April is National Poetry Month, so it’s a good time to, not only read some poetry, but to discover some new poets and explore different types of poetry. I have to admit, that my reading has not included reading poetry as much as it should, though when I think about it, I have enjoyed poetry through the years. My earliest memories include the love of Green Eggs and Ham and Fox in Socks. What better introduction to poetry than Dr. Seuss? Though it was required reading for me in college (usually a death knell to the enjoyment of reading), I greatly enjoyed reading Paradise Lost as well as The Odyssey. As a writer, reading poetry helps me to see words in a different way; a more musical way. Ray Bradbury read poems before beginning a day’s work. In Zen in the Art of Writing, he said, “Poetry is good because it flexes muscles you don’t use often enough. Poetry expands the senses and keeps them in prime condition.”
I am now reading through a collection of poems edited by my favorite poet, Luci Shaw. The collection, A Widening Light: Poems of the Incarnation, includes poems from several poets, including Luci Shaw herself. Using poetry to help us worship God is nothing new. We all know the Psalms as works of poetry, as well as the books of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations.
Perhaps no one explains better why we should read poetry than the teacher, John Keating, played by Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society.
In anticipation of hearing Shelby Stephenson, Poet Laureate of North Carolina, speak next week, I am going to pick up his book, Fiddledeedee, from the library.
Any favorite poets or poems you’ll be reading this month?