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My favorite poet is Wallace Stevens but my favorite poem is by W.H. Auden, Musee des Beaux Arts. I read poetry a lot, and one of the things I do is to pick out a favorite line. A lot of enjoying poetry has to do with how it makes you feel. Sometimes one line is enough to think about, in terms of how it makes you feel. The line I'd pick out from this poem is the one about what the spot on the apple looks like: "The curved spot on this
apple is a fat camel, is a
fly's shadow,
is the cry of a marigold. " That makes me feel the time it's taking to look at the apple.


I have collected some of my favorite poems here:

"Curiosity" is my favorite. I love Frost.


Maybe this is going to be my year to begin reading poetry. I've started reading a book of letters by John Keats to Fanny Brawne and the book is quite slight--just noticed that at least half of it is made up of his poetry--so I'll work my way through his poems as well. I like how you read a poem--and I like just focusing on one thing about it--an image or group of words, so will try that. It sounds quite nice--the line you chose--I love apples so this poem appealed to me particularly! I will have to look up both Wallace Stevens and the Auden poem you mention--thanks!


Thanks for the link--I love that Frost poem, too. Anything by him really and have even pulled a little Everyman's Library book of his poems out to leave by my bedside. Maybe I can try and just read one poem a night before bed? Will check out "Curiosity"--I love reading people's favorites--it seems a good way to try a new poem or poet (though really it's almost all new to me).


Yes, there is a book which answers a lot of your questions. An excellent one at that. Kenneth Koch's "Making Your Own Days". I'm planning on writing about it shortly and also about a few books of poetry I've been reading recently. I just dicscovered Carol Ann Duffy.
I think, just like with short stories, we have to try to read in a different wy, expect different things.
"Apples" has some lovely imagery.


Donald Hall is wonderful, isn't he? I hope more of his poems inspire you. You already know you can read an enjoy Frost so just take the way you approach reading him and apply it how you approach other poems. It won't work all the time but it is a place to start and learn from. I also like Jeanne's advice :) I like the beginning stanza especially the idea of tunnels lined with grass--oh the secrets hiding beneath those manhole covers!


I read (and occasionally write) poetry, but I'm really not very knowledgeable about it. I can't really say that I have a favorite poet (though I do like Robert Frost, also--one of my favorite poems is his "A Line-Storm Song"--I've loved it since I was a teenager). I recommend a book called Poet's Choice: Poems for Everyday Life, selected and introduced by Robert Hass. I found many new-to-me poets in there, and am slowly broadening my reading of poetry. I'm also a big fan of Ted Kooser, and his website poems I put on my blog come from there.

I have a couple books of poetry on my nightstand and dip into them a few times per week. The concentration it requires to read and understand a poem helps to still my mind just before bed!


Oh Danielle, this made my day. Poetry in a blogpost :)

Jan S.

My poetry knowledge is slight, but there are a few that I enjoy. It seems we all love Frost! My all time favorite Frost is, "The Road Not Taken", but he has so many great poems, doesn't he? Do you remember reading, "My Last Duchess" in school? I think it was a staple, and it's a good one, by Robert Browning. I'm certain that you would love Emily Dickinson, and Poe's poems.
In times past, memorization of poems was common in schools. My mom could recite the ones she memorized all her life.
You've sparked my interest! A poem a day sounds like good meditation in the evening.


Frost is my favorite poet, though I've come to love Mary Oliver. I think you might enjoy her poetry.

I find that to be truly enjoyed and understood, poetry needs to be read aloud, sometimes several times or at different sittings.

I subscribe online to A Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor. Each morning an email arrives with a different poem as well as several short essays on different notables, mostly authors, whose birthday falls on the day. The really fun part is that you can click on and Keillor reads the poem. While I don't always enjoy each poem, it is a good way to be exposed to many different poets and find a few you might want to delve deeper into.

Isn't it interesting where a postcard can lead?


What luck--my library has the Koch book so I will be grabbing it from the shelf tomorrow! I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say about it. And I am noting down suggestions of poets to try, too. At the moment I have Robert Frost and Donald Hall by my bedside and try and read a poem a night. I think you're right that poetry needs a different approach--I'm just trying ti figure out what that is exactly! :)


I do like him very much (one more for my 'great finds' list this year). I like the natural language he uses and the imagery and the nature subjects--so nice all rolled into one. See how all your poetry posts inspired me, and then it took Cath's postcard with poem to nudge me along and voila!


I'm going to see if my little Everyman's Library Frost has that poem! :) Unfortunately my library doesn't have the Hass book, but I will add it to my wishlist as it sounds good-and a good way to get a taste of different poet's work. Hanging head in shame just a little since Ted Kooser is a Nebraskan, too, so I really should have read him before. Now I am sure my library does have his books. I am keeping a couple of poetry books by my bedside too to dip into--just randomly, and hopefully something will click! Impressive that you write poetry!


Well, your card totally made my day. I've got it tucked inside the notebook I carry around with me. And I've sent a card and letter back--I hope you'll like the postcard as it makes a perfect companion to the one you sent! :)


Frost really is wonderful,isn't he? It seems there is a newish biography of him that was just released in the last year or so that now I think I might have to look for as my curiosity has been piqued. I don't remember My Last Duchess--which is not to say I didn't read it, only my memory is pretty foggy when it comes to poetry. I'm so glad that maybe I've inspired someone else now to pick up a book of poetry--just as I've been inspired to do!


Frost is so very approachable, isn't he? It's so nice to hear so many people love his work! I have had other recommend Mary Oliver, and I am sure my library must have some of her books so I will check her out. And I like the idea of reading poems multiple times--I think you're right about hearing poetry read aloud--the way the language sort of slips off the tongue would make it perfect to listen to. Thanks for the heads up on A Writer's Almanac--I'm going to subscribe, too! And yes, such a little thing as a friendly postcard and I'm off now on another literary path! :)


I know very little about poetry too - the trick is to think that's okay! After all, there are only so many hours in the day. So I'm sort of ruthless with poetry when I'm not ruthless with anything else at all. I'll skim books, and try to be content with maybe finding one or two poems that really work, one or two lines that resonate. I think being forced to read epic poetry at school put me off the long haul, so I only like simple, plain and ideally, funny, poems now!


How wonderful to get a poem through the post and such a good poem too. I also enjoy the poetry of Robert Frost and his friend, Edward Thomas who might never have started writing poetry had it not been for Frost's encouragement.

I'd recommend the poetry of Jehanne Dubrow, a living American poet. Her collection Stateside, examines the experience of the wife left at home when her husband is deployed. Every time I pick it up I find something new in it. And I'm just about to start reading her recent collection, Red Army Red about growing up as an Embassy child in Poland.



I am learning to not worry so much about my 'shortcomings' and be happy with what I can manage. And I do like how you approach poetry--not getting wrapped up in trying to understand and appreciate it all and pick and choose what appeals the most. I am going to try that. I like poems that have nice imagery and funny poems sound like something I'd enjoy as well. More to explore!


Hi Caroline--Thanks for the suggestions--I'm going to add them to my list. I am not familiar with either but both sound like authors I would like. I especially like the sound of Red Army Red so will see if I can find it at my library. And yes, it was really nice to get a lovely card with matching poem in the mail--always so cheery to get good mail--but even more so when it is something so special.


Too many poems to have one favourite, but a few that leap into my mind when I close my eyes:

Auden, Lullaby:

Yeats, "An Irish Airman Foresees his Death":

Eliot, La Figlia Che Piange:

Thomas Hardy, Afterwards:

But there are so many more!


Thank you so much for sharing links! I'm going to go and check them out now! :) The best poems are the ones that always stay fresh in mind I think.

Buried In Print

I have a couple of books on my poetry shelf that might suit your exploring project: Ruth Padel's 52 Ways of Looking at a Poem and Frances Mayes' The Discovery of Poetry. I've dabbled in them but never made a concerted start-to-stop read-through, as I'd hoped/intended.


My library has the Mayes book though not the Padel--so I'll be grabbing the book from the shelf tomorrow to look at. I've not gotten farther with my poetry reading except with the occasional dipping into the books I brought home of Hall's work. It's a project waiting to be worked on!

Caroline Davies

I'd also thoroughly recommend Ruth Padel's 52 Ways of Looking at a Poem especially as all of the poems she considers are written by contemporary poets, who with the sad exception of Thom Gunn are still alive. You couldn't wish for more comprehensive introduction to the best poets around at the moment.


Thanks so much for the suggestion! I have duly added it to my wishlist--it sounds like an excellent book to begin with! And a good way to get a survey of some contemporary poets, too!

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