National Poetry Month has been a great success fro me. I managed to read thirteen small volumes of poetry this month, the most I've ever read in one month. They ranged from wonderful and inspiring to confusing and unexceptional. The first six volumes I reviewed here, here, and here. The last seven I highlight below with a note of what I liked/didn't like, something surprising, and, a favorite line or phrase from one of the poems.
Liked: This short volume of poetry was a wonderful farewell poem to a remarkable man how saved South Africa from apartheid without a war!
Disliked: I wanted more, it was so short. I wanted to sit with it longer than I did.
Surprised by: I had no idea that Mandela and Angelou were friends. Why would I? I wish I knew more about their friendship.
"No sun outlasts its sunset, but it will rise again and bring the dawn."
Liked: I love Mary Oliver's poems but I was especially delighted that this collection was full of new poems, most of her books are only about half full of new ones.
Disliked: Nothing. I liked it all.
Surprised by: This collection seemed more spiritual than I remember of other collections of hers.
"All things are inventions of holiness. Some more rascally than others."
Liked: I adored the first poem for which the book is named.
Disliked: There was little I could relate to in these poems. In fact I started to feel sorry for the poet as she seemed so lonely and almost addicted to bad men. Clearly I didn't understand most of the poems.
Surprised by: I had no idea who Lana Del Ray was until I looked her up after reading this collection. She is a singer/songwriter. This is her first poetry collection. (It makes me feel old to admit I have never heard of her before.)
"with the exuberance that only doing nothing can bring
waiting for the fireworks to begin
and in that moment
i decided to do nothing about everything
Liked: I could understand what was going on in each poem, some were even humorous.
Disliked: For the most part the collection seemed uninspired but upon closer inspection it was probably me who was uninspired when I read the poems, not the poems themselves. I laughed once or twice but groaned outwardly a few times, too.
Surprised: I was shocked to learn that the poet was a past Poet Laureate since I'd never heard of him before.
"My childhood. An old silent movie."
Liked: This collection of poems delved deeply into the impact racism has on people.
Disliked: The cover is terrible. It makes me want to fling the book away and I don't understand it at all.
Surprised by: Goodread reviews of this poetry collection were all 5s yet I had a hard time understanding most poems so I felt ripped off. I wanted a "5" experience with it, too, but mine was only a "3" experience. I'm guessing that my experience with this collection would have been improved if I heard these poems read out loud.
Concerning the death of Trayvon Martin...
Liked/Disliked: I found myself to be fairly neutral about every poem in this collection.
Surprised by: This is the first collection of Jane Hirshfield poems I've ever read and my expectations were high. My expectations and the experience didn't match, sadly.
"Bees do not question the sweetness of what sways beneath them."
Liked: I just like Oliver's poetry.
Disliked: Hmm. This is not my favorite collection of her poems but I can't put my finger on why.
Surprised: Her love for things that make my skin crawl, like snakes, often catches me by surprise.
The books denoted with * were part of grab-bag of books organized for me, upon request, from my public library. I requested small volumes of poetry and those books were a delight and a surprise for me.