“I, too, dislike it.”
Happy Poetry Month!
Marianne Moore’s poem, “Poetry” begins with the astonishing confession “I, too, dislike it.” But since this anti-poem sentiment is the first line of a poem, we can assume that Moore soldiered on, somehow, and kept writing and reading. You can find the complete text of Moore’s “Poetry” in Great Poems of American Women.
You can also celebrate and keep reading (or writing) with the embarrassment of riches that is the depth and breadth of poetry available at Dover. There’s many a good anthology currently available in a variety of formats. They make great and affordable textbooks for teachers of all kinds, from home-school parents to college professors as well as autodidacts. If you want the higher-end stuff, there’s a delectable Calla edition of Edgar Allen Poe’s work with suitably compelling color illustrations by Edmund Dulac.
Dover has multiple dual language titles in poetry as well. If you speak and read English (assuming you do since you are reading this), it’s pretty neat to crack open Introduction to German Poetry, pick out a poem, and read the original German and the translated English to see all of the similarities — except you’ll be reading a good long while because it takes forever to get to the verb at the end of the line(joke!). If you’re adventurous or more comfortable with the Romance languages, you can do the same with Italian, French, and Spanish poetry and literature.
Ever eat a good poem? Many parts are edible according to the editors of How to Eat a Poem, an anthology of poetry suitable for young readers. It’s filled with great poems to teach kids the visceral (and tasty!) experience of poetry.
Emily Dickinson is a poet often considered suitable for children — which is kind of a load of malarkey. The more you read her, the more you learn that this great American poet was anything but conventional. She is in many of Dover’s anthologies. It was Dickinson who said, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.”
Best to let Moore sum up the worth of the genre as she closes her ode to her love for/distaste of poetry:
“Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
it after all, a place for the genuine.”