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