Switching Gears: Poetry

20Jan14

This is my official sign-up post for the 2014 Dive Into Poetry Challenge.

As it turned out, nobody was really interested in the Jesmyn Ward ARC. This is a pity, but since the book has been published, understandable. I’ll hang on to it in case anyone changes their mind later.

I’ve now reached the point in my first challenge where I’m waiting for books I have on reserve, or will have to buy the book, since it isn’t at my library, or available via inter-library loan. That’s rare, but I don’t mind buying books, obviously. It will have to wait until February, though, as my book-buying budget is tapped for this month.

So I’ve picked up a second challenge, a bit of a gear-switcher…

Image spotted at Parnassus: Poetry in Review

Image spotted at Parnassus: Poetry in Review

I love poetry, thanks to encountering it many times at school, but I’ve never been comfortable with the academic approach to poetry. It’s like dissecting animals or picking apart flowers: sure, it’s nice to see how the pieces fit together, but I’d rather enjoy a living thing than appreciate a dead one. There are, of course, ways to analyze poems without sucking the lifeblood out of them, and it’s helpful to be able to explain why you liked something, especially if you’re trying to convince someone else to read it. But I’ve rarely seen that done well in academe.

So, while I understand that poetry is using a special, elevated language to convey meaning, and that decoding that language is sometimes part of the process of understanding and appreciating poetry, I’m much more comfortable responding to it emotionally rather than reviewing it intellectually. The reviews I write will mostly likely be shorter, and contain more quotes. And I’ll be calling them “responses” rather than “reviews,” giving you just enough information to see if you want to try to engage with that particular poet and her/his poems too. The next few posts I write here will contain poetry responses.

Do you enjoy poetry? Why or why not? Who are your favorite poets?

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