In honour of National Poetry Day and the approaching Books Are My Bag celebrations around Bookshop Day on 6th October, we’ve extracted the Poetry section from Jane Mount’s gorgeous Bibliophile book. Let us know your own poetry book recommendations in the comments!
The ultimate gift for book lovers, this volume brims with literary treasures, all delightfully illustrated by beloved artist and founder of Ideal Bookshelf, Jane Mount.
Book lovers, rejoice! In this love letter to all things bookish, Jane Mount brings literary people, places, and things to life through her signature and vibrant illustrations. Readers will:
• Tour the world’s most beautiful bookstores
• Test their knowledge of the written word with quizzes
• Find their next great read in lovingly curated stacks of books
• Sample the most famous fictional meals
• Peek inside the workspaces of their favourite authors
A source of endless inspiration, literary facts and recommendations, and pure bookish joy, BIBLIOPHILE is sure to enchant book clubbers, English students, poetry devotees, inspiring writers, and any and all who identify as bookworms.
The following extract is from Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount, Chronicle Books
According to the National Endowment for the Arts the number of people who read at least one work of poetry per year has steadily dropped, from 17% in 1992 to just 6.7% in 2012. Poetry is less popular than jazz (but still wins out over opera!). But poetry is the opposite of statistics. A true poem hits your heart directly, naming unrecognized feelings and burning through any junk in its path.
The first book of poetry many American children read is Where the Sidewalk Ends. Its author, Shel Silverstein, was a Korean War vet, an illustrator for Playboy (and a regular at the Mansion), a Golden Globe and Academy Award nominee, and a two-time Grammy winner (one for writing Johnny Cash’s song A Boy Named Sue, and one for an audio version of Where the Sidewalk Ends).
Tracy K. Smith’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Life on Mars is a tribute to her father, a Hubble space telescope engineer. But a tribute wasn’t her original intention; she was more focused on “space as a kind of metaphor through which to consider some of the facts and problems of life here on Earth.”
Many loving parents have named their boys Pablo after Pablo Neruda, but that’s a name he gave himself. His original name was Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto. Neruda was also a diplomat, a senator, and an adviser to Chile’s socialist president Salvador Allende (a relative of writer Isabel Allende). He was in the hospital for cancer treatment when Allende was overthrown by Augusto Pinochet, but left when a doctor injected him with an unknown substance. Neruda died at home six and a half hours later, either from poison or, as reported, from prostate cancer. In 2013, his bones were exhumed and examined in Chile, Spain, the US, and Switzerland, but, so far, without conclusion.
The best-selling poet in the US is Rumi, a Persian Sufi mystic and Islamic scholar who was born in what is now Tajikistan, studied in Iran and Syria, and lived most of his life in Turkey. His popularity is thanks in part to the modern translations by Coleman Barks, but Rumi’s poems of love, spirituality, and unity speak to people everywhere.
In the early 1900s, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke worked as a secretary for the sculptor Auguste Rodin and wrote about his work. Rachel Corbett wrote a book about their friendship, You Must Change Your Life.
• Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror by John Ashbery
• Collected Poems by W. H. Auden
• Standing Water by Eleanor Chai
• Family Values by Wendy Cope
• Pictures of the Gone World by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
• Mountain Interval by Robert Frost
• The Wild Iris by Louise Glück
• Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes
• Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds
• Spring and All by William Carlos Williams