This month, we’ve been reading Megan Willome’s The Joy of Poetry: How to Keep, Save and Make Your Life With Poems together as a community. Throughout our time, you’ve been sharing your own stories as Megan’s story and poems encouraged you to reach into them. You’ve written poems in your notebooks (and the comment box), you’ve started to keep a poetry journal, and some of you have even found a Poetry Buddy to share poems with.
We’ve decided we want to extend the joy of The Joy of Poetry Book Club comment box a little bit longer, and we’re inviting YOU to be our Poetry Buddy. Each Wednesday for the next three weeks, we’ll feature a recent selection from Every Day Poems and share around it together. This week, let’s look at a poem by Anna Akhmatova we featured a few weeks ago:
Although this land is not my own,
I will remember its inland sea
and the waters that are so cold
the sand as white
as old bones, the pine trees
strangely red where the sun comes down.
I cannot say if it is our love,
or the day, that is ending.
— Anna Akhmatova, from The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova
Now, flip to the end of The Joy of Poetry and read through Megan’s tips for How to Journal About a Poem. Here are the first three of her suggestions for those who don’t have the book handy (but do be sure to read the rest—they’re really terrific ideas):
How to Journal About a Poem (excerpt)
- Read the poem silently. Then, read it aloud. Maybe write it out.
- Now, for the journaling part. What did you think? Was there a phrase you liked? An image that captured your imagination? An amusing rhyme? An unexpected turn?
- Don’t worry about what the poem means—no one knows what it means, often not even the poet, so don’t worry about getting it right or wrong. Do you find meaning in the poem? Fabulous! Write it down.
And then? Well, then meet us in the comment box. Be our Poetry Buddy and share your thoughts and ask questions about Akhmatova’s “Departure.”
Check out our book club discussion of The Joy of Poetry
Photo by Paul Hudson, Creative Commons license via Flickr. Post by LW Lindquist.
Megan Willome’s The Joy of Poetry—part memoir, part poetry reflections, part anthology—takes readers on a journey to discovering poetry’s purpose, which is, delightfully, nothing. “Why poetry?” Willome asks. “You might as well ask, why chocolate?” Poetry reflects nothing more and nothing less than the pure joy of living, loving, and being, in all of its confusion and wonder. Willome’s book will gently guide you to read, write, and be a little more human through language’s mystery and joy.
—Tania Runyan, author of How to Read a Poem: Based on the Billy Collins Poem “Introduction to Poetry”