Find Your Gateway

The writer, Roxane Gay, shares her thoughts on poetry:

What I do know is that when I read poetry, good poetry, I forget to breathe and my body is suffused with something unnamable — a combination of awe and astonishment and the purest of pleasures. Reading poetry is such a thrill that I often feel like I am getting away with something.

I’ve read good poems before. Poems with clever wordplay. Poems that convey deep meaning in a few words. But have I read a poem where I was struck with awe and astonishment like Roxane Gay? No. I haven’t read a poem that truly left its mark on me. But I’m curious. I’m curious about what this feeling is. Friends and writers speak of poetry as if it were magic. And I want to understand what they mean.

Over the past year, I’ve tried to develop this appreciation for poetry. I tried reading some of the great works of poetry like Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, but it didn’t stick.

Perhaps I need to find my gateway in poetry. Not start with the great works, but focus on contemporary poetry collections.

After just one try, many people discard an entire genre or medium. For example, they might watch one low-quality anime and come away with a negative opinion of all anime. However, if the right introduction can be found, appreciation of the genre or medium can be developed.

March 21, 2023

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