There is a fresh layer of snow this morning in Connecticut. Why it should surprise me to have snow in April, I don't know except for the fact that it was almost 80 degrees the other day. And there is more snow coming! And high winds! And so... let's get comfy inside, grab a cup of joe and let's talk books! In particular, let's talk about poetry books. April is National Poetry Month and we are enjoying poetry here, at Chick with Books, all month! Poetry is something I enjoy, and have continued to expand my enjoyment of. There have been wonderful poets through out the ages; poets such as Yeats or Browning (both Elizabeth and Robert), Lord Byron (She Walks in Beauty), Millay, but there are some wonderful contemporary poets to appreiate too... Jane Hirshfield, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins to name just a few. But people have always had that love hate relationship with poetry. Why read poetry? How to read poetry? When to read poetry?... Read poetry to the person you love. Enjoy the stillness around you as you read a poem. Enjoy the words, the irony, the humor, the feelings a poem shares with you. Just do it... Here are some ways to do it...
She Walks in Beauty by Caroline Kennedy... In She Walks in Beauty, 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. The collection includes works by Elizabeth Bishop, Sharon Olds, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Mary Oliver, Pablo Neruda, W. H. Auden, Adrienne Rich, Sandra Cisneros, Anne Sexton, W. S. Merwin, Dorothy Parker, Queen Elizabeth I, Lucille Clifton, Naomi Shahib Nye, and W. B. Yeats. Whether it's falling in love, breaking up, friendship, marriage, motherhood, or growing old, She Walks in Beauty is a priceless resource for anyone, male or female, who wants a deeper understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a woman.
This is a wonderful collection of poetry that reflects growing up female. If you are looking for a gift for a sister, mother, daughter or girlfriend, this would make a wonderful one. I have this book and enjoy opening it and randomly reading poems. But there are other ways to enjoy these poems - you can inscribe these poems in cards, books, letters to the women in your lives as special moments happen.. a bride to be, a first child, being a mother. Just a thought.
Marie Howe's poetry is thought provoking and accessible. Straight forward and funny. As soon as I read this book of her poetry, she became one of my favorite poets. They are simple and yet beautiful.
The Captain's Verses by Pablo Neruda... First published anonymously in 1952, some years before Neruda married Matilde Urrutia - the one with "the fire / of an unchained meteor" - to whom he had addressed these poems of love, ecstasy, devotion, and fury. The bilingual edition is seen by many as the most intimate and passionate volume of Neruda's love poetry, capturing all the erotic energy of a new love.
This is such beautiful poetry. Pablo Neruda wrote these poems to his lover Matilde before they were married and they are filled with such passion and tenderness. All of the copies of this book I've seen are bilingual, with the poem in Spanish on one page and the English translation on the facing page. As a crazy spanish student in the 70's, I loved reading these in Spanish, but even if you can't read Spanish, they sound so beautiful in Spanish that you should make sure you buy a bilingual version and try your hand at some Spanish.
Good Poems by Garrison Keillor (editor)... Every day people tune in to The Writer's Almanac on public radio and hear Garrison Keillor read them a poem. And here, for the first time, is an anthology of poems from the show, chosen by Keillor for their wit, their frankness, their passion, their "utter clarity in the face of everything else a person has to deal with at 7 a.m."
If you are familiar with Garrison Keillor, than you know these are great poems. If you are not familiar with him, you need to watch a few episodes of A Prarie Home Companion! These are not actually his poems, but poems he had picked out for all the wonder and imagination that makes a great poem. I have always enjoyed opening this collection of poems and reading them. They are about lifes moments.
*Friday we also posted our first poem to start the month off right. Follow THIS LINK to read Matthew Yeager's Poem to First Love.
*Saturday we posted Billy Collins reading one of my favorite poems. Follow THIS LINK to hear his poem (via video) "To my favourite 17 year old High-school girl" (It's always nice to hear the actual poet read his/her work).