Will This Be The Year I Fit Poetry Into My Life?
By Karen Ballum on April 06, 2010
BlogHer Original Post
I love National Poetry Month. It's a yearly reminder that I need to add more poetry to my reading diet. I like poetry but there just never seems to be time for it in the rush that is every day life. I need this yearly reminder to stop and smell the literary roses.
Poetry does not take a long time to read. Poetry is not all the awful things that high school English class made it be (oh, our poor high school teachers, we do blame them for so much). You would think that poetry would be an easy thing to fit into one's life, and yet it always seems to be punted off to the side.
It seems to be because when I read poetry, I want to take time with it. A simple poem that takes only moments to read takes much longer to really experience. I want to take the time to read it more than once. I want to look at how the author uses and plays with words. I want to look at how it is written and figure out how it would (or perhaps should) be read aloud. I want to do all the things that those English teachers told me to do, but the difference is that I'm not looking for an answer that I can can into a essay or onto a short answer quiz. I'm looking to just to look at it, to experience it. When I read poetry I want to think about it.
It always seems hard to squeeze time to read poetry into my life. I read a book a few years ago about a woman who was giving up various items for a month. One month, she gave up reading the morning newspaper. Instead, she read poetry at breakfast. Doesn't that sound lovely? I can see it now -- the sun streaming in through the window, landing on the table where I sit and eat my bowl of cereal and drink my morning coffee. I'd read slowly and savour the words between sips of coffee. Of course, my mornings look nothing like that. There's no sun streaming in the window, and the first thing I do in the morning is grab my laptop and work for about 45 minutes at one job before heading into the coffee for another. I shovel my breakfast (which, let's be honest, I would not eat if Lee did not set it beside me each morning) into my mouth as I stare at my computer screen.
It comes down to making things accessible so kids can take the lead on their own, whether it's keeping books on a low bookshelf, a bunch of costumes in a tickle trunk, a stack of records near a kiddy-sized record player, or a cup of crayons and a sheaf of blank paper within easy reach. We've been doing these things for years, but last week I decided to introduce STEALTH POETRY.
I love it, because when I was a kid I loved poetry. When I think of it I think of the sunny children's section of the provincial library building. The children's room was on the second floor, and (assuming they haven't rearranged the room since I was a kid) I could still walk you over to the shelves the housed the poetry collection. The idea of poetry popping up randomly fills me with glee. I remember when poetry started popping up randomly, mixed in among the advertisements, on public transit billboards. I loved it. I spent my commute looking at a poem and rolling the words around in my head.
Maybe this year will be the year I figure out how to add more poetry to my life. Maybe I'll commit to reading a poem a month. A poem a week? A poem every day for week? I'll figure it out.
More on National Poetry Month:
Literary Magpie suggests some books that are poetic without being poetry.
Mental Multivitamin reminds parents that poetry is perfect for children.
Do you know what poetry theatre is?
Dusk and Stars has a thing for poetry.
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