Monday, March 28, 2011

First Loves in Poetry

I just read an article by Billy Collins about his "first love" of poems on the Poetry Society of America's website.  Billy Collins writes that John Donne's "The Flea" was the poem to ignite his love affair with poetry, to stimulate "...the first symptom of what was to develop into a chronic love sickness for poetry."

For me, the first poem to "turn me green" as Collins would say was Sylvia Plath's "Daddy."  At that time in my life, the suffocating sense of the poem was something I could easily relate to.  I had to read the poem for a college class and upon first read, kept going back and rereading the previous stanza.  I read it repeatedly that night and like Billy Collins, still have that very book on my bookshelf complete with my lines and squiggles to highlight my favorite lines along with notes about how the poem made me feel.  I chose this poem to recite for the class at the end of the semester.  From then on, I was hooked.  From then on, I looked to any poem that fell into my hands as a treasure to help me to understand myself, process my feelings, and interpret the world.

With what did you begin your love affair?


  1. I mostly read mystic poets from india. One or the best are Guru Nanak and Kabir. I am still falling in love with contemporary American poets. I really like Fleda Brown and Robert Hass because of her poetry and her teaching.

  2. Hi Shiv, there are lots of poets to fall in love with. :) I just read some Kabir poetry a couple of weeks ago! Any others you would suggest?

    Hope you have a great day, Andrea