Alice Soon

My Literary Life & other obsessions…

Poetry

Me reading my brother’s book of NORTON’s Modern Poetry V1

“A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.”  W. H. Auden

For a long time after high school I shied away from poetry thinking it was “too hard” or that I wasn’t “smart enough” to read it…Then, one day, as I was browsing the library, it occurred to me that perhaps I should pick up some poetry books to help me with writing my novel.  That was 3 years ago and since then, it has opened me up to a wondrous world of sublime words, rhythm, and imagery.

I decided that when I read a poem, I wouldn’t worry about whether or not “I got it”.   In fact, I feel that most poetry should just be intuitively visceral, and you should get the overall concept or jarring imagery right away.  Sometimes, the harder poets, like T.S. Eliot, require reflection and study before you can truly appreciate their brilliance, but for the most part, I can usually tell within the first few lines whether or not I will love the poem.

From time to time, I will blog about and post my favourite poems.

Some of my favourite poets are:

  • T. S. Eliot
  • William Shakespeare, of course
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Anne Sexton
  • Pablo Neruda
  • E. E. Cummings
  • Thomas Hardy
  • William Carlos Williams
  • William Butler Yeats
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

Here’s a great one to get started from one of the masters:

“Poetry” by Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

And it was at that age … Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open,
planets,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
riddled
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.

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