April is National Poetry Month, and in the spirit of the month, the team at FHR put our collective heads together to brainstorm what posts we could do on poetry and it didn’t take long to realize that neither of us has a lot of poetry-reading experience.
One of us recently read Milk and Honey (and loved it), and the other had attempted to read Emily Dickinson in high school, but didn’t get very far.
For myself, I don’t always understand poetry. I don’t think I’m beyond understanding it either, it’s just never really clicked for me. I’ve read poems that are nice, that I think are pretty or poignant, but I can’t articulate what’s great about them. I can’t tell the difference between a ‘good’ poem and a ‘bad’ poem. A lot of times I’m just like, ‘Oh, a poem!’.
For me, poetry feels like wine: I might try some and like it, but I don’t know why. I can’t remember what I’ve liked, but pop me into a liquor store and I’ll probably just grab the cheapest bottle that has the prettiest label. Again, it’s not that I couldn’t understand this world if I tried, but it’s never been a priority for me to try.
So, in the spirit of Poetry Month, I thought I’d give some poetry a shot. I riffled through my online library app and landed on Beowulf. I’m not sure if this counts, but I’ve already started it and am really enjoying it. It’s like Lord of the Rings, but with a cadence.
I feel like I may be dancing around the point and missing the assignment altogether. I’m avoiding the hard stuff – the short little compact phrases that are packed with meaning that don’t feel profound to me, always making me feel like I’m missing something.
I was discussing this frustration of mine with one of my bookish friends and, go figure, he recommended the book: The Art of Syntax by Ellen Bryant Voigt.
Have any of you read it?
He said that it helps to give context and meaning to the reader. I’m definitely adding this to my TBR list. Then, maybe I’ll bring some Emily Dickinson out again and give her another shot.
What’s been your experience with poetry? Has it always ‘clicked’ for you? How did you learn about it and how to appreciate its nuances?