Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April showers and poetry

A funny thing about being on mat leave is that I have found myself becoming more in tune with the cycles of nature - I am not sure if this is so much about being off and being able to "watch" the changes, or a part of aging and just being more aware.

April has definitely been about showers bringing flowers... my tulips this year were beautiful, and we had lots of blooms in our gardens. I am not sure what I am going to plant in my plot this year - I am leaning towards corn and peas and some flowers, and I am hoping my strawberries do a little better than they did last year. They were bigger than their northern wild cousins, but not by much.

I have to admit my reading habits over the past year have been quite satisfactory. I am glad that I am ranging through new and different books, and that I am taking some "risks" at what I am willing to pick up and read. I just finished Gilbert's Committed and I must admit, I truly enjoyed the book. I was curious about it, but I was equally skeptical as well, especially since I didn't think Eat, Pray, Love was as much as all that. I found that I could relate to some of her thought processes, and how she made peace with her (second) marriage. I liked some of the research that she drew upon, and I also enjoyed the tribute she makes to Aunties everywhere. It wasn't the book I expected, and I am glad for it.

I also blitzed through Angelou's Letter to my Daughter. Parts of this book were sheer inspiration, and other parts left me a bit wanting. About Angelou, I too have been curious because we have all seen the emails that liberally quote some of her writings and reflect her philosophy. I didn't mind the earlier chapters that were more like vignettes with a bit of a life lesson, but the later chapters which were more poetry, I found I wanted more. I like novels, I am not as good at short stories. All in all, worth a bit of your time to reflect upon some of the experiences that reveal some of life's lessons to see how they resonate with you.

I find it a personal weirdness that I feel moved to write poetry and I have a hard time reading other people's poetry. Yet, that being said, there are some poems that have never left me.. Like John Donne's No Man is an Islande, or Leonard Cohen's You have the Lovers, and then I think of a few Frost's, and Coleridge, and even Rupert Brooke's WWI poetry... some Yeats, some Shakespeare... okay, maybe I am starting to show off my English Lit major stripes here. Perhaps I am on somewhat friendly terms with some poetry after all... but honestly, with much poetry I find that I go in to a skimming mode. Although there are some short stories that I have truly enjoyed, I will normally steer myself towards novels.

Now I have embarked on yet another biography. I think I have read more non-fiction in the last year than I have in the last ten. This is one I would never have expected to pick up, nor would I have expected it to hook me within the first paragraph. I am reading Open, Agassi's autobiography. I was completely skeptical when I first picked it up (a friend loaned it to me, telling me that it was a surprisingly good read that I must try) but it is a helluva story. I am only about 50 pages in, but it has been eye opening and it comes off as very honest. Agassi's voice has been surprising so far, how he relates his younger years, his fearful father, and his hatred of tennis (although I would say it balances a bit on a love/hate slider). Will be interesting to see where this one ends up.

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