In the Kornfield

In his preface to the book How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry, author Edward Hirsch states “Reading poetry is endangered, I suppose, because reading itself is endangered in our culture now.” As we observe National Poetry Month 2024, I thought a few comments from Hirsch’s book would be of interest.

This book (my edition has a 1999 copyright on it) is rich with observations about poetry in general and about learning to read poetry with enthusiasm and understanding. He calls poetry “a collision, a collusion, a compression of two unlike things:  A is B.” Yes!

Continue reading “In the Kornfield”

Pursuing Poetry

It’s a good day to celebrate poetry! For the last couple weeks, I’ve been working through three books on poetry. I had started the first two and they reminded of a third I’d read many years ago, so I pulled it off the shelf as well.

The oldest one (published in 1969) is The Pursuit of Poetry by Louis Untermeyer. If you’re a poet (or an aspiring poet), this book is an invaluable resource! I know, I know. There are some who dispute the importance of poetry, so please humor me. Watch this video, Poetry: Why It Is Important and decide whether Mr. Griffin’s observations are valid, okay?

The other two books I’ve been reading are, oddly enough, both titled How to Read a Poem! The first is just over 100 pages and written by Tania Runyan for the Field Guide Series. (Indeed, it’s exactly the book to slip into your back pocket when you don a deerstalker cap and grab your magnifier for a poetry hunt!) Runyan’s unique approach involves using a Billy Collins poem entitled Introduction to Poetry and examining it … just as one might examine clues (Sherlock-style) as they present themselves!sherlock-deerstalker2

The second How to Read a Poem adds and Fall in Love with Poetry to its title. This volume by Edward Hirsch is a wonderful book! Fellow poet Charles Simic is quoted (on the inside page) saying:  “If you are pretty sure you don’t like poetry, this is the book that is bound to change your mind.” Indeed, Hirsch makes you want to fall in love with poetry. His passion for poetry convinces you he’s correct when he says:  “… poems breathe deeper meaning into our lives.” Continue reading “Pursuing Poetry”