SHIFT: April Check-In
Blasting You With Poetry: 2022: Week 4

Making . . . Something Different

If you follow along here, you may have noticed that on Wednesdays I usually write something . . . about something I've made or am in the process of making. It's usually knitting, but sometimes sewing or maybe stitching-ish; sometimes painting or art-ish.

Today? I'm going to show you something different I've "made."


Today, I'm going to show you the poetry collection I've created in my home library.
(Because Poetry Month. . . )

So those top three shelves in the photo above . . . show my entire little poetry library. It's been growing gradually but steadily over the years. I've purchased most of the volumes of poetry myself, although several have been gifts I've been pleased to receive over the years. The first poetry volume I ever purchased is this (now dog-eared) Robert Frost collection. 


That was back in college. It was not the first book in my collection, though. That would be this copy (photo below) of Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet. I loved Kahlil Gibran back in high school! So much that I checked this very copy out of my high school library - over and over again . . . 


and never checked it back in! That wasn't intentional. In all the hub-bub of graduation, I forgot I had it. The school never asked about it. And then I was gone. Now, The Prophet is the most guilt-filled volume of poetry in my collection! (My apologies to libraries everywhere.) I removed the cover and the glued-in pocket inside the front cover, but the evidence remains.


. . . and moving on . . . 

My personal poetry library is filled with all types of poetry volumes by a variety of poets. My favorites (Mary Oliver or Billy Collins, for example) fill a lot of space on my shelves. But my collection houses all kinds of new favorite poets, too.


During April each year, I try to purchase a few new volumes of poetry for my collection. I like to support books stores, poets, and poetry in general, and I think National Poetry Month is a perfect month to do that.

If you're interested in starting your own poetry collection, I suggest you start with a poet you already know you like . . . and build from there. If you don't have a specific poet you like, then maybe begin with an anthology instead. I think about it kind of like building a music collection . . . 

New works by a single poet . . . are kind of like record albums featuring new music by a musical group or individual. It's usually all "new stuff," created and designed to work together -- maybe to tell a story or support a specific theme. Mary Oliver's Blue Horses or Billy Collins' The Rain in Portugal are examples of volumes of new works.

A collection of poetry by a single poet . . . is like a "greatest hits" album from musical artists. These poetry collections usually contain favorite, more well-known poems by a single poet, and provide a great resource for a deep dive into a specific poet's work. Mary Oliver's Devotions is an example, as is Billy Collins' Aimless Love. Usually the word "collection" appears in the title or subtitle. (Sometimes, usually after a poet has passed away, you can find "complete collections" which include the entirety of their life's work.)

A poetry anthology . . . is like a Spotify playlist. Anthologies contain a variety of work from a variety of poets, usually curated by an editor around a specific theme or time frame. Anthologies are great places to begin a poetry collection, and a perfect place to discover poets you enjoy (and want to read more deeply). 


So. There you have it! A little poetry collection I've "made" for myself! 


How about you? Do you have a poetry collection of your own?

(And in case you care not a whit about poetry, I'll be back next week with the shawl I showed you last week. Because it finished, and blocking as I write.)


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I love this and I see several volumes I need to add to my collection! I did buy Ocean Vuong's new book this month and it is just so so good! It is a very welcome addition to my small, but growing, collection!

Thank you so much for sharing!


I do care a whit about poetry and have spent some time turning my laptop sideways and writing down titles of volumes that sound interesting! I try to borrow most of my books from the library, but poetry seems to be something that I am better off owning. Library poetry collections tend to be skimpy and often when I want to read poetry, I want to read it NOW. Thanks for sharing your shelves!


This librarian grants you clemency for stealing that poetry book from the high school library. And yes, that's within my powers. LOL. I have a handful of poetry books, Mary Oliver and Robert Frost and some anthologies, but nothing like your carefully curated and perfectly wonderful collection.


I am nurturing my interest in poetry so this has been a fun post but I am really curious about that stack of library books a few shelves down!


I have a nice collection of poetry books. Some of the books in my collection are old and belonged to my grand parents and great grand parents. The oldest is a collection the works of John Milton and dates back to 1840, but the print is so small I need a magnifying glass in order to read it. My parents and grandparents on both sides enjoyed poetry and I have fond memories of sitting on my grandfather's lap and listening to him read me a poem. I always begged for Longfellow because I liked his rhymes and I loved how The Wreck of the Hesperus would scare the bejeezus out of me! I cherish his Longfellow book that has been in my collection since he died over 50 years ago, along with my grandmother's beloved A Child's Garden of Verses, my father's collection of James Whitcomb Riley poems, and my mother's favorite, The Collected Works of Robert Frost...and I could go on and on! These are books I will never part with!
I saw many familiar titles on your shelves and several new to me titles and would love to peruse your collection!


Love this post Kym! I have the exact same Robert Frost book - one my parents gave me when I was in college. And The Prophet - I read that SO MUCH when I was in high school and college. I have quite a few poetry books scattered among different bookshelves in our house - some given to me by friends, some by my parents and also Colin, some inherited (both my parents were avid poetry readers and also used to recite poems to us). There are also a lot of poetry books on the bottom shelf of my nightstand (good thing there is a bottom shelf!!).


Oh my gosh, Kahlil Gibran! I have a few of his books... I can't imagine that I bought them, but I don't think I swiped them from the school library (I have other books that fit that description), so I'm thinking they were gifts. I loved Rod McKuen's poetry, too (though HATED his "singing"), and would copy them into notebooks... for some reason. And Susan Polis Schultz! I still have the Gibran & Schultz books... so I guess I DO have a poetry collection! haha. And, though not a poet, now I can't help but think of Leo Buscaglia, too!


I have a somewhat smaller collection than yours, but it is growing. I have the same Robert Frost collection, though mine is a paperback that is held together by clear packing tape (have I ever told you about my high school term paper on Frost?). Kiddo and I were talking about visiting our local bookstore on Saturday, and I think perhaps a volume or two of poetry might be a good thing to pick up!


I have a few poetry books most of them are for reading poems to my children so are largely anthologies. I do have a very poetry book that was my grandmothers I have no idea where it is in the house, it will be on a shelf somewhere I rarely it get it down to read. The other poetry books are used every week as I have read poetry to my children since they were little.


I enjoyed this post. I have a poetry collection myself - some of the same volumes you have collected and some that are different. I have the same Robert Frost book and I also have my copy of The Prophet. I have some poetry from local and Great Plains poets as that is an interest of mine. I never thought about which books are the oldest although perhaps The Prophet. Actually I have an anthology that belonged to my husband's mother.


Outlier here...I really don't care a whit! I do have a copy of The Oxford Book of American Verse that I took from Doug's grandmother's house. Maybe I'll give it a try one day!


That's a beautiful collection! and yay for finishing your SSP! (mine is still sitting untouched in its spot by the sofa ... I'm thinking I will pull it out "soon")


We have many of the same books on our shelves (no surprise). Some of my earliest purchases were Adrienne Rich (college), Rita Dove, Mary Oliver (of course). I need to do more poetry shopping on Independent Bookstore Day (Saturday).


I guess I had a tiny little poetry collection - despite myself - over the years. A mother-given Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (I still have it) and The Prophet (like any good college student) but which has fallen by the wayside just a few years ago. I think I thought I outgrew it. And a love of Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot which are on the shelf virtually. But not likely to ever make a real-life appearance unless a friend or loved one spontaneously (not prompted by me) gifts them to me. So I guess I do like poetry. A little.:). Chloe

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