Thursday, July 5, 2007

About Poetry

I've been reading A Poetry Handbook, by Mary Oliver, and I couldn't resist this quote, at the end of the book. "Poetry is a life-cherishing force. And it requires a vision -- a faith, to use an old-fashioned term. Yes, indeed. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. Yes, indeed."
What do you think?

7 comments:

mompriest said...

Oh my. I need to get her book to enhance what I am reading in Ciardi. I like her poetry and this sounds so right on..."a life-cherishing force...a vision, a faith...poems are not words but fire for the cold, rope for the lost, food for hungry."

wow. I love that - her use of words and imagery even when describing poetry is fabulous!

lj said...

Mary Oliver should know, if anyone does, the power of poetry. Her poetry has become a bible to me over the past few years. Some of hers I read over and over, like the psalms. Thanks for sharing this.

Songbird said...

rope for the lost...
yes.
I think of all the years I didn't "get" poetry, and now I think there are some things that can't be expressed any other way.

Barbara B. said...

Yep, I definitely need to order that book!

Gannet Girl said...

My dd commented once that she wondered why I had not become a psychologist (I believe we were talking about divorce cases I had handled). I explained that in college the decision about a major had come down to English Literature or Psychology, which were the same as far as I could tell, and that I had chosen the opportunity to immerse myself in language like "To be or not to be..." rather than "The client evinces a flat affect and expresses suicidal ideation...".

Both have their place, but poetry makes it possible for us to understand that we share the experience.

Gannet Girl said...

PS: Songbird, I find it difficult to believe that someone who writes as lyrically as you do ever had a moment in which you didn't "get" poetry!

ann.markle said...

I think poetry is a necessity. It speaks to that place where music and prayer live in us. And for me, Mary Oliver's poetry is like air to breathe or bread to eat -- absolutely needed for life.