Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February Firsts: Serena - For the Love of Poetry

Today, please welcome Serena, from Savvy Verse & Wit, and Poetic Book Tours!



For the Love of Poetry
By: Serena M. Agusto-Cox

Reading is most often a family affair.  Families sit together, curled under blankets with open books.  Young kids are read to, on an almost nightly basis, and kids are reading to their parents as they age.  My own parents may have read, but I never saw it as a kid.  Now, looking back, I wonder how I’ve become the reader I am, not to mention a great lover of poetry, a form many readers are fearful of trying in the first place.

I suppose it was my Nana, my homework sounding board, who introduced me to the classics, like Shakespeare, Mark Twain, and Gaston Leroux.  She was a petite woman, who would quietly steer you in the right direction, and her gentle nudging was almost imperceptible.  The first collection of poems she gave me, Best Loved Poems to Read Again & Again compiled by Mary Sanford Laurence, came on Valentine’s Day.  I was 15 and had been writing my own poems since age 12.  Nana had been the only one who knew.

It’s a great starter collection of poems, including some of the greats from Percy Bysshe Shelley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Oscar Wilde.  Imagine reading these poems as a teen, reading how the fountains and rivers mingle in Shelley’s “Love’s Philosophy.”  I remember reading this poem, which is in the “Affection” section of the book, and thinking how everything in the world is connected!  And even though it’s all connected, there are still differences that make the world and us stand out – the mountains are tall and the rivers are winding.  And yet, while this poem appears to be about affection, it also presents a desire to be loved, and don’t we all want that?

I still have this great collection. It sits on the top shelf of my poetry cabinet.  I still have all the little scraps of paper stuck in the pages of poems that I love.  I’ve never removed them, even as I return to the book and read the poems again and again. 


It is the book that first introduced me to Byron and Blake, propelling me to search for books that contained their other poems.  Many of these poems I bookmarked as a lovesick teen, I now find them sappy.  But they still hold a warm place in my heart because of who gave me the book.


The collection may be without its dust jacket, thanks to several moves after leaving my parents’ house behind after college, but it is in well-preserved condition.  Where does that love of poetry begin?  It begins in the first poem you read and connect with – maybe because someone you love gave you the poem, or maybe because it reminds you of someone you love.  It doesn’t matter where the love of poetry begins, but that it does.



Thank you for sharing, Serena!

Please leave Serena a comment below!

16 comments :

  1. I still haven't found my calling with poetry. Maybe one day!

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    1. You just need to find the write collection...what kinds of books are your favorites? Start there, and then look for poetry that has a similar subject matter, genre, and style.

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  2. I remember going to one of those Scholastic book fairs in 6th grade, and being laughed at for buying two poetry books - a collection and one by Robert Frost. Since I don't remember particularly loving poetry before then, it's a puzzle - why did I chose those books ? Some good angel pushed them into my hand, I'm sure ...

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    1. Perhaps that is the case! I picked Nancy Drew at those book fairs.

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  3. I find I don't like modern poetry much but I have my absolute favorite poets and I could read their stuff over and over and over again. But I don't have them in my home library. This needs to be corrected.

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    1. You'll have to start picking up some books for the shelves!

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  4. Great post, Serena! I enjoyed reading it and getting to know more about you. :)

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    1. Thanks, Melody, for stopping by to read it.

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  5. Lovely post, Serena! That book from your Nana is a very special one (and the photo is priceless).

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  6. I used to read so much poetry, collecting my favorites just like you, but for some reason I don't read it as much anymore. I really should get back to it.

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  7. I don't read much poetry anymore, except for the Emily Dickinson collection my father bought me years and years ago when we went outlet shopping in NH. I have tons of stickies in that book, and I revisit those favorite poems from time to time. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I have a collection with a ton of sticky notes in it, too.

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  8. I struggle a lot with poetry and theater. But I will keep on trying!! Thank you for your post Serena!

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    1. Thanks. If you ever need recommendations, let me know.

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