poetry speaks who i am

It is only just now in my life that a passion for poetry is awakening in me.

I would memorize it in school, feeling an occasional spark (when reading Poe’s The Raven, Sandburg’s Fog, Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening), but mostly confusion when faced with poets such as Walt Whitman or Tennyson. I wanted to like them, but I didn’t understand them and so I left well enough alone.

If I had had in my possession a book such as this collection, I am certain that my appreciation would have been deeper, and reading poetry would have become a regular part of my reading life.

This is a spectacular book of poems. When Sourcebooks asked me to review them, I was wary until I saw the poets which had been included. Poets such as:

  • Maya Angelou
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Langston Hughes
  • Billy Collins
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Gwendolyn Brooks
  • John Keats
  • Emily Dickenson
  • Robert Frost, and yes, even
  • Walt Whitman

Those are the big names which immediately pop out at me. But there are others, less familiar to me by name, but incredibly touching to me in their power with words. Specifically for ages 12-14, “this anthology features both classic and contemporary selections and includes an audio CD with poets reading their own work.” I popped it into my Beetle’s stereo this morning on my way to work and was immediately mesmerized by the words and the voices which spoke them. Listening to poems such as this made me not want to stop when I arrived at school:


molly peacock

Hold up the universe, good girl. Hold up
the tent that is the sky of your world at which
you are the narrow center pole, good girl. Rup-
ture is the enemy. Keep all whole. The itch
to be yourself, plump and bending, below a sky
unending, help up by God forever
is denied by you as Central Control. Server
yourself, poor false Atlas, poor “Atless,” lie
recumbent below the sky. Nothing falls down,
except you, luscious and limited on the ground.
Holding everything up, always on your own,
creates a loneliness so profound
you are nothing but a column, good girl,
a temple ruin against a sky help up
by forces beyond you. Let yourself curl
up: a fleshy foetal figure cupped
about its own vibrant soul. You are
the universe about its pole. God’s not far.


I have a hard copy to give away; only tell me how poetry affects you to enter into the drawing.

Congratulations to the winner: JoAnn of Lakeside Musing! Email your address, please, so I can have it sent to you.

13 thoughts on “poetry speaks who i am”

  1. I've always loved poetry. I found it beautiful how a passage written in such few words could portray a world of emotions and feelings. I miss reading poetry, and I actually find that writing about how I felt about a certain piece of poetry is many times more difficult than writing about a novel or even a short story.I'm glad you're giving poetry a chance. I've never had poetry read to me before, so I'm rather curious about how it might feel like. =)


  2. This sounds like a great collection. That list of authors is stunning, and I see so many favorites. Enjoy your poetic excursions, Bellezza!


  3. Michelle, I totally agree that writing poetry is much more difficult than writing about other genres. It just shows how unfamiliar I am with this literary form. This collection is just beautiful, though, and I hope I conveyed that in this post.


  4. One of the great things about this book is that it's not intimidating in the least. In fact, it encourages me to venture farther out into this 'new land'.


  5. Molly, I can hardly describe the reaction I felt in my very center when I heard you read your poem Good Girl. Your story is very similar to mine, and I can acutely feel what you express. I suppose it has strengthened us, to have had much demanded of us, but it is also good to let ourselves "off the hook" so that we can be more free.


  6. I came late to an appreciation of poetry, too. Love seeing many of my faves on this list. Love also Molly Peacock's poem (and how cool that she responded to you!). No need to enter me in this giveaway–I'm just thrilled that this anthology is out there. Enjoy!!


  7. Isn't it awesome how Molly commented?! It makes me feel that my posts aren't just vanishing into cyberspace. I love the poets, both old and new, and it is wonderful that this anthology is now out there.


  8. Poetry, to me, is about the soul. I think it's gut-wrenching and powerful. Some of my favorites pieces evoke such emotion, that's it's nearly impossible for me not to be moved in some way. Poetry is way for me to express myself and not have to worry about form or anything like that (I use free-verse). It's one of my favorite art forms (:The book looks awesome! I have one that is all spoken poets. I love it.


  9. Emily, I so agree that poetry must evoke emotion! I'd love to take a course in writing poetry, I haven't had one since my Acclerated Writing courses in High School. Sigh…still, reading more and more of this genre is getting addictive! I, too, love free verse. More than iambic pentameter, that's for sure!


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