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Thursday, April 07, 2016

Letters and Poetry

I'm always browsing topics I'm interested in, and lately, to no one's surprise, I'm fascinated by correspondence.  Letters written during wars, letters to strangers, letters from authors; they can be delightful and funny, wise and foolish, full of sorrow or joy.  

Recently, my browsing led to The Letter You Always Wanted to Write, published by The Guardian.  These are some "Wow" and thoughtful letters about topics that are extremely personal, but that will have resonance with almost anyone.  I wish I were so articulate in expressing gratitude or in honestly explaining my feelings, positive or negative.

And poetry.  I love poetry, but over the years, my reading and rereading of poems--that was a habit for most of my life--has declined.  I mean to remedy that.  My favorite poems are the ones I've read for decades, since I was a child, really, and reading my mother's poetry books, most of which were beyond my abilities.  No matter, I fell in love with poems.

My knowledge of more modern poets, those who have written mainly in this new century, is more limited, but that's OK.  There are volumes of poems by the poets I love, enough to keep me occupied.  

I know many of you love the poems of Mary Oliver, and I found this article that gives insight into her private life and is a kind of love letter to her partner of 40 years.  

 "Read poetry every day of your life. Poetry is good because if flexes muscles you don't often use enough. Poetry expands the senses and keeps them in prime condition. It keeps you aware of your nose, your eye, your ear, your tongue, your hand, and above all, poetry is compacted metaphor and simile. Ideas lie everywhere through the poetry books, yet how rarely have I heard teachers recommending them for browsing."
-Ray Bradbury

A timely reminder.

I've been enjoying myself lately, choosing poems to include with my letters and lines to include on postcards

This morning, I received an email from author Howard Eisenberg, the author of the Guess Who series of poetry books for children.

Here is an example from Guess Who Zoo: 

(a little sample…)I sun myself upon the rocks
I wear no shoes. I need no socks.
The only school I ever see
Is a school of fish.
That’s lunch for me.
My furry skin’s so warm, it’s said
That I can make icebergs my bed
The circus puts me in its shows
To spin beach balls upon my nose.

Grownups applaud and children cheer
When I do back flips on my ear
For me though it is no big deal
It’s really easy for a __________.
The poems are enjoyable and fun for children and adults and would make great gifts.

Parents' Choice Award      

And from Adorable Scoundrels:

Mothers will certainly appreciate these short (and totally accurate) poems!

  • Holding-PatternHolding Pattern
    Why am I pushing this stroller
    Holding my toddler? Looking harried?
    I had no idea when I bought it
    She’d prefer to be carried.
  • Emily-PostscriptEmily Postscript
    Can’t find it in Miss Manners’ book
    But I’ve a hunch
    You should leave a very big tip
    When you take a toddler to lunch.
  • Unholy-RollerUnholy Roller
    He will not use the potty.
    He is stubborn on this issue.
    But loves going to the bathroom
    To unroll the toilet tissue.
You can find out more about Howard here.  


  1. I can relate to the poems you shared from Adorable Scoundrels. Especially the first one. :-) I really like the quote you shared by Ray Bradbury. There is real truth to that.

    I enjoy writing poetry, although I do not do it as often as I used to. I'm just happy to be reading more of it in recent years. I'd gotten out of the habit for awhile there.

    1. They are funny, aren't they? That first one caught my eye, too!

  2. I followed your link to The Guardian and read some of those letters...very powerful, and poignant. I, too, wish I could write so well. And I love the Bradbury quote. We all need more poetry in our lives. Great post!

    1. Those letters are really something, aren't they? So articulate and thoughtful! I heard Bradbury speak once; he was funny and charming and down-to-earth.

  3. I wish I read more poetry; and yes I Love the quote from Ray Bradbury! The poems from Adorable Scoundrels made me smile. :-)

    1. :) Yes, those poems from Adorable Scoundrels are bound to resonate with mothers!

  4. I went through a 'read more poetry' stage and it honestly didn't work for me... I really need to try again!

    1. :) I think a lot of people go through the "read more poetry" stage--I do it at least once a year. If you can find a poet you love, it's easier, but think about song lyrics. Paul Simon puts poetry to music, and so do a few other songwriters.

  5. Thank you for the link to the Guardian. Will be reading that later. I love to read poetry but tend to always go to the poets I already know. This is why I love National Poetry Month - it reminds me to explore other poets. Oh and I'm adding that Ray Bradbury quote to my poetry journal!

    1. I'm going to visit the Guardian regularly for those letters. I find myself returning to the poets I love, too. You've hit on an important point--NPM helps us discover new poems, new poets.

  6. Yay for letters and poetry! Two of my favorite things :)