Poetry – It’s just not my cup of tea

PoetryPoetry is one of those things that I think I should like, (a bit like Opera) but I just can’t seem to quite get there.  Every now and then I try, I really do.  I keep waiting for the plot, or the punchline, or just some sense of understanding,  and each time I usually come away feeling that maybe I’m just not clever enough to really appreciate the nuances of verse?

So, with this rather checkered history I searched out website under Poetry.  There’s plenty here that could get me started I’m sure – but what will I like? What will enthuse me and find me wanting more?  I’m hoping that amongst our readers that someone will be able to suggest that gem that will find me trawling through the poetry section eagerly searching for more.

12 thoughts on “Poetry – It’s just not my cup of tea

  1. onederccl 13 July 2010 / 3:23 pm

    Give “Realia”, “Unfamiliar Legends of the Stars” and “On Beauty” by NZ poet Kate Camp a try. There’s a few goodies in there that you can enjoy without the deep thinking.

  2. Donna 13 July 2010 / 3:42 pm

    There’s a new book coming out which might be a good help 99 ways into New Zealand poetry by Paula Green and Harry Ricketts:
    “This book celebrates the richness and variety of New Zealand poetry offering over 75 key poems that showcase different aspects of the genre, as well as commentary from more than 20 poets about what inspired them to write specific works.”

  3. richard 13 July 2010 / 4:06 pm

    Opera is like a big fat slug of a novel – warbling on endlessly like an off-balance washing machine. Some poetry’s like that too – you have to find the stuff that strikes a chord with you and doesn’t wrinkle your trousers.

    My suggestion would be go and see some poets live – Ben Brown for instance.

    You might also like Joanna Preston.

    • Roberta Smith 13 July 2010 / 4:09 pm

      Is “doesn’t wrikle your….” poetry? Or am I lost already?

      • Roberta Smith 13 July 2010 / 4:10 pm

        OK, it’s called editing – I get it!

  4. Lynne 13 July 2010 / 5:45 pm

    I really like poetry (but have so far failed to get to grips with opera). You might like to try some New Zealand poets, Hone Tuwhare, Brian Turner, Lauris Edmond, and Sam Hunt. There are some good recordings of New Zealand poets reading their own works. For some soul-searing stuff, first world-war poets, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. Victorian poets can be OK, too. Try Edward Fitzgerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti. Just remember poetry is like a song without the music; you listen to poetry every time you listen to a song.

  5. Mo-mo 14 July 2010 / 12:50 pm

    I am, like you, largely unmoved by poetry but feel more warmly towards it when it’s read aloud by the poet.
    I recently saw poet laureate Cilla McQueen read a few of her poems. She was great and I found I very much enjoyed her and I really hadn’t expected to.
    The only poet, other than Shakespeare, who has consistently broken past my anti-poetry defenses is Pablo Neruda. But maybe I just like that you often get to see the spanish and english translations alongside each other.

  6. jane 14 July 2010 / 1:49 pm

    Yes, I think the live poet thing could be the answer. I did go to a poetry reading at the last Christchurch Readers and Writers festival and enjoyed that, somehow it all made a bit more sense. Thanks for the suggestions, I like the idea of the Harry Rickets book, if he can make cricket interesting (‘How to catch a cricket match’), then I am sure he could work wonders with poetry.

  7. Tom 14 July 2010 / 5:30 pm

    Glen Colquhoun writes poetry that is simple and elegant and easy to enjoy. I was lucky enough to hear him read some recently and he was great.

    • jane 27 July 2010 / 1:38 pm

      I heard him at the last Readers and Writers festival in Christchurch, and….Yes! I liked his poetry. There is hope for me after all.

  8. Nicole 19 July 2010 / 11:45 am

    Poetry seems to be one of those things where circumstances conspire for you to one day just ‘get it’. I saw a James K Baxter poem on a poster in Lyttelton library a few years ago and all of a sudden a penny dropped in my head and I realised how hollow that silly thing we say when we don’t get poetry sounds – it doesn’t even rhyme! Oops, O well better late than never. And as for opera, the prelude to rock music as we know it today…think about a big concert where a massive audience can hear it, knows the words and the performers, loves the visuals, can’t understand the actual individual words but that doesn’t matter…

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