Posted by: Matt | May 6, 2007

A Few Random Bookish Notes

I’ve seen quite a few posts on different lit blogs about poetry. I don’t know anything about poetry. The last time I read any was in high school. I recently had a bit of an exchange with John, my commenting that I felt poetry is a bit too abstract for me. He suggested a Norton anthology or one of his favorites, Al Purdy. I decided the next time I’m at the book store I would check out some Purdy. I know there are people out there with quite a bit of experience with poetry, does anyone else have some suggestions? I’m not discounting John’s suggestions, I would just like to get as many as I can so that I can look at a wide range. Maybe one of you can also enlighten me as to whether I’m wrong about poetry being abstract, help me to gain a good appreciation.

Also, I arrived home from work Friday to discover that my Amazon order had arrived. That’s always exciting. I had chosen free shipping and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it only took five days to reach me. I ordered Saturday night, the package was shipped Tuesday and arrived three days later. Pretty good, I think. I was also pretty happy that I was able to get four books for just over $30. Not as good a deal as I’ve seen in some posts recently, but still not too bad.

One more thing. I’ve seen a few people, like Tara (and probably someone else I’m forgetting), mention a great bargain book online store lately. It’s called They obviously don’t have everything you could want, but they have quite a bit and the average price for a book is about $5. I suggest you check it out.



  1. I’ve always been a bit at sea when it comes to reading poetry. I tend to look to books for answers, so of course I have two books about how to read poetry πŸ™‚ And of course I haven’t read either of them πŸ™‚ But here are the titles, if you’re interested. One is The Art of Reading Poetry, by Harold Bloom. And the other is The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms, by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland. Strand is a great poet, by the way.

    Thanks for the link to…love those discount books! I’m also fond of Daedalus books for new and remaindered books at very good prices. Have you checked them out? Their URL is

  2. Poetry is not abstract. Well not all of it. There are as many different styles of poetry as there are styles of prose, you just have to be willing to sample a lot until you find the style you like. I’m not a fan of the abstract either. Here are some of my favorites: Margaret Atwood, Mary Oliver, Pablo Neruda, Jane Kenyon, Adrienne Rich, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman. I could go on but you’re probably already overwhelmed πŸ™‚

  3. gentle reader – Thanks for the recommendations, glad to see I’m not the only one who’s lost!

    Stefanie – I knew that not all poetry was abstract, but what little poetry I’ve been exposed to seems to all have been. I think the key, like you say, is to sample a little of everything. I was not aware that Margaret Atwood also wrote poetry! Thanks for your recommendations as well, I now have quite a few!

  4. I recommend my favorite, Nikki Giovanni.

    Margaret Atwood writes everything! She’s amazing. And also one of my favorites.

  5. I, personally, love poetry because of the depth it has. You sort of get to pick how to look at what the words are saying.

    I suggest:
    Edgar Allen Poe – “Alone”
    Carol Ann Duffy – “Valentine”
    Thomas Hardy in general ( More of a classical poetry type thing, some of his poems are much easier to understand. )
    Emily Dickinson – “XXIII”

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