Poetry Is In The Eye of the New Beholder

You probably know a die-hard poetry hater.  It’s probably someone who couldn’t memorize the requisite number of lines from the prologue of “The Canterbury Tales.   Perhaps there was a traumatic  experience with the Norton Anthology of English Literature–a wrong assumption that all of it had to be read – every page – including poetry –  in one semester.

Perhaps Marianne Moore’s poem that she too hated it reinforced this perception.  Maybe The Iliad, The Odyssey, Shakespeare, the Romantics,  the Beats held some appeal, but since peers shunned it, so would they.  And worse by far, perhaps, poetry-fearing zealots may once have been aspiring poets until caught in the act of  writing it by friends.  For this and any myriad of reasons, they solemnly declared never to dabble in sentimentality again.  Poetry – not now – not ever!

And then along came Billy.

Billy Collins, one of any number of not-too-difficult names to remember.  He is a past poet laureate of the United States.  As all my friends will attest, I love Billy.  I love poetry.  I love the arts.  And now these two have merged into a new sort of poetry — beautiful to the ear and to the eye.

Today your challenge is to take  15 minutes of zen right now.  Watch this video and behold the new power of poetry as you see the poems come alive by some very creative artists.

And if you like it, share it with someone who needs to rediscover poetry and the imagination it inspires.  And if you are very brave, try your hand at poetry again if it’s been awhile.  One of the purposes of this blog is to inspire handwritten poems by any means.   Just remember the words of Billy’s student,  “poetry is harder than writing,”  so don’t be discouraged.  Writing gives your thoughts tangible form.  SEE what you have to say.

And if poetry still doesn’t seem to be working, follow Billy’s friend advice – “If at first you don’t succeed, hide all evidence that you tried.”

But don’t give up on poetry.  I’ve always said you need to read 1,000 poems before you can write one good one.   Just keep reading – maybe you will want to make videos with poems or open meetings with them as Billy suggests.  Just keep open to the possibilities of poems and what you may find there.

What real toads live in the imaginary gardens just outside your window?  Show us.  Write it down.

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About Taylor Collins

Taylor writes in fragments - journals incessantly – the sea a recurring theme. She blogs and works on three writing projects at the moment. She was selected to read a twitter poem, written during National Poetry month, for the “Tell Me More” NPR program in 2011. A day diary was selected for publication in Water Cooler Diaries published in 2008 (De Capo Press). She recently completed a small chapbook, a 12-part poem entitled Flame. Taylor receives “real” rejection letters now – a sure sign her work is being read. She paints and writes in her studio/gallery -- Parke Green Galleries located on the site where the US Constitution was first ratified. She spends time thinking when deep thoughts surface. Taylor leads a rather dry life on the ocean she's tossed about on. Be sure to visit her if you're ever in the state that started our nation. Cheers!

2 responses to “Poetry Is In The Eye of the New Beholder”

  1. Laura Ehlers says :

    How interesting. I think my aversion to poetry is the discomfort, the itchy feeling it gives me, I feel the need to think, really hard, about what is being said in such sparse word rather than letting those words do their job and speak to me.
    Thanks god sharing the video.

    • Taylor Collins says :

      I think we are all born poets but some teachers drove us away. So glad you found some inspiration here and that you will help spread the word. Billy Collins is one of the most accessible poets. Enjoy.

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