“Poetry allows for us to lead first with the heart.” –Eve Ewing
If you don’t read poetry often and are curious to read more, Electric Arches is a great place to start. Eve L. Ewing, Chicago essayist and poet, frankly explores contemporary society, sprinkling a little magical what-if into stark reality. The structure and tone vary greatly from poem-to-poem, resulting in a rounded picture of Ewing’s life and heart as she opens the door into her experience as a black girl and woman. An extra bonus for those familiar with Chicago are the references Ewing makes to this city she has grown up in, painting pictures of places impactful to her, such as Logan Square and Fullerton Avenue.
Ever wonder what Walt Whitman’s voice sounded like? Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein, Jack Kerouac, Sylvia Plath, or e.e. cummings? In Their Own Voices: A Century of Recorded Poetry invites us to be ear-witnesses to history and art in its purest form. This collection of distinguished poets reading well-known works bares inflection, meaning, and musicality of crafted phrase.
These days we might prefer professionally-trained narrators and seamless productions, but there is illumination to be found in hearing even familiar lines read in the voices of those who dreamed them into existence. Celebrate the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month by listening to the natural cadences of William Butler Yeats, Dylan Thomas, Maya Angelou, and a host of other extraordinary voices.
Over the past forty years, Mary Oliver has accumulated praise and awards for her poetry and prose, including a Pulitzer Prize. Her recent collection of poems, Blue Horses, builds upon her previous explorations of nature and spiritual considerations. Observations about her surroundings twist into keen insights of what it means to live on earth and what she yearns for. Strong imagery pierces through Oliver’s unassuming conversational tone, turning nameless feelings into something tangible as she grapples with how she fits in the world. “I’m not trying to be wise, that would be foolish,” she writes. “I’m just chattering.” Whether intentional or not, Oliver exudes wisdom, as she meditates on the material world and beyond.
April is National Poetry Month! Stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk on the second floor or email email@example.com to help you find poetry, prose, and everything in between.
Spring — finally! — and with it, a renewed appreciation for beauty and promise. Tickle your eyes and ears with the soul-stirring Sound the Deep Waters: Women’s Romantic Poetry in the Victorian Age. Editor Pamela Norris has collected verse from both familiar wordsmiths (the Brontë sisters, Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti) and those equally deserving but less renown. Each poem in this slim keepsake volume is mirrored in a lush illustration of Pre-Raphaelite painting. Grouped into timeless themes which celebrate the loves, delights, dreams, and sorrows of life, the lyrical phrases speak to kindred spirits as well as to quiet contemplation. Snuggle into a window seat and discover modern truths in classic words and vibrant portraits.