Even though we are facing hard times, this also gives us a chance to reflect and try new things. It is also an excellent time to read! When I attended my undergrad, I studied English and fell in love with authors I have either never heard of or had the opportunity to learn their work. I will highlight a poem from each of the listed books, which are available on Hoopla.
Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” from the book The Road Not Taken and Other Selected Poems is a classic poem about straying from the path and gaining experience that you would have never had if you didn’t try in the first place. It is a beautiful message about growth, that will never grow old itself.
William Butler Yeats or WB Yeats was an Irish poet who rose to fame towards the end of the 1800s. His poem, “When You Are Old” ( Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats), maybe one of the most famous love poems ever written, and that is even including Shakespeare! “When You Are Old” is thought to be addressed to his long term infatuation, the revolutionary Maud Gonne. She refused his proposals many times, and later married his wife Georgiana Hyde-Lees in 1917, 24 years after this poem was written.
The speaker of the poem instructs the protagonist to read this specific poem when she is “.. old and gray and full of sleep” (line 1). The speaker prompts the main focus to look back on her youthful days when she was loved by her beauty and wit, but those people will leave her when she grows old. Except for the narrator (Yeats), who professes, “But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, | and loved the sorrows of your changing face” (lines 7-8). Yeats is saying that you meet people and can make loving relationships with them, but they fade away, except for the one who loves the soul and not just how you look. I enjoy this message, and it is so beautifully worded.
Emily Dickinson is known as one of the most famous poets of all time. She is not only witty with her words but with her metaphors. Hoopla has The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson on Hoopla. One of her most well-known pieces is, “ “Hope is a thing with wings.”
Posthumously published in 1891, “Hope is a thing with wings,” is making the word and feeling of hopefulness a bird that everyone has nesting inside of them. She adds an emphasis on how we are hopeful for ourselves and each other, but it is never a selfish act by noting at the very end, “yet, never in Extremity, it asked a crumb of me,” (lines 11-12), a very thoughtful line, just like her other works.
I could list pieces of writing for hours, but what good does it bore you with my ideas of what color could symbolize in an author’s piece? I highly encourage you to listen to these Ebooks, they are amazing, and if I listed someone you are not a fan of, don’t worry, Hoopla also has 101 Great American Poems.
I want to take a moment to say stay safe out there and enjoy these pieces of literature as I have. I look forward to the day you and I can share our thoughts on poetry!