Penelope’s Poetry Parlor: May

Our theme for the library this year is What a Wonderful World, and to that end, we’re focusing on seeing the wonder in our world. Usually, every month at the desk, we have an article available for patrons to read and discuss with Julie, our library director, but this year, we’re handing out poems instead. Our trusty library goose is also helping us pen a monthly column that focuses on some of the gems in our poetry collection.

For May, our poem is Jenny Joseph’s “Warning.” Chances are you haven’t heard of English poet Jenny Joseph but have heard of “Warning,” her most famous poem. It’s a tribute to aging ungracefully and provided the inspiration behind the Red Hat Society’s pairing of red hats with purple outfits.

Ironically, though, Joseph herself came to resent how a poem she wrote early in her career (when she was in her late twenties) overshadowed all her later work. Though the poem inspired many readers, for its poet, it was just one of many poems. She was also most definitely not a fan of the color purple.

For the poetry book we’re highlighting for May, the situation is reversed. Our featured poet is a noted writer, but chances are, you are far more familiar with her prose fiction and nonfiction. In fact, you may not have known that she wrote poetry–I sure didn’t, and I’m a fan of her work.

The poet in question is Barbara Kingsolver. Though she released a poetry collection in the early 1990s, she is best known for her nonfiction and her iconic novels, such as The Poisonwood Bible. I first read that book about a decade ago, and it has stayed with me in ways that many other novels haven’t.

Her latest poetry collection–How to Fly (In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons)–was released last year. In it, Kingsolver gently toys with “how-to” formats to provide deeply personal reflections on everything from flying to praying to shearing sheep. The result is an enjoyable but accessible collection of poetry.

Who is your favorite poet? What’s your favorite poem? Do you ever write poetry? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information on this item or to place it on hold.

Author: berryvillelibrary

"Our library, our future"

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: