Five Poems That Changed My Life: Day 2

(Inter)national Poetry Month

Day Two!

Another poem that has had a profound effect on me and one my brain refuses to be forget is Dorthy Parker’s, Thought for a Sunshiny Morning.

If you do not know Dorothy Parker, you need to do yourself a favour and find out as much as you can about her. Similar to Spike Milligan, Parker’s poetry is equal parts heart breaking, scathing, and damned funny. It seems I’m a sucker for poems that have a sad humour to them, because most of my favourites of Parker (Resumé, Solace, and Unfortunate Coincidence) are vulnerably humourous.

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Five Poems That Changed My Life

(Inter)national Poetry Month

Poetry has the power to move people; it can speak to us, can convey emotions, and make us feel.

Poetry has the power to change people; it can make us see things differently, change how we feel, and force us to confront emotions.

Poetry has power.

Whatever your feelings are on poetry, whether you think its frivolous, tough to understand, or an amazing way of communicating human emotions, it can have a lasting effect on readers.

Across the week I will be posting five poems that, since reading them, have changed me and my life. The poems are ones that have, in one way or another, had an affect on me,  have changed how I feel, and have floated around in my brain in the years since reading them.

Some of the poems are funny, some of them are a little bit morbid, and some of them have given me strength in trying times.

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How to Read a Poem

(Inter)national Poetry Month

As I have a whole months worth of posts planned all about poetry, I thought I would offer everyone an instructional post about how to read a poem. If you follow the below instructions, you’ll be reading and absorbing poetry in no time!

1. Find a poem.

Whether you find this poem online, in a book, or written in the stars, it does not matter. (It should be noted that obviously not the last one, if you look for literal poetry in the stars you will have a very hard time finding anything good, as the stars rarely produce anything worth reading 😛 ) All that matters is that you find a poem that you want to read.

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(Inter)National Poetry Month

2018-npm-poster-imageApril is National Poetry Month in America and since I am a big fan of poetry, I thought I’d celebrate as well.

So ignoring the National part of the National Poetry Month, this Australian will celebrate with a month long focus on poetry and all that it surrounds.

Keep an eye out for posts about how to read poetry, a fancy infographic, a selection of some of my most influential poems, and a run down of my all time favourites. In amongst all of this will also be a few mini reviews of some of the poetry books I’ll be making my way through over the course of the month (I may have been saving them for this 😛 )

Let’s get our poetry on (Inter)National style!


Small Snippet of February 2018

Small Snippet feb

Aside from my Small Snippet of 2017, this is my first Small Snippet post that features a month in a little over a year and a half. Lots of things have happened in between and I have experienced a variety of different and interesting entertainments. However, starting off the year, my 2018 February has been a fun one.

Adultolescence-Gabbie-Hanna-free-ebookAdultolescence by Gabbie Hannah.

I will start off by saying that I have no idea who the author of this book is, only that they have a YouTube channel. So with absolutely no background information, I can say that I absolutely adore the poems in this book. They’re funny, modern, and sometimes insightful.

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A perfect rose for Valentine’s Day

Dorothy Parker is one of my all time favourite poets and this, One Perfect Rose, is one of my favourite poems. The way in which the poem sets up the beauty of the rose and the love held within it, is offset by the ponderings of the limousine, which makes the poem a beautifully bitter-sweet one. The offhand almost blasé way in which Dorothy writes is both refreshing and humourous. I would highly recommended anyone to find and devour any of her work!

With that I wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you have a lovely day filled with lovely love and don’t forget the 15th of February is Cheap Flower Day! So get out there and buy some drastically reduced flowers!

Lang Leav’s Love & Misadventure

lovemisLove & Misadventure by Lang Leav is a beautiful book full of bittersweet and lovely poetry. The focus of this collection is on, as the title suggests, love and all the emotions that come with it.  Separated thematically, the book is divided into three distinct parts, these sections are separated as ‘misadventure,’ ‘circus of sorrows’ and ‘love.’

The feelings that are evoked when reading this book are ones of a journey. Not just one in search of love or through relationships but one as a whole. Readers are taken on an emotional journey through heartbreak until the final section in which true happiness is seemingly discovered. Throughout this book I felt a connection to the poems and with each new page I experienced rather than read the emotions.

Despite a good section of this collection being dedicated to heartache and misadventure, there is no overlying feeling of melancholy. Rather, readers are given the feeling of hope; that despite the pain felt, nothing was wasted, no moment felt in vain.

The simplicity of Leav’s work is what makes this collection such a pleasure to read. Stand out poems for me are ‘Just Friends,’ ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Three Questions’ which are all very beautiful yet are all very different. The differences can be seen in the form of the poems. Where some poems are written as prose poems, others are open verse with many different structures.  The sheer read-alibility coupled with the universal nature of love and heartache are no doubt what has made this book such a best seller.

Love & Misadventure is a relatively short book. Each poem is featured on its own page and the flow of the book is one that will see you easily moving from one poem to the next. If you only read one poetry book this year, Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav comes very highly recommended.

Spotlight: Billy Collins

Embrace

You know the parlor trick.

wrap your arms around your own body

and from the back it looks like

someone is embracing you

her hands grasping your shirt

her fingernails teasing your neck

from the front it is another story

you never looked so alone

your crossed elbows and screwy grin

you could be waiting for a tailor

to fit you with a straight jacket

one that would hold you really tight.

-Billy Collins

Billy Collins is an American poet whose style is one that emulates an almost personal conversation with the reader. Often times in a poem Collins will address the reader pondering the question of, ‘I am here, where are you?’ Coupled with this tearing down of the fourth wall is the humour evident in his work. Poems such as ‘Embrace’ (seen above) and ‘Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House‘ are the poems where this humour and almost bitter playfulness stand out the most.

Other themes addressed by Collins are numerous and vary greatly, however while humour is certainly evident in the work, so too is a sense of depression. References to anti-depressants and a developed sense of ennui litter the works sporadically. These moments of humour, sadness and above all an appreciation of the small things in life are all strongly evident in Collins work. The collections and published books of Collins are a pleasure to read as his work is very accessible to the reader. There is no extended or complicated focus on style or form, rather Collins presents simple yet poignant poems. This distinct style and body of work is one that, for me, makes Collins an inspired and brilliant poet.

For a sample of his work, a few of Billy Collins’ poems can be found here and here.