Have you ever started reading something that just hit you with a force like a hurricane and
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made you want to laugh, cry, sing, dance and hide in a corner, all in one moment? I’m finding that poetry, certain poetry, just hits me like that and I am slammed face first into this marvelous feeling that I want to shout out to the world, but keep quietly bottled up inside, a geyser that’s just hidden under the surface. I’d say what really started me on this journey of explosion was when I read Billy Collins‘ Tuesday June 4, 1991. This poem is so perfect in its artistry that you finish feeling amazed and flabbergasted and staring at the page like you just opened Ali Baba’s cave. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but I feel like my eyes have been opened to a type of poetry that just sings to me.
I’ve been reading over and over, four more of Billy Collins’ books, Ballistics, Horoscopes for the Dead, The Trouble With Poetry and Other Poems, and I returned Aimless Love and Sailing Alone Around the Room. I keep reading them and I keep sighing with understanding and longing. Because the poems make me long for something. I want to desperately share these with someone. Read them outloud in the summer as we lie on the grass in dappled sunlight.
Along with Billy Collins, I have been reading a book of Erotic Poetry by the Everyman’s Pocket Poets. And don’t think dirty poems. This deals with Eros and love and desire, hate, anguish and reverence for the body.
These poems, selected from most of the cultures and histories of world literature, provide magnificent witness to the fact that love is as much an act of the imagination as it is of the body. From fourth-century Li Ch’ung’s “Parody of a Lover” to John Betmeman’s “Late-Flowering Lust,” they re-create, through the revelations of language, that experience of the erotic. Other poets include Theodore Roethke, Robert Graves, Octavio Paz, Joseph Brodsky, Sylvia Plath, Frederico Garcia Lorca, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and many others.
The poetry is marvelous and sensual and beautiful. It makes you stop and ponder and go, ‘Oh wow’. Or that’s what I do. I’m just stupefied and in awe when I finish one. You would think I’ve never read poetry. But it’s magical and amazing.
What got me started reading the erotic poetry was by reading Last Gods by Galway Kinnell. this is some seriously beautiful and sensual work. I suggest if you are interested in gorgeous poetry to try this one. It is magical and takes you to the heart of Eros. It makes you blush, but in a very good way. A private look at a man and woman and it’s beautiful.
This kind of poetry is much more modern than what I’ve grown up reading. Though, that being said, most of what is in the Erotic Poetry is pre 1900’s. So, I suppose I’ve been reading the wrong things. I’ve always been a fan of Emily Dickinson, though half the time I don’t know what she is saying. It’s the magic of it all that gets me.
Well the magic of these poets has me enthralled, craving more and wanting to scream it out to anyone who will listen.
Has anyone else read something that changed their life? Made them want to dance and sing and weep and hide? Has poetry changed your life in ways you never knew possible?