Friday, May 8, 2009

Featured Book Friday: Poems Are Short!

This month, as I'm reading Good Poems edited by Garrison Keillor, I'm discovering yet another benefit of reading poetry, an obvious benefit that presumably everyone on earth already knows and I'm only just figuring out. It's this:

Poetry is short, and you can read a good poem in no time at all.

This is fortunate because I've had a remarkably busy week. My wife's birthday is this week. My anniversary is this week. Mothers' Day is this week. I'm in charge of a major community project this week. I've had meeting after meeting. I've been grading papers.

And yet, I've read a lot of poetry this week, but never in long, sustained stretches. Instead, I've read in snippets. I read a few poems in the 10-minute break between my classes. I read a bunch of poems while I was cycling at the gym. I read a poem while walking to class. I read a poem while waiting in line at the bank. I'm even contemplating reading poetry later today while I mow the lawn. I could just prop the book up of the lawnmower's handle and go at it. I'll bet it would work, and my neighbors already know I'm weird, so what would I lose?

In two minutes of down time -- in the time it takes to check your email or drop a bill in the mailbox or make yourself a sandwich -- you can read a good poem.

So, read this. It's one of the poems included in Good Poems. It'll take you about a minute to read, and it'll show you something beautiful.

And to those who say they're too busy to read, go get a copy of Good Poems and try carrying it around with you. If you do, you'll find a few minutes here and there to read -- maybe in the grocery store or at the dentist -- and before you know it, you'll have read dozens, maybe even hundreds, of beautiful poems.

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