading their own work.
Do you have a favorite poet or favorite poem? One of my favorite poems is Robert Frost’s A Line-Storm Song. I just love the lines: “Come over the hills and far with me,/ And be my love in the rain.”
“The true test of poetry is sincerity and vitality. It is not rhyme, or metre, or subject. It is nothing in the world
but the soul of man as it really is.”