1. The first poem I remember reading/hearing/reacting to was…. Surely nursery rhymes were among the earliest. This question makes you think about what a poem is, doesn’t it? I remember nursery rhymes, songs, chants from when I was a kid. I remember reading Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade” for school. Oh, yeah, and I remember reading Ogden Nash early on too.
2. I was forced to memorize (name of poem) in school and…….. I wasn’t forced to memorize poems in school until I got to college, and then only one professor required it. That’s quite a shame, really, because there’s no better way to learn about poetry than memorizing it, I think. You get an intimate feel for how a poem works. I memorized W.H. Auden’s poem “Under Sirius.”
3. I read/don’t read poetry because….I read poems because I enjoy it and want to figure out more about how poems work. I only began reading poetry semi-regularly early this year, so I still feel strange calling myself a poetry reader. I read poems when I was in college and shortly after, but then I stopped for a long time. It’s not that I didn’t want to read them, I just never figured out a way to fit them into my life. Now I have a volume I keep on my shelf next to my reading chair, and I read a few poems a week. It’s not much, but it gets me through a book in a couple months.
4. A poem I’m likely to think about when asked about a favorite poem is …….I’d have to name poets rather than poems, as favorite poems don’t come to mind. Favorite poets? Elizabeth Bishop, Mary Oliver, Emily Dickinson.
5. I write/don’t write poetry, but…………..I don’t write poetry, although I can’t say I never will. But I just have no idea how to write one. I mean, what constitutes a poem? What should it be about? I have no idea. And I have little idea, to be honest, about what makes a good poem. As someone who teaches poetry now and then, maybe I shouldn’t admit that, but it’s true. It’s easy to teach older stuff because it’s generally accepted as good, but newer stuff, I have a hard time saying. That’s one reason I’m curious about reading more poems, to get a feel for how they work and what makes a poem great.
6. My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature…..I don’t really get poetry. My students sometimes say that and they mean it negatively, but I’m not being negative here. I don’t really think there’s anything to “get” about poetry, actually — that makes it sound like there’s a key or code to understanding it, which there isn’t beyond being familiar with tradition and form. I just mean I find it rather mystifying — and that’s part of what makes it fun.
7. I find poetry….. well, mystifying. In a good way. Sometimes enlightening, often beautiful.
8. The last time I heard poetry….The local coffee shop has an open mic on Wednesday nights and last February they had a day where people could bring their love poetry/erotic poetry to read. A lot of people showed up to read and to listen, and there was a lot of good energy in the room. It was fun.
9. I think poetry is like….Litlove wrote in a comment a while back that a poem is like a dream, and I’ve found that idea useful. I was initially resistant because I generally don’t find dreams and dream interpretations all that interesting, but the analogy does work; a poem often has loosely connected images that fit together in some shadowy half-known way, just as a dream does. A poem can get at truths in that sideways way a dream can.
I tag … whoever wants to do this great meme!