This Year, I Learned That I Don’t Hate Poetry.

“The teacher said silence is golden/I said silence is bronze, at best” – Andrea Gibson Take Me With You

I fantasized about being a poet. I dreamed that I had a poetic bone. I read and read and read and read and hoped to fall in love with the poetic word, as I loved the prosaic. I never did. I read the words, and tried to reach them, but could not grasp them. I could not held them and examine them, turning them over in my hands until I had an understanding of them.

I determined that though I longed to understand Byron, Shelley, Keats, and Dickinson, I was simply not romantic. I did not into poetry and that was that. I learned to read poetry with the same interest and gusto that I applied to reading the periodic table of elements. (*read – little to none) I learned to circumvent the poetry section in libraries and bookshops for 20 years.

I simply did not enjoy poetry.

… the funny thing with definitive statements, is that they are never truly definitive.

This winter, as I described in a previous post, I inadvertently purchased Sabrina Benaim’s beautiful collection Depression & Other Magic Tricks, and for the first time, felt the poetry speak not around me, but to me. Benaim’s words were for me and of me. How could this be? How could words along meters speak to me? There were no sentences, hanging pronouns, rules of grammar shattered. But I understood them.

… I tricked myself. I began to renegotiate my path through the bookstore, to stumble upon the stacks of poets. I flipped through them as I stood, waiting for my son to finish typing Dog Man into the computer at Chapters, glancing away from him briefly to read what words I had opened to.

I understood these words. Frowning, I flipped to another page, and felt the same connection. I looked at the cover of Andrea Gibson’s Take Me With You and saw that they were, in fact, a poet. I picked up another poet from the shelf and read that one, and that one, and that one. I enjoyed the poetry. I enjoyed the poetry. I enjoyed the poetry. I enjoyed the poetry.

… the thing with declarative statements is that they often need to be retracted.

I may not enjoy Byron, Shelley, Keats, and Dickinson, but as it turns out, I quite like poetry, Sam-I-am.

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