Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday Tome - A Poetry Handbook

Are you interested in reading and perhaps even writing poetry? Mary Oliver's short little book, A Poetry Handbook, is well worth reading. If you enjoy Mary Oliver's poetry, as so many do, you will also find this book to be a window into her thinking and writing.

Here are a few brief paragraphs from the conclusion of the book:
Early in my life I determined not to teach because I like teaching very much. I thought if I was going to be a real poet––that is, write the best poetry I possibly could––I would have to guard my time and energy for its production, and thus I should not, as a daily occupation, do anything else that was interesting. Of necessity I worked for many years at many occupations. None of them, in keeping with my promise, was interesting.

Among the things I learned in those years were two of special interest to me. First, that one can rise early in the morning and have time to write (or, even, to take a walk and then write) before the world's work schedule begins. Also, that one can live simply and honorably on just about enough money to keep a chicken alive. And do so cheerfully.

This I have always known––that if I did not live my life immersed in the one activity which suits me, and which also, to tell the truth, keeps me utterly happy and intrigued, I would come someday to bitter and mortal regret.
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Poetry is a life-cherishing force. And it requires a vision––a faith, to use an old-fashioned term. Yes, indeed. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. Yes, indeed.

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