Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Poetry for everyone, Pt. II

Hopefully you indulged in reading some poems for National Poetry Month.

It's funny how one can run across a poem and be transported. Several times I have seen a line or reference to a poem and promptly Googled the poem or author. More often than not, I have either found the poem or a body of works by the author on the web.

A few of my favorites:
• Richard Lovelace, esp. "To Althea, from Prison" ("Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage")
• C.P. Cavafy, esp. "Ithaka"
• Edna St. Vincent Millay, esp. "First Fig"
• Rudyard Kipling's "If"
• Robert Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay" (The Outsiders, anyone?) and "The Road not Taken"
• Pablo Neruda
• Sylvia Plath (I adore her kid's book, The Bed Book. It is out of print; I found a used edition)
• George Gordon, Lord Byron, esp. "The Prisoner of Chillon" (I have seen Byron's carving in the prison of Chillon Castle on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. More on Byron later.)
• Seamus Heaney (I got through Beowulf with Heaney's audio translation)

And on, and on...

There was something in each of these poems that resonated with me. And I think that is the key to enjoying poetry: finding the works that you connect with. The more you read, the more you find these connections.

One of these days I will continue on to The Poets and Their Poems section of The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by Susan Wise Bauer. It starts with The Epic of Gilgamesh, which I have. The Well-Educated Mind also gives a good review of reading poetry.

What are some of your favorite poems?

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