When lilacs last in the courtyard bloom'd

True, today is Trivial Thursday, but I think this blog entry rises above the trivial. If you'll follow the link to a wonderful essay, I promise to be trivial and superficial next Thursday.

Todd R. Nelson has written a beautiful defense of why poetry is important. The piece appears in today's Bangor Daily News. Reading it made me want to pull one of my books of poetry from my library shelf and curl up with a cup of hot tea and a volume of emotion set to words, music, and rhythm for that's what poetry is as Mr. Nelson so eloquently writes.

I'd like to share my comment to him with you because, don't laugh, I once fancied myself a poet. Of course, I was in high school at the time so I didn't know enough to know how terribly difficult it is to write poetry. I didn't let that stop me. I filled scores of pages with my attempts.

Here's what I said to Mr. Nelson:

"To take Faulkner's analysis to its logical conclusion: I'm a novelist which means I'm a failed poet. I love words and the music and rhythm of poetry. I appreciate and admire your beautifully written defense of "why do we have to read poetry." This is not only a sound defense but also a profound truth.

I went to school during the era of forced memorization of just about everything deemed important in history and literature. There have been dark moments in my life when the lines from Henley's Invictus, among other memorized pieces, played through my mind. Somehow, some way, they helped me endure bloody, yet unbowed.

Young people are missing such a beautiful part of life. Keep trying to change their minds."

Reading Mr. Nelson's essay today made me realize how long it's been since I've read poetry. I confess to a complete and total lack of knowledge about any poetry written in the last twenty years. I think it's time I corrected that.


  1. I wrote poetry for a long time. I even published some poems (and actually got money for a couple of them). But just exactly where and when must remain a secret.

    Get one of the anthologies edited by Garrison Keillor, like Good Poems. They're great for browsing.

  2. You’re invited to view my video “Bat Khuat (Tap 4)” which features the song Bat Khuat that was inspired by the poem Invictus.
    URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ul9AcIDleIw

  3. Thanks, VNTuongLai! Going to click on it now.