Hi all! I am sorry I have been absent (again); still trying to get a routine down for work, blogging, and generally not being a shitbag. Stay tuned!
Last week I started this weekly book challenge hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook called #5OnMyTBR, and I really enjoyed the exercise. It occurs every Monday when they post about 5 books on their TBR.
This week’s theme is Poetry. My personal views on poetry fluctuate – a lot of newer poetry I find to be kind of pretentious and formless, but there is also older poetry that I find to be hard to understand and glean meaning from. However, when I was in school I did spend a lot of time reading, writing, and ruminating on poetry, so it clearly occupies my mind more than I would like. So here is my TBR:
1. Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman
- Why I’m excited: Endless reasons actually. Walt Whitman was a fascinating man – one of the first poets in the US to write for a living rather than a gentleman’s leisure project, a native of Long Island (shoutout!), self-taught, self-published, and self-promoted. He was openly sexual and had affairs with men and women alike, and was a friend to the working class of all sorts.
- Also, him and Bram Stoker had this awesome loving letter exchange that has always fascinated me as a huge Stoker fan.
2. Fuel, by Naomi Shihab Nye
- Why I’m excited: I met Ms. Nyewhen I was in high school; she came to speak at Bay Shore’s annual Ethnic Pen conference. Her poetry is simple and very relatable, and listening to her read them is art in itself.
- Confession: I don’t know enough on the Israel/Palestine conflict to have an educated opinion on her views, but I still find her poetry to transcend the conflict into basic humanity.
- Other confession: As a young poet in college, I often emulated her style.
3. Sonnets from the Portuguese, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
- Why I’m Excited: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Call me a hopeless romantic, but that poem has always resonated with me way too much.
- Confession: When I bought this book years ago at a thrift store, it was partially for the illustrations.
- Confession 2: I normally despise sonnets. Here’s to giving them another chance.
4. A Few Figs from Thistles, by Edna St. Vincent Millay
- Why I’m Excited: “My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night” just hit differently as an English major. I am SO ready to jump into Millay headfirst.
- Very guiltily excited about how short and sweet her poems are. Here is a very digestible volume of poetry.
- Millay is the OG badass – called herself vincent and got flak for it, took lovers galore, raged for democracy during World War II even though it hurt her reputation (double standard much) and lived her life exactly as she wanted.
5. Thirst by Mary Oliver
- Why I’m excited: “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness / It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.” “Excited” probably isn’t the right word, but given the trying times that Coronavirus has wrought, I feel that a good volume of poetry dealing with grief of a loved one would suit well and help me cope.
- Oliver was a contemporary of Millay’s, and even helped establish the foundation in her memory.
So that’s all for now, folks! I hope you are all doing well in these shitty times, and can’t wait to discuss. Any thoughts on the selection?