Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Sunday Salon... Do You Do Poetry?

Welcome to the Sunday Salon! This is the day during the week where we get together and talk books! So grab a cup of joe, find a comfy chair and relax! What bookish things have you been doing this week?

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Do you read poetry? As a Reader when we think of buying a book, do we think, "Hey, I wond
er what just came out in poetry this week?" Probably now. As much as we might enjoy the occasional poem, do you we read poems regularly? I know I'm guilty of neglecting poetry books. When I listened to the audiobook of The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova, the poet Czeslaw Milosz is mentioned and I was curious to learn more about him. What I discovered was some great poetry and an amazing history behind a poet that won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Every once in a while I'll get in the mood for poetry and wander into that section of the bookstore, but if I don't read something about a particular poet, or am not motivated in some other way, poetry is not first on my list for a visit to the bookstore. How about you?

Where do you start with poetry books? Emily Dickinson? Robert Frost? But what about poets you're not familiar with?! How do you discover those poets? One answer is poetry anthologies. Of course, this is also subjective. The editor is choosing their favorites more or less. But itis a good place to start. Here are a few of the poetry books on my shelf...

She Walks in Beauty, A Woman's Journey Through Poems selected by Caroline Kennedy... Caroline Kennedy has once again marshaled the gifts of our greatest poets to pay a very personal tribute to the human experience, this time to the complex and fascinating subject of womanhood. Inspired by her own reflections on more than fifty years of life as a young girl, a woman, a wife, and a mother, She Walks in Beauty draws on poetry's eloquent wisdom to ponder the many joys and challenges of being a woman. Kennedy has divided the collection into sections that signify to her the most notable milestones, passages, and universal experiences in a woman's life, and she begins each of these sections with an introduction in which she explores and celebrates the most important elements of life's journey.

I heard Caroline chatting about her new book on the radio, and it sounded so wonderful. Poems that reflect what it means to be a woman. Things that touch our hearts. Love, break-ups, motherhood, etc. Something else struck me during the interview too- Caroline said one of the traditions that her mother, Jacqueline Kennedy started was to give poems as gifts. When Carloline would ask her mother what she wanted for her birthday, she would answer, "Give me a poem." I'll be reviewing this book later in the month for National Poetry Month, but suffice it to say, it is a wonderful collection of poems and a nice variety of poets.

Poems to Read, A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology edited by Robert Pinsky and Maggie Dietz... The Favorite Poem Project was founded by Pinsky in 1997 during his tenure as poet laureate. Some 18,000 respondents sent letters or e-mails about their favorite poems, which resulted in the anthology America's Favorite Poems and several videos. This new anthology includes poems selected by Favorite Poem Project participants and their personal comments. But it also includes poems chosen by the editors, along with their brief remarks. Although mainly populated by famous English and American poets (Chaucer, Shakespeare, Coleridge, Housman, Dickinson, Frost, Ginsberg, Ashbery), the book has many surprises, like Abraham Lincoln and the Nicaraguan poet Rub n Dario. This landmark publication belongs on the shelves of every library in America. Highly recommended for the breadth of its coverage and the depth of its commentaries.

I thought this was an interesting book because the poems selected were favorite poems. There's a good variety of poems and poets, and as its descriptions says there is a little blurb at the beginning of most of the poems by the person who submitted to it as to the reason why this is a favorite to them. I think this is a nice tweak.

Good Poems selected and edited by Garrison Keillor... Poetry is a regular feature on Garrison Keillor's NPR radio show A Prairie Home Companion, but for the last five years, it has formed the core of The Writer's Almanac, a daily, five-minute, 7 a.m. show on which Keillor reads a poem. Good Poems selects 350 pieces of verse from among the thousands that have been read on the Almanac for "Stickiness, memorability.... You hear it and a day later some of it is still there in the brainpan." Divided by subject-beginning with "O Lord," moving through "Day's Work," "Sons and Daughters" and through to "The End" and "The Resurrection"-the book includes work by writers past (Burns, Dickinson, Bishop, Williams, Shakespeare) and present: Robert Hass, Lisel Mueller, Tom Disch, among many others.

I love listening to Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion, and love his reading of poetry on the show. He has a wonderful voice for poetry and always picks great poems. Good Poems are poems meant to be funny, uplifting and poems to just bring a smile to the readers face.

A Child's Book of Poems illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa... William Blake, Kate Greenaway, Emily Dickinson: the writers in this charming anthology of 200 poems—first published in 1969—are among literature’s most beloved. And Gyo Fujikawa’s appealing illustrations depict children of all races sweetly interacting, as well as an engagingly rendered menagerie of animals and the natural world in all its wonderment. Among the verses that children will love are Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Christmas Bells,” Lewis Carroll’s “The Melancholy Pig,” and Eugene Fields’ “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,” along with proverbs, limericks, nursery rhymes, and folk songs.

Poetry of course isn't only for adults! But this book could be enjoyed by adults as well as children! The illustrations are beautiful! This would make a wonderful gift for a child in your life too! This was out of print for many years, but luckily it's back for our enjoyment!

Poems are passionate, funny, reflective. What makes poetry powerful is that is expresses these emotions in such a concise form. In only a sparse few lines a poem can move us to tears. We use poems when we exchange vows, we write them to the ones we love, even rap music is poetry. Is poetry more popular than we think? What do you think? Do you read poetry?

Weekly Recap... On Memoir Monday we highlighted In Stitches by Dr. Anthony Youn. A medical school plastic surgery memoir? A coming of age memoir combining plastic surgery and medical school. Thursday was National Poetry in Your Pocket Day! Did you celebrate? You can read all about it at Poets.org. Friday's First Lines gave you a sneak peek at John Sanford's book coming May 10th! It's called Buried Prey, and it's the 21st Prey Book. Saturday I interviewed Mingmei Yip, who's new book Song of the Silk Road, I had the opportunity to read and will be reviewing this coming Saturday! Mingmei Yip shares a bit of herself as an author and artist in her interview.

How was your week? Share what books we should add to our TBR list this week! I love to hear about great books!

Happy Reading... Suzanne

15 comments:

Svea said...

Hi Suzanne!

Poetry has never been very prominent in my reading, but it has always been something I would like to explore. Maybe I will take some of your suggestions and begin a new journey of reading :)

Here is my version of The Sunday Salon: Suddenly Sunday

Have a great week!

Clare Dudman said...

I think I'm like you about poetry. I do like it when I come across it, but I don't really seek it out most of the time. I do have a few friends that write poetry (some of them are really good), but I heard one publisher say that for every poetry book he sells he gets three submissions. This caused him to conclude that three times more people write it than read it!

carla said...

One of my favorite poets is Baxter Black. He's down to earth and writes about animals alot, which I love.
I like my poems to have rhyme to them, and rhythm.

Reading Oogy by Larry Levine this week, and listening to Coop by Michael Perry.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

These are excellent choices. I'd add A Poem a Day to your list of very good collections.

Here's my Sunday Salon for today. Hope you will stop by.

Vasilly said...

I love Good Poems edited by Garrison Keillor! It's one of my favorite poetry anthologies ever! Have a great week!

Suzanne said...

Hi Svea! Thanks for stopping by and sharing! And thanks for sharing your link to your Sunday Salon! You really had some great reading this week! Let me know if you venture into the poetry corner and find any interesting poets!

Suzanne said...

Hi Clare! How interesting about the publisher getting 3 submissions for every one poetry book published! I could see that as being valid, just from not knowing too many people who regularly read poetry. I imagine that this equation would also make it harder for a poet to find a publisher willing to put out all the $$ to publish their work.

Thanks for adding an interesting aspect with the publishing of poetry!

Suzanne said...

Hi Carla!
Thank you so much for sharing Baxter Black! I like reading poetry about animals too! Now I will be checking him out.

Oogy made me cry. It was so touching! And you'll have to let me know what you thought of Coop. I wasn't sure about this one. Although I loved the title!

Suzanne said...

Hi Deb! I will add A Poem a Day to my wish list! I enjoy those Page-a-Day calendars for books, why not poems?! Thanks for passing that along! And thanks for sharing the link to your Sunday Salon post! I loved reading about your convention!!

Hi Vasilly! Yes, Good Poems is such a great book! Was my first anthology and I go back to it time and again! Thanks for stopping by!

Yvonne said...

I've never been much of a poetry person, but it sounds like you have some good reading.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

A great round-up of recent poetry books! I'll admit that I only started reading poetry this year, and find I read it "best" when I read it aloud. Odd, maybe, but it works for me!

I have THE POETS LAUREATE ANTHOLOGY, which is a newish (fall 2010) Norton book, with poems (and brief bios) of all US Poets Laureate. Also contains a little history of the position (which I knew NOTHING about until I read this).

My kids enjoy the Poem in Your Pocket each year (and, by extension, I do, too!)

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I must admit that I haven't read any poetry collections since college. I have always loved Robert Frost, though.

And Caroline Kennedy's book looks wonderful.

Here's MY SUNDAY SALON POST

Darlene said...

You know I've never been one for poetry although I always think I'd love to read it. I do have a few books of poetry- it's just not something I make a point of pulling out and looking through.

The Yard Bard said...

I've never been a huge fan of poetry (most of it, anyway), but every now and then I'll come across one that grabs me by the eyeballs.

Strummed Words said...

Nice set of poetry books. I've recently discovered Li-Young Lee, an American poet born in Indonesia of Chinese parents. Happy reading!

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