Do I Like Poetry Books? // A Reading Experiment

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I've never read a poetry collection. I mean I think all of those of us who went throught the U.S. Public School System read that Robert Frost poem about the road not taken about three times and that's about it. I've read some YA books in prose but never have I read a poetry collection... until now.

I've been wanting to try poetry for over two years now. I really a book called Why Poetry which had poems and acted like it was for people who wanted to start reading poetry but was too difficult to read and turned me off to poetry. Two years later I've decided to read three poetry books that sounded interesting and this is what I thought:

I chose to read Rupi Kaur's latest poetry collection because I knew she was popular and she piqued my interest. I've never read any poem by her and I know she is deemed more of a modern poet I guess you would say. 

Her poetry is definitely nothing like I expected. There are some pages with like two sentences and that's it. It's very accessible to the masses which is why I'm sure she's popular. There were a lot of uncomfortable things that she wrote about like having sex, being molested as a girl, and toxic relationships. She also writes about depression, anxiety, and being kind to yourself. A lot of the poetry was okay, others were uncomfortable and deeply personal, and there was one I liked titled a lifetime on the road. It was a poem about her father constantly working hard driving an eighteen-wheeler. He has to go to a hospital but won't go through surgery because he has to get the truck back within three days. He ends up getting the surgery but right after he leaves so he doesn't get in trouble at work. That poem was probably the longest. It goes into more about how unfairly he was treated. I think the long form poetry like that are more impactful.

Overall, I gave this a 3.5 out of 5 stars. I didn't take away many memorable poems with me and I didn't really care to read anything sexual or dealing with sexual violence but I still enjoyed my experience with the other poems.

Isn't this such a pretty cover? I chose What Kind of Woman because it promised to focus on being a woman and and how it was poetry you could share to your mother, daughter, sister, and friends. I mean I like girl power books so why not?

I will say right off the bat that I enjoyed this way more than Home Body. It was a shorter collection but the poetry never was like one sentence. There were some short ones but the pacing of all the variety of poems didn't feel off like it did with Home Body which I just think had too many poems. 

There were poems on guys being sexist towards women, rape, growing older, on friends, motherhood, being a wife, and some political poetry. I really don't like to read anything political whether I agree with it or not. I don't read books for that reason. However, I will say she had a few good ones that even if I don't like reading or talking about politics I felt like were great statements. Like there is one called Comment Section for Karen. She wrote it in such a clever way that basically said that a Karen might say to just stick to poetry instead of being political. She writes the poem in a way saying that the person who says that just wants her to disappear. Now, to tell someone not to say any of their political ideas is silly. I don't like talking about politics but I think everyone has a right to say and believe whatever they want. I also absolutely loved her poems on being a wife and a mother. There is one called On the Evening of Her Birth which is about the birth of her daughter and has an ending line of I am yours, I am yours, I am yours. It's wonderful. I also love the poem titled What Mothers Say. And the last poem called For My Daughter on a Bad Day.

This was my favorite poetry collection out of all three. There was nothing I recall being too graphic. It talked about being a woman, a wife, and a mother. The shorter amount of poems had more impact and they all went together well in their respected parts. Overall, I gave this 4 out of 5 stars.

Mustard, Milk, and Gin felt like what I expected poetry to be - confusing. Which I actually like. I think the point of poetry is to make you think. There are some things that I as a reader might interpret differently and not understand but that's the poet's art so I'm cool with it. This one also had poetry about sex, rape, a drug addict father, and depression. I couldn't tell if she was at sometimes religious, mad at, or mocking God. There was a fair amount of mentions of God. There are a few of her poems that were memorable. Jewel Tea which was her helping her mother make macaroni; Mark which was about the three Mark's in her life; and In the Room of My Depression which was my favorite. I got lost in that one. I also absolutely loved her poems on her sister and how they transitioned from poem to poem. 

Overall, I gave this 3.75 out of 5 stars. I don't like reading about sex so that's just me. There may have been poems that went a little over my head even if I appreciated the complexity in which she wrote them. There were also some really good ones in there too.


Do I Like Poetry Books?

I mean of course it depends on the poet and how they deliver the poem. It depends on my taste, if I connect with the poem, or if it can elicit anything in me. There were a lot of dark themes throughout most of if not all the books. I don't really want to read about rape or a girl getting molested but I understand that poetry is letting out all the feeling inside you. Presenting it to the world must be an exhausting process so I respect all the poets I read from. I was worried with Home Body that I wasn't going to like any of the other books since I really only took something away from one poem while I semi liked the others. I'm glad I branched out with different poets. I really enjoyed What Kind of Woman and I also liked Mustard, Milk, and Gin. So yes, I would say I like poetry books. 

This opens up a new genre of reading for me so that's exciting. I'll be making sure to check out the poetry section of the library from time to time to see if anything catches my eye.

Have you read any poetry collections?

What poetry books would you recommend?


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