Jennifer's Reviews > The Best of It: New and Selected Poems

The Best of It by Kay Ryan
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's review
Jul 13, 11

Read from July 09 to 12, 2011

Lets face it, poetry is the wheat grass juice of literature. Everyone says that it's great for you (and it is) but it smells like your lawn and tastes like gritty pond scum.

When someone wants to look too smart for the room, poetry is the stick they beat you with. When someone wants to show how dramatic, artsy and depressed they are, it's the prop of choice. Emo kids love it. As do the elderly.

For me, poetry was in the same catagory as the advanced Maths: I know they exist and I'm sure someone else is taking care of it.

Kay Ryan's work is not something I read to impress anyone or to make myself feel smarter. I read an essay on her work and it made want to try it. I fully expected to skim or quit after four or five pages. I surprised myself.

It took some adjustments on my part. Normally, I read quickly, but I kept getting lost and tangled up. My brain couldn't get the beats right in the rhyme scheme. So, I read the poems outloud and slowly. It's not like any other reading I've done.

I've seen some of the Goodreads reviews of this book and some people (who are much more familiar and literate with poetry) have complained that the collection isn't deep or revelatory or whatever. They may be right, I'm not qualified to answer that. I just know that many of them made me laugh or think or feel a little sad.

So I'm now one of those annoying people that could, if they wanted to, discuss poetry. I guess stranger things have happened; although I bet it's a pretty short list.

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Reading Progress

07/10/2011 page 46
07/10/2011 page 46
17.0% "Favorite so far: Bitter Pill A bitter pill doesn't need to be swallowed to work. Just reading your name on the bottle does the trick. As though there were some anti- placebo effect. As though the self were eager to be wrecked."
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message 1: by Kelsey (new)

Kelsey Second paragraph is so funny! I'm not all that into poetry either, but there are some I can appreciate and others that make me cry.

I own a copy of and love "One Hundred and One Famous Poems." It's got a little bit of everything. It even has a copy of the Gettysburg Address, Declaration of Independence and The Ten Commandments.

I also enjoy Shakespeare's writing. He is pure poetry.

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