Billy Collins, Poet Laureate of the US from 2001-2003, wrote, “the problem with writing poetry is that it encourages the writing of more poetry.” I think something similar can be said about reading poetry. The more one reads, the more one wants to read---more poetry. Loving poetry is a prerequisite, of course, so if you’re not a fan, you should stop reading now.
Recently, I spent a Saturday morning searching the KPL collection for the perfect poem for a particular purpose. As I immersed myself in the task, time fell away, responsibilities faded, places to go and people to meet became inconsequential. Each poem led to another poem. Each collection of old favorites sparked memories of other old favorites. Books by remembered poets brought the discovery of new poets nearby on the shelf. I sat on the floor, surrounded by heaps of prospects. The distinctions between good poetry and better poetry got murkier by the minute. Everything appealed. I was completely stymied.
Subsequent to my foray into the stacks, I learned that KPL stocks over 3,000 poetry books. No wonder I struggled. As it turned out, the perfect poem, a gem by Billy Collins, Candle Hat, was suggested by a colleague. Her assistance reminded me that the treasures to be found in libraries include not only the vast array of books (and other materials) but also the awesome wisdom of librarians!
The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems