I missed national poetry month. April. I thought about doing a post on poetry, but I didn’t really have anything to say. I’m not a big poetry reader. I like poetry, and I have been meaningfully moved by many a poem. I just don’t sit down and read it for fun or leisure (unless it is a rhyming picture book I’m reading to my kids). I’ve never enjoyed it in that way. I like sitting and reading one or two poems that inspire thought and reflection now and again, or that are pertinent to something I’m dealing with in life, but I am not the type of person to just sit and read through a poetry book. I don’t think that is the point of poetry anyway. It is supposed to make you think, reflect, and feel, so just reading through a poetry book defeats the purpose to some extent. Right?
During college I took a passing interest in slam poetry and became a big fan of Taylor Mali. Still love him. I’m a teacher though, so it makes sense that his stuff appeals to me. I also like Jack Prelutsky, William Carlos Williams, Frost, and Emily Dickinson. However, about the only poetry book I pick up and sit down to read now and again is Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Don’t laugh. I’m serious. There is some darn good stuff in there. Plus, it is one of the three poetry books I actually own.
So, during my week of contemplating summer reading goals, I considered adding a poetry goal. I’ve decided to set a poetry goal for the year though, not just the summer. As a result, I did not put poetry as one of my three summer reading goals. So here it is, and I hope you help keep me accountable:
– I will read at least two poems, or 15 minutes of poetry, every Sunday.
This doesn’t sound like a lot I know, but it will still be more than I’ve been doing. I’ve learned a lot about goal setting in the last few years, and the most important thing to keeping a goal is making sure it is doable and sustainable. Reading a few poems on Sunday is definitely doable and sustainable. To keep me accountable I will post the title and author of the poems I read in a separate post every Sunday. I’m not going to analyze them, it will simply be a list of the poems I read. I may, now and again, write a word or two about them, but that is all. If anyone wants to join me in this I would welcome the company. Read your own poems and post them as comments every Tuesday, or you can Google the ones on my list, read them, and post a comment.
Now some of you may be wondering. Why bother? Most of us don’t read poetry, it’s no big deal.
Well, to do this type of question justice I would probably need to write and research a couple of different posts. And I might in the future, but since I haven’t been reading it myself lately I don’t feel qualified to fill posts up with why we need to read poetry. Let me just say that poetry is old. It has been around for a long time and is part of every language and culture. It is suffering an image problem in recent years with our emphasis on STEM in schools and a loss of education in arts and expression. However, like most things that are difficult and challenging, reading poetry is good for us. It is good for the brain, and it is good for the soul. I want to grow as a reader, and a writer, and poetry is part of this development. I hope in the future to be able to make more of an argument for poetry, but for now I just want to start reading it again.
There is one poetry book I own that I haven’t read all the way through. I will be working through Poems to Learn by Heart by Caroline Kennedy for this project. (I will probably toss in a few poems from Shel now and again too.) Hopefully I will get through it before the year is up.
As of June 2015, this poetry goal was met. However, I’ve found that I enjoy my poetry readings on Sunday, and I’ve decided to continue this feature on my blog. My invitation still stands, so please join me on Sundays for a little intellectual growth through poetry. You don’t have to do a thing but visit my blog and click on some links.