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Yes, You CAN Understand Poetry

This year the Nobel committee awarded its literature prize to Bob Dylan for his fifty years of writing poetry. For the many of us who haven’t read poetry since a teacher required it, it was a surprising reminder that we listen to poetry every day -  in our cars, on the walking trail, over dinner, and at our desks. We listen, we learn the words, we sing along, and gradually we comprehend the poetry. 

If you haven’t opened a book of poetry since Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout refused to take the garbage out, you might try one of these books to ease you back into it:

 

The Trouble with Poetry by Billy Collins
 
Poet Laureate in 2001-2003, Collins wrote a poem honoring the victims of 9/11. The Names was read before a special joint session of Congress in 2002.  Billy Collins’ poetry is notable for its conversational style:
 
The birds are in their trees,
the toast is in the toaster,
and the poets are at their windows.
 
 
 
 
 
A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver
 
I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall—
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.
 
 
Pulitzer winner Mary Oliver has been described by the New York Times as “far and away, this country’s best-selling poet.”  Her poetry, often inspired by her walks in nature, are sometimes introspective and other times joyous.

 

The Lyrics: 1961-2012 by Bob Dylan
 
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?
 
Here’s poetry you can hum along to! One piece of the poetry puzzle is understanding how the poet meant it to be read. We have that covered for you on DVD: No direction home: Bob Dylan.
 
 

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