Summer Poetry Challenge

I know I said I wouldn’t join anymore reading challenges, and I’ve backed out of most of the challenges I’ve joined, but I actually felt that this challenge was one that I couldn’t turn my back on.  It’s a poetry reading challenge, sponsored by Ted at BookeyWookey.  For an expanded version of the rules, click here.

Basically, I need to choose four poems to read and then post the poems and/or my thoughts about them for one week, starting August 1st. Here are the criteria:
  1. One poem pre-1900
  2. One poem 1900-2000
  3. One poem 2000-2007
  4. One poem from any period that I am intimidated by, find mysterious, or simply don’t understand.
I find this challenge truly compelling because I don’t read much poetry (despite the fact that I have a decent amount of it on my shelves).  So here are my early thoughts of poems:
  1. Pre-1900: Dante’s The Inferno
  2. 1900-2000: Something by Osip Mandelstam (Perhaps: “To the German Language,” 1932).
  3. 2000-2007: “Early Hour,” by Wislawa Szymborska, in Monologue of a Dog: New Poems, 2006.
  4. Any Period: “For My Enemies” by Boris Pasternak because I’ve only read Pasternak’s prose, so his poetry is something of a “mystery” for me.
I’ve noticed that all of the poems I’ve chosen had to be translated, something I find interesting given the fact that June is the month for Reading the World.  Translating poetry is a far different beast than prose, so I might take this as an opportunity to talk about the different translations I’m using as well and what I feel might have been lost/gained in the process.
This challenge has already forced me to look through books that have long been languishing on my shelves, and I found myself reading poems left and right.  Hopefully this will help me read poetry more often and with a greater appreciation….

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