Sometimes I wander behind buildings to see what is there. After all, the building is blocking the view. I can be curious that way. In the case of this photo, I went behind a local supermarket. I saw this sign and wondered where the deep water was. I couldn’t see any. I imagine there is deep water in a ditch if there is a really heavy rainstorm. But it was dry the day that I took the picture.
I am not a huge poetry fan. I never have been. I’m not sure why that is. I liked Mother Goose rhymes when I was a little kid. I didn’t mind memorizing Paul Revere’s Ride and other poems when I was in elementary school, though I wasn’t quite sure why we had to memorize them. I even enjoyed some of the poems we read, such as Invictus in high school. Of course, I read more poetry in college, and I liked a lot of it, but if the truth be told, most of it bored me.
There were a small number of poets whose work I admired. Shakespeare’s sonnets were wonderful, and his plays were nothing to sneeze at. William Blake wrote some marvelous poems. Samuel Coleridge’s opium fueled poems, such as Kubla Khan chanted in my mind. Robert Frost wrote some great poems. Probably my favorite poem of all time is Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley. My favorite poet is William Butler Yeats; his poems sing to me.
Of those poets, Robert Frost was the only one who was alive when I first read something that he wrote. He died when I was in high school. The other poets I have listed were from different eras, and wrote with a different sensibility.
Other than reading the occasional poem printed in Harper’s or The Atlantic I hadn’t bothered to read any poetry for a number of years. But then, around the beginning of 2013, I came across a blog named Fairytale Epidemic. I mentioned this in a post titled The year in review. I was drawn in by the prose and pictures, but I’ve stayed for the poetry. For the first time in many years I have been reading poems that keep my attention. I know that part of the fascination is because they are couched in fantasy. If you regard the poets I’ve listed above, Robert Frost is the only one who has not used fantasy in his poetry…at least I can’t remember any. I do like fantasy.
It took me a little while before I realized that Brittany, the Fairytale Epidemic blogger, was writing about herself through metaphor. I know, intellectually, that all writers do that, but Brittany does it with a deal of openness you don’t often see; that may be what threw me off. When I started paying attention to her poetry I saw that she was working through an emotional disaster. Contemporaneously however, she was also posting in prose about the fun she was having while hiking on weekends. Then her poetic mood shifted to happiness that had entered her life, but she also spoke to new disappointments. Most recently she appears to be delving deeper into her own thoughts (I’m tempted to use the word soul), and is being less reactionary in her work; sedate might be a good term (though she probably has a better one). It seems, to me, to be a new maturity that asks more of her readers, as well as of herself. For the first time in a long time, I’ve found poetry that seems to me to be worth the effort.
You may be thinking that I’ve buzzed over some literary greats just so I can write about someone who is relatively unknown. Yeah, pretty much. But just as some people like Jackson Pollock’s as well as Frank Frazetta’s painting, I find poetic room for Yeats and Brittany. That’s me and poetry.
Here is Brittany’s blog address: http://fairytaleepidemic.wordpress.com