Lindsey Krabbenhoft is a children’s librarian in Canada and one half of the duo behind the ever-popular Jbrary. When she isn’t working in the library or sharing insights at Jbrary, Lindsey can often be found sharing poetry on Twitter with #flashpoetry and Poetry DeathMatch or matching readers with poems at her site A Poem for a Feeling.
I’ve been lucky enough to get to know Lindsey through Twitter in the past year and as I began planning for Poetically Speaking 2016, she was one of the first people I knew I wanted to feature as a contributor.
Lindsey is talking about when she developed a love of poetry (especially love poems) and what she does to share poetry with the world.
Poetry’s been with me my whole life. My mom tells me that when I was a child I would sit and listen to nursery rhymes and children’s poetry for as long as she would read. Always one to encourage a love of reading, she bought me a copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein when I was 8, and I fell in love right then and there. By age 9 I was parading around the house reciting “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout” and enlisting the listening ears of my younger sister.
By the time high school hit, I was one of the few people who didn’t let out a groan when we read poems in our Language Arts courses. Though there was a fair amount of what I call “beating the love of poetry out of people by asking them what a poem means,” it didn’t deter me. Instead, I focused on poems I liked even if I had no clue what they meant. In fact, it was during high school that I created a poetry journal. Filled with my favourite poems, songs, and a few writings of my own, I decorated the pages with pressed flowers and pictures from magazines. When I was 18 the journal completely filled up and it was no surprise to anyone that I decided to major in English Literature when I headed to university that fall.
I fell in love with love poetry my junior year at college when I took a course called Love and Desire in Contemporary American Poetry. We studied male and female portraits of desire, erotic poetry, romantic poetry, LGBTQ poetry, and love poems in translation. I was pleasantly shocked by the honesty in the poems I read. More than that, I learned things from those poems – about people’s lived experiences and observations. One of my favourite poems I read in that class is homage to my hips by Lucille Clifton:
these hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top!
To this day, I’m an avid reader of poetry, love poetry in particular, though I think of love as multidimensional. There’s desire, romance, that giddiness of new love – but there’s also loss, heartbreak, and surprise. We love suddenly, tentatively, nearly, passionately, incurably, regretfully. Poems provide the best expression of these feelings. If you’re looking for an outstanding collection of love poems I highly recommend Penguin’s Poems for Love selected by Laura Barber and She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems selected by Caroline Kennedy.
Recently, I’ve started to share poems via social media. It began when I created something on Twitter called #flashpoetry. If you favourite one of my tweets within a given time period then I’ll send you a poem. The goal is to give people a poetry boost during the day when they might least expect it. Periodically I also run #poetrydeathmatch which pits two poems against each other, letting my Twitter friends vote for their favourite one. This is a fun experiment for me because not only do I have to search for two poems on a common theme, but I also love seeing which one people favour. Lastly, I created a website called A Poem for a Feeling. Enter a feeling and I’ll send you a poem based on that feeling. My friends call me their Poetry Fairy Godmother and it’s a title I cherish.
Poetry for me is about feeling. How different people take words and arrange them in a way that makes my heart beat faster. How seeing a particular phrase makes tears spring to my eyes. It is the utter joy of the unexpected in language that reels me in time and again.
Thank you Miss Print for letting me share my love of poetry with others!
Thank you to Lindsey for this fabulous post! I hope you all try her Poem for a Feeling site!
If you want to hear more from Lindsey you can find her on: