i thoroughly enjoy poetry. specifically that of the romantics. i never studied it as part of my english degree. it was a class i was waiting to take but didn’t ‘need’ in the end. i have this ‘thing’ about doing things in order. it doesn’t matter if it’s from start to finish, or finish to start. they need to be done in order. i will often read a magazine from back cover to front cover, for example, but i rarely, if ever, start things in the middle.
so it was with my english degree and the courses i took. i wanted to study american literature (whitman to present) and romantic poetry. these are the 2 time-periods/genres i was, and still am, most interested in. but first i needed to take ‘intro to’ classes and then, well, because of my ‘thing’ i took american lit to whitman before american lit from whitman because it was ‘first’. romantic poetry was a 4th year class that i was waiting to take in, you guessed it, my 4th year. i was p.a. to the romantic poetry professor, dr. christopher strathman, for 2 yrs (who rocks by the way but is no longer at baylor) and kept promising him i would take it. while grading his papers and photocopying readings i got so excited about taking the class…in my 4th year. i didn’t make it to my 4th year at baylor as an english major. i had a mini-freak-out spring of junior year. i basically wondered how the hell i was going to make a living on a literature degree, panicked and changed my major, last-minute, to professional writing. this is not an action i regret by any means. i loved my writing courses. but i left college not having studied the 2 things i was truly interested in.
poetry makes me very happy. it is also so challenging. i usually do not understand the true point the first 10 times i read something, but that is the beauty of poetry. it is layered with meaning. you can enjoy the rhythm and cadence of the words, the imagery, the style, before you actually understand the meaning. you can understand the meaning before you understand the reason. you can read the same poem hundreds of times and get something new out of it every time.
i haven’t read poetry consistently since college and my bedside table has been stacked with parenting, pregnancy and baby name books for 2 yrs. the odd history book has graced its side from time to time, but for sure, no poetry.
my parenting books have just been replaced by my 1906 copy of tennyson poems, bought at portobello road market. it’s incredibly old and cool looking. i also found a book of hopkins poetry, given to me by my super cool, romantic poetry professor friend (thanks dr. s). it’s going on the nightstand too.
here’s to not understanding what i am reading before i go to bed. at least for the first 10 nights. 🙂