Everyone needs a healthy dose of poetry now and then, right? Though I read obsessively, I feel there is presently not enough poetry in the mix. Okay, there isn’t any. I’m fixing it.
I went to the library the other day and picked up The Portable Walt Whitman (I sort of feel like you have to read some Whitman if you’re trying to dabble in poetry–I take it he’s pretty much a superstar of poetic history. Anyway, gotta love those Humanists.) I also got Robert Lowell’s For the Union Dead (1956) because I was assigned to write about him in my sophomore-year English class. I had a terrible time reading him back then; I’m hoping that simply by virtue of being 12 years older than I was at the time, reading Lowell now will be much easier, and therefore enjoyable. I also happen to love Tortured Souls. I think of Robert Lowell whenever I hear the phrase “chain-smoking.”
My third library selection is Willa Cather’s April Twilights (1903). To be honest, I never knew Cather busied herself with poetry. I love her novels–ohmygod if you haven’t read O, Pioneers! do so immediately, it is so juicy and wrenching and fantastic. I’ve gotten a good start on April Twilights; I got very excited because when she says “The city, dreamlike, far away,–/ The island, stream and towers” she is talking about PARIS.
I have two books of poetry here on the bookshelf that I bought some time ago and haven’t read, so I’ve pulled those out too: Charles Bukowski’s The People Look Like Flowers At Last (2007) and Sharon Olds’s The Unswept Room (2002). I know both will be delicious. I love Sharon Olds. She’s so good at family drama. Also, one of the poems in here is called “Diaphragm Aria.” Yessssss.