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.