I’ve been a very lucky girl this month and have been presented with free copies of poetry collections. This is my third for August and it just keeps getting better. I’m never very good at remembering to read poetry but I do have a deep-seated love for all things poetic. Admittedly, most of my favourite poets are long dead but that shouldn’t be a bad thing. Poetry has evolved over the last few years but that doesn’t mean we have to turn our backs on tradition. I haven’t had the best relationship with contemporary poetry but there are still poets out there who are doing excited things. All I need to do is find them and the only way that I’m going to do that is by reading more. It won’t always work out well but nothing in life will ever be perfect.
As I said in my review last Monday, I always like doing what I can to help writers promote their work. A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by a couple of poets via Instagram offering me the chance to read their latest poetry collections. As someone who is always trying to read more contemporary poetry, I readily agreed. This Sunday, after having a small issue with Amazon, I sat down to read The Daylight Plays Tricks on Us by Julieanne Hoffmann. I hadn’t planned to finish it in one go but that’s exactly what happened.
I have been blogging for almost 10 years now and, when I started, I had no intention of getting anything from it. Okay, maybe I had a ridiculous and kind of mad dream that I would be offered a job as a film critic but I knew that would never happen. Mostly because life isn’t like a Netflix Christmas film. Mostly because there are plenty of people who were actively working towards getting a career in journalism who deserved it more. The point is, I wasn’t expecting to get anything from it. The idea of getting free books hadn’t even crossed my mind. So, when I started being approached by writers with the offer of a free copy in exchange for a review, I was flattered. I also enjoyed getting the chance to help out. We all know that the publishing industry is pretty rubbish and extremely biased. I like getting the chance to help self-published writers. This weekend, I was offered the chance to read the new poetry collection by Danielle Holian. I’m always trying to expand my poetry horizons after all.
One of the best thing about being a book blogger is that you often get the chance to read things you would normally have missed. Has Samiksha Tulika Ransom not messaged me on Instagram, then I might not have known this anthology existed. When I checked out the anthology, it sounded like exactly the kind of thing that I should be reading. I know I say it every time I review poetry but I don’t read enough poetry. Even though I studied the Romantic poets at university, I am still a little intimidated by poetry. I have much respect for anyone who writes it. I wouldn’t have confidence in myself. And if I did, I’d definitely never try and deal with such important themes.
You know I love books. I’ve been photographing books since 2014. It’s my weird little hobby. It gives me something to do with my spare time at least. So, when this week’s Creatively Squared challenge was #cs_thelifeofpages I was beyond pleased. But then I decided I couldn’t spend the week just doing what I normally did. What would be the point? These challenges are supposed to be a way to improve my skills and help me become a better content creator. And, as my engagement is proving, it’s probably something that needs work! So, I decided to try and have a play with Photoshop. Something that I’m trying to practice with a bit more. I’ve still only got basic skills but I think I did okay.
Poetry. It’s something I love but don’t often read these days. I blather on and on about my university days when I read Romantic poetry all the frigging time but I’m 30 now. As much as I don’t want to admit it, it’s been a while since I finished my degree and I’ve kind of lost my way with poetry. So, I’m always trying to get back into it. Obviously, I have my favourite Romantic poets and have a certain fondness for the greats. I’m talking Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Yeats, TS Eliot etc. TS Eliot’s Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock is one of my favourite ever works of poetry. It shares the top spot with The Rime of the Ancient Mariner but I’ve discussed this before. My issue is contemporary poetry. I guess the closest I get to really loving contemporary poetry is the work of First World War poets. So, you know, not at all contemporary. It’s not that I hate it; I just don’t have the same love for it. Recently I’ve been trying to push myself to read more. It was this quest that got me to pick up Rupi Kaur’s collection Milk and Honey and Amanda Lovelace’s the princess saves herself in this one. Both collections were ones I’d seen praised all over social media and the internet as a whole. I expected to be blown away. I wasn’t.
I have always considered myself to be something of a poetry fan. After all, I spent as much time as possible at university studying the poetry of the Romantic period. I’m a massive fan of the work of Byron and Shelley. T.S Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” shares the title of my favourite poem along with ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. If anyone were to ask me, I’d confidently say that I was a poetry buff. However, the more I think about it the more I realise that this isn’t exactly true. Or, at least, not anymore. As anyone who reads my weekly rundowns will know, I’m not exactly great at reading novels let alone anything else. Every so often I will become a bit too self-aware and realise my inadequacies as a reader. Last year I decided I needed to read more non-fiction so bought some interesting books. I still haven’t read them. Every time the Man Booker International lists comes out I feel a pang of guilt for not reading enough foreign literature so I buy a few of the books or add them to my Amazon cart and promptly ignore them forever. I have so many books to read that it just becomes struggle to fit it all in. But poetry is something I figure I can embrace again and still manage to keep going with my normal reading. After all, a few poems here and there aren’t going to distract me too much. And there’s a whole world of contemporary poetry just waiting for me to explore. So that’s what I’ve been trying to do.