Thursday, November 30, 2006

Poetry Meme

A Poetry Meme!!

I've been tagged by Les and I've got a few minutes between chauffeuring duties, so here goes.

1. What's the first poem you remember reading/hearing/reacting to?
I can't say one specific poem first grabbed me, but we had a lovely Disney book of Mother Goose Rhymes that I absolutely loved. When I grew older and married a guy with the last name "Horner", I was shocked to find out that not everyone knew "Little Jack Horner" by heart. So, I quit saying, "Horner, you know, like Little Jack Horner?" and started spelling the darned name out. While you're my captive, I must tell you that there was, in fact, a Jack Horner who carried ten deeds for the king and stole one; hence, the origin of the poem. The plum Jack pulled out with his thumb was a plum piece of land. There is still a Lord Horner in England. No relation, darn it.

2. I was forced to memorize (name of poem) in school and . . .

Actually, I had to memorize quite a few. The only one that really stands out in my memory is "Daffodils" by William Wordsworth because I loved it. And, I really hated reciting.

3. I read/don't read poetry because . . .

Like Les, I don't generally seek out poetry because I have no understanding of it, but when someone mentions a favorite poet I will flip through a book and read a little, maybe buy if I'm absolutely captivated. That seldom occurs, but after seeing Il Postino, I sought out Pablo Neruda's poetry because I loved everything I heard in the movie. And, I'm a Pablo Neruda fan, now, thank you very much.

I wish I could read Neruda's poetry in Spanish because (anecdote coming) when I was in high school I plopped down in the hallway beside a fellow I'd known since elementary school and he read some poetry to me in Spanish, then tried to describe it. But, he said, it loses it's beauty in the translation. Either way, it's utterly cool to have a handsome guy who emigrated from Spain read to you in his language. Whew. I'd have married him on the spot if he asked. Kidding, just kidding. I think.

4. A poem I'm likely to think about when asked about a favorite poem is . . .

"Daffodils" by Wordsworth. I just love it; it's a happy poem.

5. I write/don't write poetry, but . . .

I used to write what I thought was poetry, but I was never schooled in meter or whatever you call it. I have no idea how one determines what is poetry and what's doggerel. I had a poem entered in a contest by an elementary school teacher and it was one of the few of my childhood writings that didn't win anything, so I've always just assumed it was garbage. And, I used to write song lyrics when I regularly played guitar - they pretty much sucked, as well.

6. My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature . . .

Hmm, I'm not sure what to say to that one. I think I understand literature better than poetry, but imagery is not something anyone ever taught me, so I'm kind of a literary fool, as well. Geez, I'm feeling a little stupid. Let's just say I'm an avid fiction reader but not an avid poetry reader and leave it at that, shall we?

7. I find poetry . . .

is often incomprehensible and sometimes inspiring, but there's a fine line between what works and doesn't, at least for me.

8. The last time I heard poetry . . .

My husband blurts out the poems he learned in childhood, now and then. I think the last I heard was a recitation of something from Alice in Wonderland, which he started reciting because I mentioned that I really need to read that book. He's also a fan of Robert Service, so I get to hear that dude's poetry whenever I least expect it.

9. I think poetry is like . . .

The person who writes it. William Wordsworth loved nature and lived in the stunning Lake Country in England (which is gorgeous even from an ugly motorway; I want to go there for a lengthy visit, one day). That really comes through in his poetry. Pablo Neruda was a man who loved women and his country; yep, you can tell. He also had a sense of humor. Here's an excerpt that makes me smile, from "To the Dead Poor Man" by Pablo Neruda:

"Today we are burying our own poor man;
our poor poor man.

He was always so badly off
that this is the first time
his person is personified."

It's really quite a touching poem, actually, but I've always thought that portion is pretty funny.

Off to take the kiddo to swim practice. I nominate anyone who wants to carry on this meme, but I'd especially like to see answers to these questions from Andi. Someone nudge Andi!!!


  1. Anonymous9:05 PM

    I loved reading the responses to your meme, bookfool! "Daffodils" was my dad's favorite poem, too (after "Abou Ben Adam") and William Wordsworth is his favorite poet.

    Loved hearing about the origin of Jack Horner - it's weird to think how most nursery rhyme characters had something to do with the monarchy of old.

    Thank you very much for reminding me of Pablo Neruda; while I was writing my responses to the meme I just knew I was forgetting one of my favorites and sure enough, I was forgetting Neruda and his beautiful love poems - you're so lucky to have had them read to you in Spanish! ;)

    Must run for now but will return to read your thoughts on "Dispatches From the Edge".

  2. Anonymous9:05 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Hi Lotus!

    Very cool that your father also loved "Daffodils"!

    It's definitely fascinating that those nursery rhymes turned out to have political origins! Too bad, though, that we're no relation to the Jack Horner who dipped into the royal pie. :)

    Isn't Neruda wonderful? I don't know if Robert was reading Neruda - that was a very long time ago that he read to me in the hallway - but I wouldn't be surprised. Whatever he read made him sigh. You've got to love a guy who reads poetry and sighs at the beauty of it!

  4. Yay! I'm glad you played along. Be sure to go over to Cam's blog and let her know so she can add you to her list.

    Daffodils is a good one to memorize, isn't it? Nice rhythm. I should try to memorize a poem once a month. Good exercise for the brain, especially as I get older and more forgetful.

    One of my "Places to Visit Before I Die" is Wordsworth's Lake District. I would love to go on one of those walking tours I've seen advertised. I better not wait too long or I'll have to hobble along with a cane! ;)

    Ah, Pablo. I may have to look into get a book of his poetry. I fell in love with one of his poems that I heard recited in Frida. Thanks for the reminder about Il Postino! I saw it in the theater years ago and would love to watch it again. Off to Netflix...

  5. Hi Les,

    It was more fun that I thought! When I first saw this poetry meme (I don't know where), I was sure I didn't have a real answer for any of those questions, but yours made things click. :)

    Cam's blog. Okay, will do.

    We actually passed through the edge of the Lake District on our way to Scotland (we drove the clogged British motorways - now I understand why it puzzles Brits that we drive so much) and even from the road, the rolling hills and gray stone cottages were beautiful. I couldn't believe there was a place the motorway couldn't turn ugly!! Yeah, need to go there before we're in hobble mode. :)

    Pablo is wonderful. I need to watch Il Postino again, myself. We own a copy from my "foreign flick" phase. It's wonderful. I love the storytelling of European movies - so different from the typical Hollywood output.

  6. I don't know the Daffodils poem; I need to look it up since you like it so much.

    Also, I've never really understood Alice In Wonderland that much; but our pastor just said it was a commentary on the politics of that time, so that helps a little. Politics NEVER make sense to me (since I'm not into personal agendas).

    I was glad to read your responses to this "poime" meme.

  7. Bellezza,

    Les posted "Daffodils" in her poetry meme, so it's a quick jaunt to look it up.

    I don't follow politics; it makes little sense to me and when I figure out bits about how the system works, it tends to just make me angry - particularly the power of certain lobbying groups drives me nuts. I like Al Gore (although I used to refer to him as "Mr. Plastic" - I'm over that) because he's one of the few politicians who recognizes the connection between earth and humans and that's one thing I do understand; I love nature. You probably knew, since I'm always mentioning the birds and squirrels, right? :) But, otherwise, I have a tendency to turn a blind eye to the political world, much to the despair of my eldest, who is a political junkie!

    Thanks, glad you enjoyed my answers!

  8. I loved reading your answers and so glad to find another fan of Pablo Neruda. I think it was, Il Postino, which also triggered my love for his poetry.

  9. Hi Bookgirl!

    Thanks. Cool that Il Postino made a Neruda fan out of you, also!! I was just thinking I'm going to have to watch Il Postino, again. But, I'm already in a teary mood and I remember it was a heart-tugger. . . hmm, might wait till later in the weekend. But, it's such a wonderful movie.

    Have you done the poetry meme? I'm behind on my blog-hopping. This has been a heck of a week. I'm praying next week will be a little more calm. :)

  10. Hi. Great you quoted that not-too-well moving "To the Dead Man" poem. For Neruda with Spanish may I suggest my bilingual Essential Neruda--and to check out my site:

    mark eisner

  11. Mark,

    I'll look it up, thanks. :)

    I really need to just find a way to learn Spanish. We have a fast-growing Hispanic population. I've read that people who speak Spanish for translating and teaching purposes are desperately needed in the area. To be able to read Neruda in Spanish and help our new residents would be wonderful.

  12. Second note to Mark!

    Wow! That is a beautiful book cover, Mark! Next time I find myself in a real bookstore (we're down to one very small store, here), I'll look for it!

  13. Anonymous12:16 PM

    There's a girl in my book club who recites a LOOOOOOOOONG poem to us at the begining of the meeting. It's pretty amazing that she takes the time to recopy them hundreds and hundres of times before she gets it. My poetry reading comes from her... I try and feed her some pop fiction since she is a Book Nazi but hell the world ain't perfectly round.

  14. Nessie,

    That sounds really fun, having someone recite at your book club! There aren't any book clubs in my area, although occasionally someone will start one up and it quickly fizzles.

    Book Nazi? Does that mean she reads a lot?

  15. Anonymous6:28 PM

    So interesting about the real Jack Horner. Thanks for the comment! You're so right! I just checked my book list to see when I last read some chunksters and it turns out that I read War and Peace in 2002 and Middlemarch when I was still pregnant with my first. My book reading dropped significantly after summer 2004. :) Just when I'm getting into the swing of reading more, here comes another one in March! We'll see if I'm still able to blog post anymore after that.

  16. Camille,

    I like your blog and very selfishly hope that you'll be able to keep posting. Best wishes balancing things with the new youngster. They take a lot of time but they're worth every minute. :)


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