Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sunday Coffee: Reading Right Now, A Miscellany (Sunday Salon)

     Six days a week I get up early, by necessity or choice. But Sundays..... To quote Wallace Stevens:
Sunday Morning
          Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
          Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
          And the green freedom of a cockatoo
          Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
          The holy hush of ancient sacrifice
          She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
          Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
          As a calm darkens among the water-lights.

I've always loved this Stevens poem (there's more...I just quoted the first few lines). Poetry often captures a mood or a sensation that I can't fully express. And there are times that poetry is essential for my life. Recently I've been reading more poetry, (Walt Whitman, John Keats, Mary Oliver, Ocean Vuong, Derek Walcott). It's so easy to find a poem: two of my go-to web sites are Poetry Foundation and Poets.org.

     And if you don't have time for a whole poem, how about a few lines? I love the "life lines" page on Poets.org, where people share lines of poetry that are meaningful to them. This is a good place to browse and explore what poetry can mean for us

     One more favorite site: Favorite Poem Project is practically addictive. On this site, people of all ages, vocations, and walks of life share their favorite poem. It is simple and it is beautiful. Here is one example.

    My reading has really been all over the place this week.I started The Nightingale (which I do plan to finish), but then I picked up Trollope's Can You Forgive Her, and have been reading along with JoAnn of Lakeside Musing as part of her #PalliserParty. How could I resist a group read of Trollope's political Palliser novels?

    This week I also finished reading The Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozie Adiche. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, and in an unprecedented book-buying binge over the last couple of weeks, I ordered her We Should All Be Feminists, and picked up The Thing Around Your Neck from my local bookstore. Other books I bought: George Orwell's Why I Write and Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism, as well as The Forsyte Saga. This all despite the fact that I already own an embarrassing number of books (many unread), and there is conclusive evidence that I have a very limited amount of time to actually read all those books. But I find a way, and I find the time, because reading continues to be one of the great and abiding pleasures of my life.

     Do you have a poet or poem that you turn to for comfort? What have you been reading lately? Do you buy or order more books than you can humanly read?



Bryan G. Robinson said...

I love Wallace Stevens...one of my favorites, and not only because he's from my home state of Pennsylvania. Poet that I turn to for comfort? Probably Billy Collins. Reading lately? Not enough poetry. :) I don't buy or order more books than I humanly can read because I get most of my books from the library.

bermudaonion said...

I don't read a lot of poetry because I don't understand it - I think maybe I try too hard. I'm reading This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel. It's about a family with a transgender child. The author has a transgender child and will be at my local bookstore on Tuesday and I'm planning to go see her.

Anne@HeadFullofBooks said...

I was just at the Regional contest for Poetry Out Loud yesterday and the participating high schoolers did a nice job with their recitations. I like poets like Mary Oliver and Billy Collins who are plain-spoken and understandable. My favorite poem from yesterday was "At the Vietnam Memorial" by Bilgere.

My Sunday Salon

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I'm crazy for poetry. I just added an interesting poetry book to my Amazon wish list. The editor of the collection has found a good poem for each year of the last century.

JoAnn said...

I'm glad you're reading Can You Forgive Her? with us. It makes me happy reading Trollope again after a year away. Alice's feminist attitude has been a pleasant surprise! Purple Hibiscus is on my kindle. Hoping to read it sometime this year.

bibliophiliac said...

@Bryan-Wallace Stevens has been a favorite since college. Now I pick up poems almost at random. I just want to see what's out there. Billy Collins is a favorite because he is funny, conversational, witty. The opposite of intimidating. I do buy too many books, but I also get poems from web sites--there are so many good sites now.

bibliophiliac said...

@bermudaonion- Kathy, I know what you mean! But poets like Billy Collins and Mary Oliver are not at all hard to understand. This is How it Always Is sounds interesting, and topical. Can't wait to hear what you think of it.

bibliophiliac said...

@Anne-I've never participated in Poetry Out Loud, but it looks amazing. I agree with you that Collins and Oliver are plain-spoken, accessible poets. I am on a Mary Oliver binge right now. I so loved her book of essays, Upstream.

bibliophiliac said...

@Deb Nance-I get mad at myself sometimes for forgetting to read poetry! I need to always have a poem in my pocket or my notebook, and keeping a volume or two on the nightstand is a reminder too.

bibliophiliac said...

@JoAnn- You have no idea how happy it is making me to read Trollope again. I'm about to get ready to go to bed very early so I can spend the rest of the night reading Can You Forgive Her?

Iliana said...

I love to read poetry even if I don't quite understand it sometimes. As far as a good comfort poet goes I turn to Mary Oliver or Billy Collins. Thank you for the link to the Favorite Poem Project. Hadn't seen that before and that is too cool.

bibliophiliac said...

@Illiana-I love the Favorite Poem project. I could watch those videos all day long.

Andi said...

I've been thinking about poetry a fair bit as I'm listening to Lincoln in the Bardo. I imagine it's what you'd get if Dante, Walt Whitman, and Bukowski all intermingled. lol