I’ve always been very jealous of poets. I mean, I can write. I can string words together and make a story, hopefully well enough to create a world you can get lost in, even if it’s just for a second. But I love words. I think it’s fascinating how they sound when spoken and look on a page when typed (or, even better, handwritten on beautiful lined paper). And poetry is much more conductive to that kind of scrutiny than most prose is.
But unfortunately I can’t write poetry to save my life. My efforts end up sounding trite and angstridden, much more like a teenager’s scribbling than the deep thoughts and beautiful words I was aiming for. Every once in a while I’ll come up with a good line or two, and try to build a poem around it. Inevitably, I fail. But I hug those lines to me and whisper them to myself in secret, because in some way, they represent me and I love them for that. Poetry is deeply personal and therefore very close to my soul.
All this serves as an introduction to the following anthology, edited by M.L. Liebler, that I really want to buy, put on my shelves, and flip through every so often. (I never read poetry collections straight through. The words tend to lose their power whenever I try, so I limit myself to a couple of poems I can linger over.) The anthology contains poetry and short fiction and memoirs and nonfiction – a good mix.
Apparently, one of his aims was to make poetry accessible to everyone. To that end, Walt Whitman is in there. But so are Eminem and Bob Dylan. I love that. Because poetry really isn’t as highbrow as some people seem to think. I get that Shakespeare isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. If I’m honest, he’s often not my favorite. But there’s poetry out there for everyone – whether your soul is moved by powerful imagery, by rhyme, or by rock lyrics you can sing along with at the top of your lungs.
If and when I get my hands on this book, I’ll let you know what gems I find inside. Who knows, it might inspire me to pore over a few lines of my own. Those are just for me, though. I take it you don’t mind.