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 June, our poem is Christina Rossetti’s “Color.” Rossetti was one of the most prominent women poets in Victorian England, second only to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. In fact, a popular critical pastime of the day was debating who was the better poet–Rossetti or Browning.
Rossetti herself came from a literary family. Her father, an Italian exile, was a poet, and 2 of her brothers–most notably Dante Gabriel Rossetti–were founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite art movement. Though she gets less attention than her more famous siblings, their sister Maria was also a writer.
Christina herself achieved literary fame early in life, with her first publications when she was only a teenager, and remained an active writer until she passed away in 1894.
Rossetti is still noted for the technical precision of her work, especially her use of meter.
Though their preferred medium for delivering their poetry may differ, Rossetti reminds me a bit of Sarah Kay, whose debut poetry collection is our featured work for June. Like Rossetti, literary fame came early to Kay, and she is also noted for the technical prowess of her verses.
Kay is especially known for her spoken word poetry, getting her start in poetry slams as a teenager before graduating to television appearances. Her 2014 debut collection No Matter The Wreckage includes her spoken word poetry, as well as poems written especially for publication.
We may often think of poetry as something one reads to oneself, but really, poetry is intended to be read aloud. Sarah Kay’s spoken word poetry preserves this tradition, and reading either her or Rossetti’s work aloud further underscores their technical mastery of the craft.
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.