pesky resolutions – learning to love poetry

Since that first page in my 2010 journal really does say “Pesky Resolutions for 2010,” I might as well report on them with a similar disdain, right?

My relationship with lists is deep and thorough – I was just tempted draw up a pro/con list about list-writing – so every new year brings an opportunity to fully revel in list-iness.  However, I might find myself, at the end of December, shaking my fist at a set of goals that could intimidate a superhero and choosing instead to write one mocking resolution.*  This year I have a significant list, but tried to show restraint in ambition.

For example, instead of writing down that I want to learn how to love poetry in 2010, I wrote, “Learn more about poetry – acquire an appreciation.”  What beautiful caution!  What sensibility, allowing for the possibility that I’m incapable of love, or that poetry is mind-numbingly dull – since you can appreciate something without actually enjoying it.  Brilliant!  I have hedged my bets in such a way that even if I don’t love poetry one iota more at the end of 2010, I can still check off that resolution.

Someone introduced me to the Writer’s Almanac, which I started reading daily – resolutely taking my poetry multi-vitamin every morning, proud of myself for being so diligent in the study of something that may or may not be pleasant.

But this poetry is unexpected.  It’s not just pleasant – it’s intoxicating!  Many mornings I’m brought to tears.  I try to find poetry everywhere now – seeking out those intentionally stripped-down phrases that express more truth than words should be able to contain.  (This hasn’t limited my fondness for rambling, but I’m learning the value of paring down.)

Some sweet librarians were handing out poems on the Downtown Mall this afternoon, and I’m so glad they were.  This is the poem I received.

*”Keep it real.”  Best mock resolution ever.

5 thoughts on “pesky resolutions – learning to love poetry

  1. I love Tony Hoagland! He was a professor at my college, and although I never had him, he did come in and speak to my poetry classes (I minored in poetry). There are so many poets out there who make you realize that poetry isn’t all boring dead white men. It’s exciting and colorful and real. Welcome!

  2. Thanks! I feel like I’m in very good company! Perhaps another false boundary I’d placed around poetry is this idea that I have to be a Deep Thinker in order to understand it. It’s so nice to realize that I’m not too dumb for something.

  3. I’ve been thinking about poetry a lot more recently and that I never will really love it. I’m glad you draw a distinction between love and appreciation. Here’s a little fun quote for you from “Wicked” (Gregory Maguire), “Poets are just as responsible for empire building as any other professional hacks.” :)

  4. My favorite poem ever:

    When will you ever, Peace, wild wooddove, shy wings shut,
    Your round me roaming end, and under be my boughs?
    When, when, Peace, will you, Peace? I’ll not play hypocrite
    To own my heart: I yield you do come sometimes; but
    That piecemeal peace is poor peace. What pure peace allows
    Alarms of wars, the daunting wars, the death of it?

    O surely, reaving Peace, my Lord should leave in lieu
    Some good! And so he does leave Patience exquisite,
    That plumes to Peace thereafter. And when Peace here does house
    He comes with work to do, he does not come to coo,
    He comes to brood and sit.

    – Gerard Manley Hopkins

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