Friday, April 22, 2011

Day Twenty Two - Poems I'm Glad I Know

I know I'm not the only National Poetry Month Blogger out there. In fact, I derive just as much pleasure in checking out the writing of some of my fellow poetry bloggers as I do in constructing my own essay and entries. One blog I've been checking out recently is The Southern Review's Lagniappe, which has featured entries titled "Poems I'm Glad I Know" from a select group of writers and editors. It reminds me of the playlists that celebrities post on Itunes with their words on why certain songs resonate with them. Sadly, one of the editors and driving forces behind the site and TSR in general, Jeanne Lieby appears to have passed away recently. In tribute, TSR posted Lieby's choices for "Poems I'm Glad I Know." Here is that posting:
Here's my five selections for "Poems I'm Glad I Know":

1. Body And Soul - by B.H. Fairchild (This remains my favorite poem. It is mesmerizing like few other poems and pieces of art that I've ever experienced. The images are enchanting, the story and characters are authentic, and the language rolls off the tongue in establishing a folksy, yet all-knowing tone. It might be a long poem, but it's worth every second you spend with it.)

2. One Art - by Elizabeth Bishop (You want to read the perfect villanelle, well here it is. Bishop's pain is on display in this poem and by the end it is a tangible anchor that she takes from her neck and transfers to the reader as a weight they must bear. Like Fairchild, Bishop's mastery of tone and language is spellbinding.)

3. Tonight I Can Write - by Pablo Neruda (I've long wondered if anything new can be written about love because Pablo Neruda seemingly wrote it all! In what might be his most famous poem, Neruda exposes his longing, love, and loss with such bittersweet truth that well after reading the poem Neruda's words will still ring through your body like the tattering on cymbals during a drum solo. And if you ever want to hear this poem read dramatically, then you should search for the soundtrack to Il Postino, where Andy Garcia gives a powerful reading.)

4. Oranges - by Gary Soto (The snap, sway, and sweetness of youth is nowhere more evident than in this poem from Soto. Image driven and fueled by figurative language, Soto's poem, like the young boy who serves as the central character, "knows what it's all about." Read this poem and you'll be swimming in memories from childhood, possibly of your first crush, first kiss, and first love.)

5. Song Of The Open Road (Section 5) - by Walt Whitman (This poem could very well be my private prayer and the mantra I live by. Whitman's words are like a heartbeat challenging us to beat along with it, to never give up or deviate from who we are and who we should be. I repeat this poem to myself when I need to center myself or be reminded of what I can do to make the world and myself better. I can hear the words now..."I am larger, better than I thought, / I did not know I held so much goodness."

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