Starting the new year off with the new collection of poems by one of my favourite poets was an excellent idea. I was visiting family and would flit ofStarting the new year off with the new collection of poems by one of my favourite poets was an excellent idea. I was visiting family and would flit off every now and then to read a few pages. It was a lovely and calming way to look forward to the coming months.
Every time I read Oliver, I want to rush off and buy all the books of her poems immediately and surround myself with her words. I'm lucky because I do have a backlist to work through - I didn't discover Oliver until a few years back and have since only read new releases.
There's just something about Oliver that I find deeply appealing and affecting. We're clearly kin when it comes to dogs, so that's part of it. The images and emotions her words affect is powerful.
Though she writes about dogs and nature and love, I adored this poem because it's an excellent representation of what's it's like to undergo a minimalist transformation, which can be difficult to convey to someone who hasn't yet experienced one:
Throughout the poems, I couldn't help but wonder at what point in the process they decided to mimic Silverstein in the formatting of the book. At theThroughout the poems, I couldn't help but wonder at what point in the process they decided to mimic Silverstein in the formatting of the book. At the outset? When it became clear that the poetry was so similar to Silverstein's work? Certainly before the illustrations came into play because even if you somehow didn't pick it up with the poetry, the illustrations often made me forget that I wasn't actually reading Silverstein (though certainly not kid appropriate Silverstein).
Usually all of this would feel too much like a gimmick to keep me reading, but the poems feel natural and earnest, not forced or imitated, and the comparison to Silverstein's work doesn't feel at all like an insult to him. Witty, subversive, and so very fun.
(And, by the way, I know *nothing* about Burnham, so maybe none of this is surprising to his fans....)...more
Years ago before I finished my English degree and tempered my opinion a bit, I said to my sister, "Yeah... I don't like poetry."
And she said, "ListenYears ago before I finished my English degree and tempered my opinion a bit, I said to my sister, "Yeah... I don't like poetry."
And she said, "Listen to Jeff Tweedy's lyrics, and you'll see he's a great poet."
So although I'd dabbled in Wilco's music a bit, and I'd always liked what lyrics I could understand, I paid closer attention. Eventually, I heard about Adult Head, a collection of his poetry, and I finally got around to it this last week.
And you know what? Based purely on this book? Yeah... I don't like poetry.
There's some very interesting stuff here (particularly if you're a Wilco fan), and I'll even say some good stuff, and I'd also like to point out that I am most definitely still not an expert on poetry.
Many of the lines here went on to feature in Wilco songs, and it's nearly impossible for me to read those lines without hearing the music and the cadence and Tweedy's voice. This absolutely transformed the poetry for me. Because for the lines that didn't conjure up known songs, I had much more difficulty relating or caring much about them. I can feel the emotion, and I know that this is very heartfelt work. What was the most interesting for me, about reading these poems, though, was exactly their translation into the songs - I could see and hear the process, I appreciated the transformation, and how voice and music can change everything. Even the poems I didn't much care for - confusion, and stilted ideas - I imagine I'd appreciate much better if I heard Tweedy read them aloud.