Monday, September 26, 2011

Mornings Like This by Annie Dillard

I was excited when I picked up this book a couple years ago, so I posted my purchase to my blog. My friend Rebecca said that she liked the book, but thought it was cheating to take something very poetic (like Van Gogh's letters) and make them into poetry. I didn't really think about that at the time, but after reading this book, I can understand exactly what she is talking about.

I really like the idea of found poetry. I also like when a found poem is an unaltered piece of writing that a poet took from another person and recognized the poetry in it that the original author didn't see.

I have a personal issue with a poet removing certain words from the original author's work because it is very distracting to me while I am reading it. I can't see the poet's hand in this type of poetry, and I spend the entire time I am reading wondering what the poet did and what the original author did. Did the original author write something completely un-poetic and the poet had to do a lot of word-removing, or did they break into lines something that was poetic to begin with? The ones I liked the best were from medical reports or manuals, because I knew those weren't very poetic, and Dillard made them that way. I guess it is just a hang up I have, which is too bad, because these poems were beautiful and I bet a lot of work was put into them. Maybe if I read the poems more times, I can see them as their own poetry.

This type of found poetry is such a vibrant form, I am going to try and train myself to just enjoy it and stop trying to analyze the whole thing.

My favorites in the book:

A Visit to the Mayo Clinic
The Graduate Student: Apects of the Tongue (I could only find the original source which is a medical book from 1828)
Building a Treehouse
Signals at Sea

Monday, September 12, 2011

Everything is Every Thing by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

A friend of mine lent me this book. He thought I would enjoy it because the poet and I have common interests: trivia, weird history, presidential history, weird presidential history. I did enjoy the book. She is a slam poet, and is known for her dramatic performances. I do think I am missing something by just reading some of the poems, but overall, the poems stand on their own. I keep a mental list of poetry books to give a person who is interested in poetry but isn't sure where to start. This is on my list because Aptowicz is not hard to understand, isn't stuffy (don't get me wrong, I also like stuffy poetry!), and isn't prose broken into stanzas. I don't have the book in front of me because I had to return it, so I can't talk about the line and stanza breaks. I do remember her titles were usually very long. Probably too long (something I am guilty of myself). My favorites in the book: Every Winter, Everyone Thinks My Boyfriend is Elvis Costello (second to last one on the page) Insults That Only Work if You Are a Presidential History Buff (Last one on the page) Choke