Wicked Wednesday-Prose and Cons

Jessie-In New Hampshire, enjoying the garden coming to life!

We all read and write a lot of prose, but I thought I would ask if you also enjoy poetry. If so, do you have a favorite poem or poet?

Edith/Maddie: I was stunned and so impressed by Amanda Gorman reading/performing her “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration. But the poem I turn to most often (and have nearly memorized) is “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver. It ends, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” That line speaks to a deep place in me. After a poetry workshop I took in 2001, I wrote a prose poem for my father.

Julie: Faye Snowden, a wonderful writer, pointed me to the Poetry Foundation’s site, and I signed up for a poem a day. I will confess, poetry is not a natural go-to for me, but as a writer I marvel at the beautiful economic use of words, and how effectively they can trigger emotions.

Liz: I also love Mary Oliver. Her poem The Journey was the backdrop for a huge transformation in my life and I still get chills when I read it. I also really love Rupi Kaur, a Canadian poet who shares a lot of her work on Instagram.

Barb: I say I don’t love poetry, but then I end up at a spoken word event or similar and I’m enthralled. I’d rather hear it aloud than read it. As for favorites, I must confess, the poems I memorized in childhood, the fragments still there in my aging brain, are the ones I go back to: The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost, The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, and, of course, The Cremation of Sam Magee by Robert W. Service.

Sherry: Edith, I loved The Hill We Climb too! And Julie, I think I need to have a poem a day in my life. I’ve always loved Emily Dickenson’s poem If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking. I had it on the bulletin board in my bedroom growing up. Barb reminded me of two poems I love Stopping by the Woods On A Snowy Evening by Robert Frost and Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe.

Jessie: I am feeling so inspired by your responses! Julie, thanks for mentioning the Poetry Foundation’s offerings! I have to confess, I am not someone who turns to poetry with any frequency. I admire it when I feel it is meaningfully written, but I don’t seek it out. I will say that as a child I was a huge fan of Shel Silverstein’s poems and read them to my own children. Perhaps it is time to add something new to my reading list!

Readers, how about you? Are you a poetry lover?

28 Thoughts

  1. Yes, I wrote poetry and have my collection in the Library of Congress. My favorite poem is “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes.

  2. Not much of a poetry reader. I do love the phrase Edith told us from “The Summer Day” so I will have to look that one up.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. Like Barb, the poems I memorized in grammar school still echo in my mind. But my grown-up favorite poets are Carl Sandburg, and Charles Olson. (I was recently gifted with a copy of Olson’s Maximus Poems which I am savoring one at a time. Magnificent! ) A favorite I discovered back in the 1960s is Keith Barnes. His book of poems, “Born to Flying Glass” contains one called “Requiem” which I love and have memorized.

  4. I have to say, I’m not drawn to read poetry and I sure can’t write it. But hearing it spoken, and done well, is a magical experience.

    1. I would have to agree with you. Perhaps that is why I enjoyed it as a child. My mother used to read poems to me at bedtime quite frequently. It isn’t the same reading them to myself!

  5. I love watching poets work through drafts of their poems. They’re amazing. I’ve been part of a critique trio for almost 20 years. The other two women are, among many other accomplishments, terrific poets. Betsy Hearne (long-time editor, book reviewer, children’s author, recognized expert on folktale variants) writes haiku and tanka that appear in international journals. Janice N. Harrington (Guggenheim Fellow, NEA Fellow, picture book author, biographer) writes award-winning poetry for adults, including a biography of artist Horace H. Pippin in verse.

  6. Uh oh. I either left only part of a comment or erased it. If the first half shows up, yay, and here’s the second half. Watching these two labor over word choice, line breaks, last lines, titles, nuances, specificity – it’s like another language. I love it and am completely honored to witness and contribute to their editing process. (If the first half of the comment didn’t show up, quick summary is these two poets are the other two writers in the critique trio I’ve been part of for almost 20 years – Betsy Hearne and Janice N. Harrington. Give them a Google. Cool poets and people. Great friends.)

      1. It is, Jessie. Seeing the poem get stronger as words are cut is so cool. It’s also interesting to have a couple of poets critique mystery novels. Sometimes unnerving. 🙂

  7. I’m going to date myself here, but I fell in the thrall of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poetry when I was in college and I’ve never forgotten it. Same with Rod McKuen and Leonard Cohen, songs and poetry.

  8. I’m not big on poetry, but like others here, I remember some poems from HS that I still like a lot. The Highwayman, The Skater of Ghost Lake, Cremation of Sam Legree (once read by a friend’s father that just blew me away), Casey at the Bat, Annabel Lee, One Hoss Shay, and many others from that era. Like Kit, I’m a fan of Rod McKuen. And, of course, Jabberwocky!

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