Rediscovering the Joys of Poetry

This was a poetry-filled week for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining (at least not now that all the hard work is done). I love poetry, always have and probably always will. I actually once considered becoming a poet myself, which is why I was shocked when I realized how much I had been neglecting poetry all these years. And sure, I've been busy writing and reading so many other things I've hardly had time to consider poetry, but now that I was, well, let's face it, kind of forced to read poetry for my English class, I've realized (again) how wonderful poetry can be. And yes, I am aware of how strange that just sounded, but it's true. It took coercion to remind me of my love for poetry, which is why I am now procrastinating on what I should be doing, which is reading even more poetry, in the hope of reminding all of you.

So, why should you read poetry?

-First things first. It doesn't take as long to read as a novel, and while some poems are hard to understand (there's simply no euphemizing that), nothing beats the feeling of finally understanding what the poet means, especially when you can think of it in the context of your own life.

-You can improve your writing and vocabulary by learning from the best of the best and it's also a really good way to practice and improve your foreign language skills, - if you're brave enough to try reading poetry in another language, that is.

-It makes you see things differently, find beauty in unexpected places, pay more attention to detail, think in new ways and make unexpected connections. Plus, it helps improve your own writing skills.

So? Did I convince you yet? In case I have, but you don't know where to start, I come prepared with recommendations. Be warned though, some of these are in Spanish -so get Google Translate ready. Drumroll please, here they are:

- "20 Poemas de amor y una cancion desesperada." This book by Pablo Neruda is without a doubt one of my favorites. Poem 20 is especially wonderful and powerful and brilliant and beautiful and sad. I sincerely think everyone should read it.

- "Que es poesia?" by Gustavo Adolfo Becquer. This is a really short poem and yes, it's in Spanish too, but really, you just have to read it.

- "The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot. This is one of the poems I was "forced" to read for my English class, but it easily fits into my list of favorites. "I don't think they will sing for me" is probably the sadest line I have ever read, and I know you don't know me, but I promise you, that is saying something.

- "I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)" by E. E. Cummings is probably a favorite of many, especially since Cameron Diaz read it while starring in In Her Shoes. But just disregard that and give it a chance. I still think it's one of the greats.

- "My wage" by Jessie B. Rittenhouse. My dad used to quote lines from this poem for me and my brothers all the time when we were growing up. It is honest and hopeful and sad, all at the same time, and it tells a message we would all do well to remember: that we can do and be whatever we want, we need only ask.