I don’t know how to write poetry without feeling something. There is always an emotion, a feeling. For me, there can be no poetry without emotion. That’s what poetry is. It’s trying to put a thought, a feeling, a piece of your soul-something that can’t be explained-into words. It’s expressing something that a lot of people can’t express and find it hard to even put a name to. I love poetry. I may not always understand the words another poet uses, but I understand the language, the feeling, or the idea of what they are trying to say.
Reading poetry can be a lot like going to an art museum. There are some you understand immediately, like a realistic painting of fruit. There’s not much to have to think about. It’s there. You see it, and you know what it is. It’s easily understood. Then you have your abstract pieces, those works that make you wonder what was going on inside the creator’s mind. And then, you have Dali, the surrealist. Just accept that you don’t understand and move on. (Actually, I like Dali. I like seeing the way he viewed things.) Then there are your Van Goghs (Lord Byron), your Michelangelos (Shakespeare), and your Monets (E.E. Cummings or Pablo Neruda). If you walk through an art museum, chances are you will find something you like, something that appeals to you. The same is true of poetry. If you read through an anthology of poetry you might find something you like. The problem that I see with that, though, is that most anthologies put their Master poets at the beginning of the books and it scares people off. At least, those who may not be ready for them. For someone like me, it’s fine. It’s what I look for first, to see if my favorites are in there. I think if someone like Robert Frost or even the Rosetti’s were put into the front of anthologies (something more contemporary) people might enjoy reading poetry more.
I’m bringing all this up because I recently downloaded an update for this poetry app that I have called The Love Book. I love this app. It has some wonderful poetry in it. I bought the app back in November the week before my dad died. There are poems in there that even the average person might like or understand, such as Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden. This poem got me through several weeks of sorrow and grief. The first time I heard it was in the movie Four Weddings and A Funeral. In the film, John Hannah’s character read it at the funeral of the man he loved. It was heartbreaking, and I had tears streaming down my face during that scene. Yet, that poem got me through my own sadness. Something else about the app that I should mention is that some of the poems are read by British actors and actresses. Helen McCrory, Damian Lewis, Helena Bonham Carter, Gina Bellman and Tom Hiddleston have all been recorded on this app reading the most lovely and moving poems. And now, with this update, Emma Watson joins their ranks, and she does a fantastic job. There were new poems added as a result and my favorite new one is The Invitation by Oriah. Go read it. It’s wonderful.
There is one side effect to this update that I’ve noticed, and CJ, you back me up on this. It caused a need in me to read more poetry. I noticed this when I downloaded the app to begin with but I didn’t think anything of it other than I was grieving and the poetry helped. This time, however, I know it’s because of the app. I didn’t realize it, though, until after I was home from the bookstore with a large anthology of poetry and I had found my Neruda poetry books. Yep, I’ve got the bug. But that’s not a bad thing, right? I mean, it’s better than craving soda or candy, right? At least it’s healthier.
The wonderful thing about poetry is how it can lift us up, make us think, see life in a new way, and make us feel. It’s music without sound. It’s art in and of itself. Musicians, artists, actors, or anyone dealing in emotions can understand how it feels to write it, read it, and experience it, although, their form of poetry lies in their fields of expertise. Musicians put music to poems that moves us, after all, that’s what a song is. Artists paint or draw or sculpt emotions. Actors translate the written word for the silver screen and get us to feel something for characters that don’t exist, for the most part. They get us to see another side of a story, like poetry tries to get us to see something from the poet’s point of view.
I hope you will check out The Love Book App. It’s a good app to explore poetry with, and one of the best things about it is that you can also write and record your own poetry to it. I’m including the link here so you won’t have any excuses not to get to it if you’re interested.