There is no frigate like a book
to take us lands away,
nor any coursers like a page
of prancing poetry–
this traverse may the poorest take
without oppress of toll–
how frugal is the chariot
that bears a human soul.
Emily Dickinson is a poet that I had, until recently, written off as quaint but not my cup of tea. I think the reason it took me so long to be swayed by her work is that my exposure had been limited to the works that were commonly printed in anthologies and academic texts. I still dislike that fly buzz poem…
Poetry is easy to overlook and the first academic foray most students have into the subject is backwards. Although Shakespeare and Burns or Keats are important, the language can be off-putting to students who do not make a habit of reading. Why not introduce something modern like Sherman Alexie or Sharon Olds? Why not a tumble through Rita Dove or Russell Edson? Shouldn’t they all be clamoring for Sylvia Plath?
Maybe one day…