The word poetry comes from the Greek word poiesis, which means a making. I don’t know about you, but the Greek word surprises me. A making makes me think of poetry as something more physical than mere words on a page. Maybe poetry is a craft then, the construction of a physical thing, more akin to knitting a sweater or throwing a pot, than other types of writing.
However you look at poetry, I’ve discovered that one of the best ways to enjoy poetry is to write poetry, and John Frederick Nims’ Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry is a great tool for prospective poets. This classic DIY poetry book examines the many aspects of poetry, from imagery to the sound devices of poetics, to help the reader both appreciate and write poetry. Each chapter comes complete with interesting prompts and thought provoking word experiments that are bound to get your creative juices flowing. Add to this poems from the greatest poets who have ever lived, from Sappho and King David to T. S. Eliot and Mary Oliver.
Check it out and try making some poems of your own.
The Library Cat Burns Bright by Nathan
The library cat burns bright
With tabby stripes
like Blake’s Tyger in the night.
When he’s not curled
On a heat vent
Beneath an overstuffed chair in fiction,
He catches the rats
Who would chew on spines
or keep books late
or scribble on pages
Or use them for handkerchiefs
Or other unspeakable acts of bibliocrime.
He knows where to find mice
According to both the Library of Congress
and Mr. Melvil Dewey
And once I saw him
Balance an atlas and three dictionaries
on the end of his raccoon tail.
If you are looking for books about ice cream,
Or books about symbols of falling in dreams,
Tomes about tabbies, or tigers or snow leopards
Or auto-bios penned by Caligula’s two headed kitten,
He couldn’t care less.
He’ll yawn and lick himself
and nap another long catnap
and leave you to search the stacks alone.
But if you want a reading companion
And your belly is nice and warm
And there is nothing better to do,
Or nothing to chase or nothing to eat,
The library cat will hop in your lap,
Knead your legs with his claws
Turn three times counter-clockwise,
And purr until the librarian calls
The last call for books and pours him a saucer of milk.