None. Of. The. Poetry.

This past week I decided I’m abandoning the Poetry Reading Challenge 2020.

The option I chose was to receive a poem via email from the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-day Project and to pick out and write about my favorite poems from one week a month here on the blog. Then not only did I double down on the challenge, to do it each week, but also I tripled down to add listening to a poetry podcast The Slowdown by Tracy K. Smith, the former Poet Laureate of the United States and including those poems in the mix of ones from which I’d choose my favorites. 

After only two weeks of trying this, I’ve learned that neither poetry resource is going to work for me. It seems with both, that every poem, or at least every other poem, is as depressing as f***. Right now, with some stresses at work that I am dealing with, or really maybe…EVER, I don’t need that. 

I also want to refocus my reading efforts on the two fronts I already was working:

  • With fiction, to get back to “old school” detective fiction, such as Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe.
  • With nonfiction, to return to reading Taylor Branch’s America in the King Years trilogy.

To those ends, this weekend I want to continue my reading of the Sherlock Holmes canon and the eighth Nero Wolfe novel, Where There’s A Will. I also want to continue reading Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65, the second in the series, that I began a few weeks ago. 

While I only read four Sherlock Holmes short stories earlier in the week, I enjoyed reading them. With Doyle, it is not as much about the mystery as it is about how Holmes learns of the mystery and what he does or doesn’t do once he has solved the mystery. In that regard, he is much like Hercule Poirot that he allows circumstances to happen, sometimes to the detriment of others, making himself the judge, jury and sometimes executioner. I look forward to reading some more this weekend and during the upcoming week.

This doesn’t mean that I am abandoning poetry altogether. I would like to circle back to poetry in April for National Poetry Month, but on my own terms. I just have to face the fact that I am not good at long-term reading challenges with others. When I give myself reading challenges, I am mostly fine. For April, I think I will leave things more open to wherever “the spirit moves me” than saying that I will limit my poetry reading to x, y, or z.

This weekend, though, I am refocusing on older detective fiction and civil rights history. Wish me luck.

Update: Saturday was a bust for reading, but some Saturdays are like that as I just like to get out of town and go somewhere for lunch. Yesterday was such a day. I start Sunday with higher hopes, but am beginning first by reading other Sunday Salon posts and other posts from throughout the week. Among the posts are a return by Florinda of the blog The 3 R’s: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness and a celebration of 8 years of blogging by Karen of Booker Talk.

Speaking of x numbers of blogging, I just received a notification yesterday from WordPress.com that I have been with them for 12 years. While I think I have been blogging on and off, mostly on, for 15 years, I joined WordPress.com 12 years ago. As I have off this coming week on Wednesday and Friday, I will try to write up a post about 12 years of blogging that I will share next week.

34 thoughts on “None. Of. The. Poetry.

  1. I think it is good to recognise when something is not working for us and pull the pin early rather than continuing to struggle through!
    Happy blogiversary!

  2. I recall reading Taylor Branch’s first volume of the King years long ago. I almost need to read it again before going on to Vol. 2. I hope you are enjoying it.

  3. You know I’m totally in favor of doing things your own way! I used to try to force myself to read poetry, and in doing so, I did find one set of poems that I enjoyed…but that was it. I’m just not a poetry reader. And I’m okay with that.

  4. Congratulations on your WordPress anniversary!

    When things get rough at work, I almost always find I need to put aside previous commitments and do something that can help me ride the chaos. I put down a lot of books because I’ll never finish them if I stayed with them.

    I’d love to read the Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and Sherlock Holmes canons some day! But I almost feel like I would appreciate a Where to Start? and How to Read? type of guide. We’ll see if I can get hold of something like that.

  5. Happy 12th blogging anniversary!

    I find myself having the same issue with reading challenges. I love them, and I want to join more of them, but I mostly don’t end up finishing them. I recently joined The Classics Club, but that one is more self-paced and self-guided, so it should be something I can do!

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