this is the best collection of poetry i've ever read. collins blows the socks off of any other poet. living. dead. human. alien. collins probably passthis is the best collection of poetry i've ever read. collins blows the socks off of any other poet. living. dead. human. alien. collins probably passed genius at age 6, which of course was well before i was born....more
there aren't too many books of poetry that reach the billy collins level. this one is the closest i could find. everyone tells me to read mary oliver.there aren't too many books of poetry that reach the billy collins level. this one is the closest i could find. everyone tells me to read mary oliver. "not as good as billy collins," they say, "but close." well, i say to them, "here you go. not as good as billy collins, but even closer than mary oliver." ...more
As with all the books of poetry I read, this one was decent. It has to be otherwise, I wouldn't read it.
Here's how I pick out a book of poetry. I go tAs with all the books of poetry I read, this one was decent. It has to be otherwise, I wouldn't read it.
Here's how I pick out a book of poetry. I go to the library. I open it up and flip through. If nothing jumps out at me, I put it back.
Perhaps it's because death resonates with us all, perhaps it's because death resonates with me that the last poem in her book was my favorite.
"Having Been Unprepared" is brilliant.
I'm not sure about all the copyright laws and what not, but you can read the poem HERE if you're so inclined. It's not long, so if you're unwilling to click on the link based on the suspicion that you'll get to the next page and find an overwhelmingly long poem - put those fears aside. It's just overwhelmingly good, that's all....more
Devin Johnston's style brings a modern voice to an older form of poetry.
He makes fantastic use of rhyme, meter, rhythm and tone.
For instance, a stanzaDevin Johnston's style brings a modern voice to an older form of poetry.
He makes fantastic use of rhyme, meter, rhythm and tone.
For instance, a stanza from Nothing Song:
I wonder, do I wake from dreams, or dream I wake? Beneath a sheet, I shake and clutch my heart, though part of me - aloof, opaque- remains apart.
The poems, like so much poetry, draws heavily upon nature. And, verily, there is much to draw from.
My favorite poems though, draw from history; Marco Polo being my favorite.
I'm not sure about the historical accuracy of the poem. Maybe members of the caravan would get lost in the desert at night, and listen for the bells of the camels or voices of fellow travelers. And maybe that's what spawned the pool favorite.
I know that Ibn Battuta (an often over-looked explorer) got lost in the Sahara one time and killed some camels to drink the water stored in their stomachs. So I'm sure the fear was there.
Overall, not a bad read. I wish I liked birds more. There were a lot of birds....more
Szymborska uses a number of themes in her poetry, each of which are drawn from ordinary events and objects. I found her style to be easy to read. SheSzymborska uses a number of themes in her poetry, each of which are drawn from ordinary events and objects. I found her style to be easy to read. She is capable of saying more than one thing at once, without becoming muddy with an over-use of analogy in her poetry.
Because of my grad-work, I haven't been keeping up with either reading or reviews. I finished this a LONG time ago now... Sorry, Mr. Billy Collins, IBecause of my grad-work, I haven't been keeping up with either reading or reviews. I finished this a LONG time ago now... Sorry, Mr. Billy Collins, I owe you one. Or more than one. Next time you're in town, I'll treat you to dinner. (Enticing, I know. You haven't eaten at Burger King until you've tried one in the Midwest.)
I liked the book, as I like all Billy Collins books.
My favorite line?
what a mayfly I am, what a soap bubble floating over the children's party.
Really, that whole poem, "Memento Mori" is fantastic. It's simple, and poets often aim to catch the temporal aspect of this world.
I thought he achieved this aim. Maybe I'm a sucker....more
And I think of all those, my favorite poem in the book was "The Altar," which I saw as somebody's dresser-top - probably because the first line reads, "The plastic statue of the Virgin/ On top of a bedroom dresser..." On top of the dress are things that are not of any value, except to the person they belong to: "Two pebbles from the grave of a rock star,"..."photograph of a boy/ With the eyes of someone/ Who will drown in a lake real soon."
The last stanza reads, "An altar dignifying the god of chance./ What is beautiful, it cautions,/ Is found accidentally and not sought after./What is beautiful is easily lost."...more
I was about half way through this before I understood how to read it. And shortly after that, he changed up his style for "The Preacher." For me, I haI was about half way through this before I understood how to read it. And shortly after that, he changed up his style for "The Preacher." For me, I had to read Stern one word at a time. I don't mean that to be cliche, it's just that his lack of punctuation is very disconcerting. If I try to find some sort of rhythm I go crazy trying to place it and force it. I could be reached (poetircally) if I read at an even pace and fairly monotone.
I would like to live on air too and I have an idea the kind of nourishment I'd get with or without my strings for what did I need them for and all those gnarled roots beside the wilted rhododendron and what did I need the dried-out grapes for and the wet leaves and one harmonica under a rusted burst-out water pipe and even a mangled sparrow under the porch the way my brain works.
Anyway, as with most any poetry collection I read, there were some definite gems. I have noticed though, that when I go back and read other people's reviews of the book I just read they all seem to say, "This is not _______________'s best collection." Well that's what I want to see.
I did particularly like "One Poet." I sense that the other poet morphed into the dog and he morphed into the pigeon. If that's the case, it's a brilliant poem by Stern. I'd like to know what others thought about it.
Asphodel made a lot more sense when I found that it was a flower. (I already know about the poppies blowing in Flander's Fields.)
And The Preacher. I couldn't grasp the whole thing, but I too like the Tanakh and I've often pondered the eternity in Ecc. 3:11.
I'm tempted to give it 2 stars, and everyone loves a good negative review, but I guess I just rate a little high, that's all....more
I expected something more of Ciardi. Our library is teeming with volumes of his poetry, so I thought to give him a chance. I haven't yet decided if itI expected something more of Ciardi. Our library is teeming with volumes of his poetry, so I thought to give him a chance. I haven't yet decided if it was worth it.
I didn't care for the vast majority of the poems. I wonder if others felt the same way, because it wasn't until I was on page 88 (out of 104) that anyone had left a mark on the page. A simple check at the top, as if to say, "Finally, I find this one acceptable." That particular poem was one I liked as well, entitled: Sermon Notes.
Sermon Notes It's easy to walk out of Hell. But there Hell starts again. Another channel but the same damned show. Hell's what we are, not where. It's easy to walk out of Hell? To what? To exactly nothing nowhere an unemployed. The Anti-Hell's not Heaven but the void.
But it was not that poem that bumped up my rating from 2 to 3 stars. It was a poem that summed up my existence, and rivaled my poetic hero Billy Collins :
ON LEAVING THE PARTY AFTER HAVING BEEN POSSIBLY BRILLIANT FOR CERTAINLY TOO LONG
Where's the magician fast as his own trick? the balancer as light as what he does on ropes and air? All curtains fall too quick, all lights go out too soon. And then what was magic and weightless must reset its traps, feed the real rabbit, and take off its tights. I've had enough bright chippies and old chaps for any man's collection of brittle nights. I'm smiled out, talked out, quipped out, socialized so far from any being, I need the weight of mortal silences to get realized back into myself. It's late. It's always late. It's time I looked back in from outer space and faced the mirror I still have to face....more
As with all poetry books, (save Billy Collins ) this was hit-or-miss.
I loved Young's similie. That was a high-point for me. I thought Nicodemus was sAs with all poetry books, (save Billy Collins ) this was hit-or-miss.
I loved Young's similie. That was a high-point for me. I thought Nicodemus was stellar as was The Ballad of Jim Crow. I think my favorite line though comes from West Hell, "How humid the heart, its messy rooms! We eat spicy food, sweat like wood and smolder like the coal mine that caught fire decades ago, yet still smokes more than my great-uncle who will not quit- or go out-"...more
I liked this book, but I can't say I REALLY liked it. However, I did REALLY like the last poem, "Shadows." I must have read it aloud 5 or 6 times.
TheI liked this book, but I can't say I REALLY liked it. However, I did REALLY like the last poem, "Shadows." I must have read it aloud 5 or 6 times.
There is also a very clever poem on the seven deadly sins in here that makes this book a worthwhile read. If I were you, I'd add it to the list, maybe not on the top, but hey, adding a book to the "to read" column never hurts, right?...more
although there were glimmers of brilliance in this book, i had to wade through it to find them. we could bring up a lengthy discussion on what, exactlalthough there were glimmers of brilliance in this book, i had to wade through it to find them. we could bring up a lengthy discussion on what, exactly art is, but i feel like that would be beating a dead horse. a very dead horse. mr. young, the horse is dead - i know poetry is art, but a little clarity? please?...more
Our library often has these displays up - maybe you've seen them: PULITZER WINNING AUTHORS! DIVERSITY MONTH! INTERNATIONAL SPEAK LIKE A PIRATE DAY!
TheOur library often has these displays up - maybe you've seen them: PULITZER WINNING AUTHORS! DIVERSITY MONTH! INTERNATIONAL SPEAK LIKE A PIRATE DAY!
They'll put out topical books, or award-winning books, or whatever whim the librarian has that week - banner up: display made.
They always include a sign: "Yes you may select books from the display. Please do!" I've occasionally selected a book from a display, but I rarely actually read it. (Apologies to all the librarians out there... I mean to, it's just... I'm generally checking out like ...well... way too many books...)
Anyway, this was on one of those displays. I think it was "Art Appreciation Month" or something like that.
Frida Kahlo has always interested me. Well, always since learning about her in high school. Say what you want about public education, I don't think it failed me. My Spanish teacher was great. She taught the language, but also delved into the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries as we learned the language. I got some exposure to the tragic (cliched, sorry) life of Frida Kahlo, but this short biography - told in poetry gave a much fuller picture.
I knew about her accident. I knew about her polio and her leg. I knew she married Diego Rivera.
I didn't know she married Diego Rivera twice. I didn't know he cheated on her with her sister. I didn't know she got revenge by having an affair with Leon Trotsky. (Yes, THE Leon Trotsky.)
I knew she was Communist. I didn't know she left the Communist Party after Diego got kicked out.
I didn't know she referred to America as "Gringolandia." But I like that, even if it's slightly ethnocentric... she's an artist. She can get away with it.
The poetry mixed with the pictures makes for a beautiful read of a life that found beauty where other artists would not look.
It's interesting. There are people who create art, and there are artists. I've always thought her art was mediocre, but what set her apart is that she had something to say that was worth listening to. And her art's mediocrity was a style that became uniquely her own. Frida's life was art, and it was a moving piece - which is why it will endure....more
It had been a while since I read a poetry book, so I thought I'd pick one up. I have to say, I was drawn to this book because the title is "Easy." AtIt had been a while since I read a poetry book, so I thought I'd pick one up. I have to say, I was drawn to this book because the title is "Easy." At the mid/bottom of the cover is the word, "poems"... I couldn't help but wonder if the poems were meant to be easy, or just the title. I didn't want to be trudging through lines of complex symbolism, so I hoped for "Easy Poems," checked it out and went to town.
I wasn't disappointed. While I don't want to imply that the poems were shallow or lacked meaning, they were rather simplistic and unassuming.
As with all poetry collections, there were some I liked and some I didn't care for.
"Head Turkey Muses: A Soliloquy" was hilarious and spot on.
"September in New York, Public and Elementary, 1927" spoke to the teacher in me.
My favorite may have been the easiest though. The one stripped most bare. Just six words, like the famed Hemingway story. Her poem is called:
MacLeish, the three-time Pulitzer winner had some decent stuff in here. It wasn't all great - and some of the rhyme schemes seemed forced - but I realMacLeish, the three-time Pulitzer winner had some decent stuff in here. It wasn't all great - and some of the rhyme schemes seemed forced - but I really liked several:
We help each other through the blind/ tall night beneath the infinte spaces:/ God looks before and we behind/ but somewhere else that other unknown face is.
Consider the Idea of God. Before/ God was God forevermore/ how was immortality made known?/ By stone.
For pity's sake/ never give the heart away!/ Sell it, barter it for marbles, play/ the ponies with it, let it break,/ but never give the heart away/ for pity's sake.
Favorite poem: Contemporary Portrait:
This woman mask that wears her to the bone they say for certain is her soul's disguise: such holes are cut in colored cloth for eyes where the live lid winks beneath the painted one.
The eyes are hers, the mouth is not her own. The mouth smiles soft, remembers well, complies, laughs, lifts a little, kisses - these are lies when at the lid the tragic look is shown.
Whether her soul in fear has made this mask for easier wandering beneath our moon or time has tricked her so, they never ask: they know the false face hides the honest one.
And yet it's certain, when she comes to die, this is the face that death will know her by....more
I picked this up at the library and leafed through it. I liked what I saw. I thought it had quite a bit of potential. Besides, John Updike was a nameI picked this up at the library and leafed through it. I liked what I saw. I thought it had quite a bit of potential. Besides, John Updike was a name I recognized.
Leafing through the titles and first lines I thought the poems looked to be childlike and delightful. I was quite disappointed then that they turned out to be childlike alone. When I picked up the book I flipped to the poem, "I Missed His Book, But I Read His Name." (Childlike and delightful.) Had I read "Marriage Counsel" or "Recital" instead, I never would have read this book.
It was as if he was striving to be an intellectual Theodor Geisel without realizing that Seuss's intellect comes from the simplicity of what he writes.
I almost gave up on the book, but I decided to read part II. It was worth it. Part II gave me what I was looking for. - - - There were definitely some redemptive poems in the first section ("Meditations on a News Item" was outstanding) that were worth reading, but for me part I wasn't worth it as a whole....more
this one's ok... would i give it the pulitzer? no. did it get the pulitzer? yes.* does his representation of "the sea" seem to differ with every poem?this one's ok... would i give it the pulitzer? no. did it get the pulitzer? yes.* does his representation of "the sea" seem to differ with every poem? yes. does that make it more intellectual? possibly. more annoying? yes. i give it a five for cover art. and i'll say there are specific poems that are clear and enchanting. ("2002," "the rose," "2032," "mother and son") but i can't give the book overall more than a three. of course, i don't even have a clue how they choose who gets the pulitzer.
*This book did not win the Pulitzer. See comments below....more
Originally I had this down as 3 stars, but then I flipped through it again just to make sure, and thought it deserved 4. Atwood writes with an educateOriginally I had this down as 3 stars, but then I flipped through it again just to make sure, and thought it deserved 4. Atwood writes with an educated simplicity that make most of her poems readable and enjoyable, but not trivial.
I found a few poems annoying, (dead cats) but I would classify the book as a whole as a worthwhile read....more
It’s been a while since I read this. I finished it back in November and wanted to make sure I gave it a fair shake in the review, so I was waiting untIt’s been a while since I read this. I finished it back in November and wanted to make sure I gave it a fair shake in the review, so I was waiting until I had time to write one. Lesson learned: You will never have time to write an adequate review for a book. Ever.
I know that several of my other goodreads friends out there have encountered this lesson time and time again. It’s still frustrating.
Like a lot of modern poetry, Simic is readable and unpretentious. He’s verbose enough to prove he can be, without seeming arrogant and show-offy.
Several poems and lines appear to be written specifically for me. They spoke to me, if you will. “The Elusive Something” is the feeling we’ve all had from time to time, but can’t nail down why. “Old Soldier,” starting with “By the time I was five,/ I had fought in hundreds of battles,” is a brilliant piece of work. “The Melon” speaks to the trivialities that stay in our memory when we don’t realize a defining moment in that moment.
My favorite poem, though may be “Private Miseries” which focuses on the guilt we feel at feeling miserable, when we see those less fortunate than ourselves. What right have we?
I try not to read to deeply into the meanings of poems. It is enough that they put me in the mood to write poetry. (So much so that I joined the ¡Poetry! group here on goodreads... in fact I was planning on posting a poem I’d written along with this review – which is why I didn’t write it for so long. Count your blessings you’re not reading that piece of.)
I always try to be careful when dissecting poetry. I thought of a great analogy, all on my own: it’s like dissecting a butterfly. You’ll be left with one of two things – a deeper understanding of a poem you love, or a pile of scraps that you now understand, but no longer look beautiful.
*Side note* I did come up with that analogy on my own... but then when I searched for “butterfly dissection” for some research for the poem I was writing about dissecting poetry it appears that a thousand people had come up with that analogy before me. So much so that my novel idea wasn’t only unoriginal, it was so unoriginal it had become cliché. (Which is the other reason that poem won’t appear in this review. Thanks a lot you multitudes.)
*Other side note* Sorry about the rant. The book is worth picking up. ...more