Saturday, April 2, 2016

Why I'm Celebrating Poetry


A lot of people I've encountered think that poetry is pretty, but boring.  Or that it's hard to understand unless you're a poet yourself.  Or that poetry is just fluffy, romantic glop.  I felt that way myself until I went to college.  I disliked almost all the poetry I read for my high school lit courses.  In fact, I avoided poetry whenever possible.  My lit classes made me memorize all kinds of things about iambs and feet and meter and other technical jargon that made poetry about as enjoyable and interesting as scrubbing the kitchen floor.

Then I went to college and made friends with a couple of fellow writers.  They wrote poetry.  They loved poetry.  And their poetry was fun!  Not only that, but I discovered that I could write poetry too.  And it wasn't stiff and formal and dull.  I found that poetry could dance and sway and frolic.  

My second semester that year, I took a class called Poetry and Drama.  Fast-forward to my senior year, and I helped teach Poetry and Drama as part of my internship working for the head of the English department.  Quite a change over the course of four years, from actively disliking poetry to teaching others about it because I enjoyed it so much myself.

And now here I am, fourteen years after that, hosting a month-long blog celebration of poetry.  Pretty crazy, huh?  



But why do I like poetry?  Because it makes me view things in a different way than I otherwise would.  My favorite poems revolve around one small incident or image, something that would get barely mentioned in prose.  Plums, a fence, fog, a few words exchanged between a grieving husband and wife.  Spending time considering small things, fleeting moments, ordinary people.  I like poems that are like a photograph -- I can spend lots of time studying that one captured image and learning things from it, noticing what I might otherwise have overlooked or not understood or ignored.

Of course, there are lots of other kinds of poetry too.  Love poems, epic poems, ballads, and so on.  I enjoy those too.  But the types of poems I like best, and usually write myself, are the intimate little ones that make me pause and pay attention to the little things in life.

However, I don't read (or write) as much poetry as I used to, and so this Poetry Month Celebration is my way of encouraging myself to include more of it in my life.  While I'm at it, I figured why not spread the poem love?  So here we are.  



If you haven't already, please check out the Poetry Giveaway I'm hosting, which runs through Thursday, April 7.  And if you're so inclined, you can copy the Poetry Tag and fill it out on your own blog.  But above all, please go to the Poetry Month Celebration page and see all the cool posts that other bloggers are planning to contribute to this event -- what they've already posted!  If you want, you can sign up to participate too.

18 comments:

  1. I like your description of some poems resembling a photograph. If I think about the poems I like (and I don't know much about poetry so there are only a few) it is the ones that freeze a moment in time or an image or a thought. I will be very interested in following along with your month of poetry.

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! It looks like there will be a great variety of posts -- I think we'll all have our horizons broadened, so to speak.

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  2. I once felt much the same. I'm not sure what or when changed, but somewhere along the road less traveled I developed a liking of poetry. I once posted a poem on a poetry forum and had one of the members...who was clearly an authority on poetry...gently admonished me that "no one writes poetry like this anymore". It honestly made me chuckle. I replied..."Well obviously, some one still does."

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    1. Joseph, how intriguing that you've had a similar journey! Maybe it just takes a while for some of us to find what kind of poetry we like.

      I've met "authorities" like that myself, heh.

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  3. I have little to do with poetry, but I must admit that reading something like this:

    "Each night heals gaps between us until we are joined by the scar of dreams." - Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces

    ... gives me pause.

    Not technically poetry, but symbolic imagery in a poetic style (an entire novel of it, no less).

    Curiouser and curiousor, said Alice.

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    1. Charity, I also love symbolic, metaphorical language, whether it's in poetry or prose.

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  4. I love poetry too! I've not given much thought to what kinds, exactly, I like . . . it's really a mixed bag, I guess. Robert Frost and Richard Lovelace and William Shakespeare and Ogden Nash and G.K. Chesterton and R.L. Stevenson. All of them. In different ways, they're all fantastic.

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    1. Jessica, Robert Frost is one of my favorites too! Mine are a mixed bag too, though I lean toward the more modern, but with some classics like the Brownings.

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  5. Until a few years ago I also thought that poetry was just a pain. But now I have found a new appreciation for poetry and even wrote a couple of poems on my blog. Thanks for spreading poetry awareness.

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    1. Isaac, I'm glad you've gotten to that "Oh, this is actually good stuff" point too! Good for you :-)

      And that's a good way to describe this celebration: spreading poetry awareness. Thanks!

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  6. I loved how you answered the question of why do YOU like poetry. I coincide with your explanation. I like also the poems that play with language, and those who take me to the past, poets who try to capture time. But I love the epic poems too. I'm reading Paradise Lost, and part of why I adore it it's because it's so much over my head, lol, and the bit I capture and savor makes me ridiculously happy, I don't know why. I guess I'd add I love poems that tell me a story, and that have a cinematographic quality, (as a friend described Paradise Lost scenes with Satan and the other demons fighting, etc).

    My link,

    http://www.silviacachia.com/2016/04/poetry-gift-to-our-children.html

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    1. Thanks, Silvia! I didn't want to do a bossy sort of post about why everyone likes poetry, hee. Just explaining why I do.

      I've only read parts of Paradise Lost, but if I ever write a memoir, I want to use a PL as the title" This Flying Steed Unreined. I remember there was one character I reeeeeeeeeally liked, one of the warrior angels, but I can't remember his name now. Beliel or something like that?

      I'll add your link to the list!

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  7. I've always loved poetry, but I've fallen out of the habit of reading it lately. I signed up for the Writer's Almanac so I get a poem in my inbox every day -- that might help!

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    1. Lory, that's a cool idea! Years ago I got the Poetry Digest out of the library regularly, which was always fun.

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  8. I confess to not reading a great deal of poetry, but I do enjoy writing it. When inspiration strikes anyway. :) I recently challenged my long-held idea that poetry must rhyme for me to enjoy it. I discovered a couple modern poets whose works do NOT rhyme and was in a form I'd never previously thought of as a poem. But I love their work! So I decided I wanted to see if I could get out of my box and try something new in regards to my own poetry. Only getting started, but so far I'm liking it. It's good to challenge ourselves, isn't it? (For the record, it's on my other blog, not FoQH. Would you want me to reference this tag? I wasn't sure if it would be what you were looking for or not. Plus it took a bit of brave to post it.)

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    1. Kara, good for you! Challenging our comfort zones can be scary, but often good for us. Who are the modern poets you're digging now?

      And you can absolutely share personal poetry for this event! I'm working on posting some of mine this week. Do you want me to add a link to your poem post? I won't until you say so, okay?

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    2. You are very welcome to add a link! I'm trying to be braver, so this is a good thing. :)

      (And I apologize for the delayed response to your question.)

      One of the poets I'm loving currently is here: https://www.instagram.com/notesontheway/
      I also enjoy a lot of Tyler Knott Gregson's stuff. Not sure if he's considered a poet or not...

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    3. In fact, I have added links to all three of your poems. There you go :-)

      Off to follow your link and google Tyler Knott Gregson. Thanks for sharing!

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