The Secret Delight of Poetry


DSC_77491398541505.jpg(Amanda Voisard/For The Washington Post)

This week in anticipation of National Poetry Month the Washington Post published Garrison Keillor’s piece, “The Secret Delight of Poetry.” What a treat! His dry wit and wry sense of humor are evident in full force and it was an utter delight to read from start to finish. Here’s one small excerpt:

“This is the power of poetry. Poets get the girl.

Football heroes get concussions or need hip replacements. My classmates who played football are walking with canes and moaning when they sit down, and they find it hard to figure out the 10 percent tip at lunch. We poets go sashaying along, perpetually 17, lost in wonder at the ordinary, astonished by streetlights, in awe at lawn ornaments, bedazzled by baristas releasing steam into milk for the lattes.”

The man can write, can’t he? I’ve read that final phrase over and over–“bedazzled by baristas releasing steam…”  Ahhh…. There is also a more serious vein to his piece, though, hidden among the hyperbole.

“This is what you learn during Poetry Month. You may lose the vote, fall into debt, suffer illness and remorse, feel lost in the crowd, and yet there is in language, everyday language, a source of such sweet delight…”

This year, more than most, I’ve been reminded of the power of language, of words–the power to explain, the power to mislead, the power to divide and the power to unify. I’ve written to explore this new world we live in and to express my concern, my sorrow, my confusion and sometimes, my anger. I’ve written to share moments of joy and gratitude and to explore relationships and ideas. And sometimes I’ve written to experience the sheer beauty of playing with words and combining them in a new or unusual way. I’ve found solace and clarity in writing, and above all else, I’ve found community.

With this post I’m finishing the TWT Slice of Life Challenge: I’ve now blogged 31 days in a row.  I finish feeling enriched by participating and feeling incredibly thankful for online writing communities–places where I can join with others in a celebration of all the “sweet delights” of language, both poetic and prosaic.

If you’re interested in delighting in poetry, head on over to this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup hosted by the wonderful Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at her blog The Poem Farm. Take some time to browse through Amy’s rich home to all things poetic. You’re sure to come away delighted!

18 thoughts on “The Secret Delight of Poetry

  1. Congratulations on completing the Slice of Life Challenge, Molly! I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. Your dedication to writing, to teaching, to your students, to your family, inspires me.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amy Warntz says:

    I love how Keillor emphasizes that the poet focuses on the small, simple things. I often think of you and your “delightful distractions” from nature that summon you. How you take time to notice, capture, and write about those moments. I hope to be able to slow down and capture those poetic moments too. It appears that we are “too tough to kill” and we made it to the finish line again. Thanks for inviting me and thanks for inspiring me!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed this post immensely. I didn’t know that poem of Keillor’s and now I do. That man CAN write! And, I love how you think and consider in your writing. Keep going! See you in Poetry Month.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great final slice and I love how you ended with a poem from Garrison Keillor. I am a big fan of his and miss his Saturday night radio show, Prairie Home Companion. It just isn’t the same without him.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. karpenglish says:

    Great post! I love how you write about the power of language, in and out of poetry. I will look up the Garrison Keillor poem you quoted, because it has so many great lines. I love the one about poets being perpetually 17, in awe and amazement at everything around them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lindabaie says:

    Hi Molly, thank you for Garrison’s wonderful words. I’m at the end of the poetry peeps, and glad I waited. It’s a wonderful post to start April. Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What wonderful words! So very true – if you look at the world like a poet, constantly amazed, inspired, awed, you can find ways to weather life’s storms. It’s not that the bad times don’t phase you, you just know that through poetry, through writing, you always have a liferaft, you always have something to cling to!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for sharing these wise–and funny–words from Keillor. There is indeed power in poetry. May we weird it wisely.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. maryleehahn says:

    I loved Garrison Keillor’s piece. Especially “You see that uneven right margin and you think, “Oh boy, here we go again. Hallucinationville.””

    Liked by 1 person

  10. jarhartz says:

    Thank you for the link and your thoughts of the comfort words bring. So true.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s comforting to know that others also see so much in so little and get so excited by the smallest of things; thanks for sharing Garrison Keillor’s poem. Happy writing through the month of April

    Liked by 1 person

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