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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

April 18, 2024

P is for Poetry #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter P

For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the genre/category and an example or two. I would love to know your thoughts on the genre/category and if you have any reading suggestions. Be sure to check out all of my A to Z posts.

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"Poetry, also called verse, is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and often rhythmic qualities of language − such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and meter − to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, a prosaic ostensible meaning." (Wikipedia)

I enjoy reading poetry but I don't really like to review it. I just don't feel like I can adequately talk about poetry. Growing up I read a lot of Shel Silverstein. I can't tell you how many times I've read Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Light in the Attic.

In high school, we did a poetry unit and we had to make a collection of poems. I chose humor so I could highlight some of my favorite Silverstein. But we had to feature a certain number of authors so I discovered Odgen Nash. I remember that he sometimes made up words in his poems for humor but also for the purpose of fitting the rhyming scheme.

These days I lean more toward nature poetry. I even tried my hand at it when we were isolating during the pandemic in 2020:

When We Emerge

I emerge from the cool, dark house

Into the warm, sunlit spring

Flowers and trees greet me

With showy blooms and vibrant leaves

As I reflect on their time of dormancy

Needed to survive the harshness of winter and produce such a display

And I wonder how vibrant we will be

When we emerge

I spy the doe in my backyard

Keeping to the shadows 

In search of a safe place to rest

Who may now be carrying new life within

I reflect on the fawn she lost last year

To a predator for which it had no defense

And I wonder what hope and fears we will carry

When we emerge

Birds and song fill the air

As they return to reclaim territory that is the same

But different from that which they left

They rebuild nests that have been destroyed by wind and rain

Knowing, even so, they may have to start again

I reflect on their resilience in the face of adversity

And I wonder what new life awaits us

When we emerge

A butterfly flits about the yard 

With wings like stained glass

I reflect on the great struggle it endured to escape its cocoon

And I wonder what beauty we will behold

When we emerge 

Poems can be stand-alone like the one above, but a whole story can be written in verse such as Homer's epic poems The Odyssey and The Iliad. They are written in blank verse, meaning the poem does not rhyme but uses a rhythmic meter, in this case, dactylic hexameter. You may be familiar with meter from studying Shakespeare who often wrote in iambic pentameter. 

Since April is National Poetry Month as well as Deaf History Month, I'm featuring a book that my library read last year. It is a collection of poems that is written as a play.

Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky

book cover of poetry collection Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky

Deaf Republic
opens in an occupied country in a time of political unrest. When soldiers breaking up a protest kill a deaf boy, Petya, the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear--they all have gone deaf, and their dissent becomes coordinated by sign language. The story follows the private lives of townspeople encircled by public violence: a newly married couple, Alfonso and Sonya, expecting a child; the brash Momma Galya, instigating the insurgency from her puppet theater; and Galya's girls, heroically teaching signing by day and by night luring soldiers one by one to their deaths behind the curtain. At once a love story, an elegy, and an urgent plea, Ilya Kaminsky's long-awaited Deaf Republic confronts our time's vicious atrocities and our collective silence in the face of them.

Buy Deaf Republic at Amazon

Read my review.

Do you read poetry? Is there a certain type of poetry that you enjoy?

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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  1. I love some poetry, and yet other poetry leaves me scratching my head. That's not always a bad thing. But the one thing poetry related that I never loved is writing it. :-) You did well with your nature poem, and you have the skill to go further with it. Trying my hand at poetry wouldn't work that way for me.

  2. I'm not a poetry person. Like I can read a poem, but I can't pick up a book of poems....