Does Anyone Read Poetry Anymore?

The truth is, I am not sure anyone does read poetry anymore. I am assuming that there is more poetry out there being written than there is poetry being read. But that is not a discouragement – that means that for all the wonderful poetry written by the greats like Poe and Wordsworth, there is also a wealth of new poems and new poets to suit any reader. The following are my top five reasons why you should consider reading poetry:

1. A poem, or even a book of poems, can be read in one sitting.

Sometimes the only way to catch your breath is to lose it completely.
-Tyler Knott Gregson, Chasers of the Light: Poems from the Typewriter series

2. Poetry gives you a different way to look at things.
Light and wind are running
over the headed grass
as though the hill had
melted and now flowed.
-Wendell Berry, June Wind

3. Poetry can improve your vocabulary, and in young readers it helps foster early literacy.

This might be a pool, like I’ve read of in books,
Connected to one of those underground brooks!
An underground river that starts here and flows
Right under the pasture! And then . . . well, who knows?
-Dr. Seuss, McElligot’s Pool

4. Poetry reminds us where we are. It also reminds us of where we have been.

So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,
and put your lips to the world.
And live
your life.
-Mary Oliver, Red Bird

5. Because it’s fun.

Was it for this I uttered prayers,
And sobbed and cursed and kicked the stairs,
That now, domestic as a plate,
I should retire at half-past eight?
Edna St. Vincent Millay, Grown-Up

April is National Poetry Month so there isn’t a better time to crack out the old favorites or to seek out a new poet. To give you some ideas, please see the reading list below or come and browse our poetry section at the Library.

She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey through Poems selected by Caroline Kennedy
A New Geography of Poets edited by Edward Field, Gerald Locklin and Charles Stetler
Chasers of the Light: Poems from the Typewriter series by Tyler Knott Gregson
Blue Horses by Mary Oliver
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Wolf Tracks on the Welcome Mat by Paul Zarzyski
Grace Stone Coates: Honey Wine and Hunger Root by Lee Rostad
New Collected Poems by Wendell Berry
The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes edited by Arnold Ramersad
Poems by Emily Dickinson edited by Martha Dickinson Bianchi