Kayla has been blogging at The Thousand Lives since 2013. You might recognize her blog for her Saturated Reads feature of the Contemporary Conversations series she co-hosted this March.
Kayla is here today to talk about four of her favorite poems and why she loves them.
You know those books you read? The ones that really stick with you for ever and ever? Well sometimes that happens with poems too! It doesn’t happen often for me, but there are four that have really stuck with me for years. Today (many thanks to Emma for inviting me onto her blog), I wanted to showcase these poems and share them all with you.
1) “Hope is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson. This has been one of my long-standing favorites; though anything by Dickinson is probably going to be one that I really enjoy. I even bought the bind-up of all her poetry from the Barnes and Noble collection, and someday I’ll get to read them all. Still working on that bit.
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
Where did I first hear it? I think it was from one of the end quotes they use in episodes of Criminal Minds; I know for sure it was spoken by JJ, though I’m not sure which episode. I just remember hearing the first line and just knowing that I loved the poem.
Why do I love it? Well, Hope is such a strange concept to explain. I’ve discovered that I’m a very sensory person, so to put Hope in the context of soaring like a bird, despite the storms, was something with which I immediately connected.
2) “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe. In my General Literature class, we always do a month long segment on poetry, and we take turns reading the poems aloud. When it gets to Annabel Lee, I always make sure I’m the one to read it. Selfish teacher, I know, but hey – it’s a long-standing favorite and I’d never pass up the chance to read it again!
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee
Where did I first hear it? Holes! Yep, that’s right. Louis Sachar’s novel-turned-movie.I can still hear Sam’s voice as he recites it with Kate (and of course, he can fix that) – SAWOON.
Why do I love it? First of all, it’s in anapestic meter, which happens to be my favorite due to the wave-like quality and the cadence it gives a poem. And of course, the waviness only intensifies the imagery Poe writes about in his poem. So despite the ultimately gloomy story it tells, Annabel Lee has that gentleness and caressing feeling that emphasizes the romance between Annabel Lee and her lover.
3) “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth. Besides the fact that I continuously make the mistake of typing Walt Whitman when I mean William Wordsworth, this is one that I don’t often bring up when I think poetry, but nevertheless it’s still a fave. By the way – I really don’t like Walt Whitman. Sorry peeps.
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.<
Where did I first hear it? During my freshman literature class (thank you mom!).
Why do I love it? The entire poem is so soft and floaty, and with the rhymes it all binds together so well. Not to mention the fact that I love yellow flowers (sunflowers, daffodils, daisies – yellow centers, but still), so that’s just a personal bonus. Ultimately the message is the best part – appreciate the small moments, and hold on to them when you find yourself struggling.
4) “To This Day” by Shane Koyczan. This is the only spoken word poem that I’ve ever truly connected with, as I tend to lean toward metered and rhyming poetry. But this poem… it changed my life. I might even venture to say that it helped me fight for my life. I’ve memorized the words and music that goes with all nearly-seven minutes, and sometimes I recite it in my head when I find my thoughts wandering into places they shouldn’t be.
but I want to tell them
that all of this
is just debris
leftover when we finally decide to smash all the things we thought
we used to be
and if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself
get a better mirror
look a little closer
stare a little longer
because there’s something inside you
that made you keep trying
despite everyone who told you to quit
you built a cast around your broken heart
and signed it yourself you signed it
‘they were wrong’
Where did I first hear it? February of 2013, on Tumblr. Best link I’ve ever clicked!
Why do I love it? I know it’s written mostly about bullying, and while I did experience that as I tried to pursue my bachelor’s degree in HS (for some reason people don’t like this?), I had this epiphany that my biggest bully was myself, and I needed to break past that. 2013 was a crap year, and it’s surreal to think that this was more than two years ago now, and to see how much has changed! The quote I put up there is the part that resonates the most with me, but really it’s the entirety of the poem from that stanza onward.
So there they are! I have many more, but I figure you don’t want to read 3K words about my favorite poems. I hope you take the time to read them in full, or in the case of “To This Day” listen to it and see the artwork that so many people took the time to contribute.
Thanks again to Emma for including me; I had so much fun writing this post!
Thank you to Kayla for this great post which introduced me to some new poems and reminded me of some favorites (Annabel Lee)!
If you want to see more of her writing, be sure to check out her blog: http://thethousandlives.com