By: Rachel Lyle, April 7th, 2017
I am going to, once again, talk about the Contemporary Literature course I took at DelVal that I talked about in an earlier blog. I am going to talk about one of the many forms of contemporary literature that we studied in this class, poetry, and the book we used to study this poetry, Life on Mars, a collection of contemporary poetry by Tracy K. Smith. I am going to focus specifically on my experience with and relationship to poetry and my experience with and relationship to this book we studied in this course.
I personally have a lot of experience with poetry. I’ve read poetry from more authors than I can count, and more poems than I can count. It happens to be one of my favorite kinds of writing and I love reading it. I read poetry all the time. My two favorite poets of all time are Emily Dickinson because shows one of very few female poets of her time and even today there are not a whole lot of female poets to speak of and Edgar Allan Poe because his poetry was usually haunted, erie, horror poetry, which is one of my favorite genres. My favorite poem of all time would probably be, if I picked one single poem, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, because I feel like I can relate to it in that I try to take the road less traveled, I don’t like going with the flow or following in other people’s foot steps, I like making my own foot steps, forging my own path, by standing out from others and being different. I like poetry because it does not have as many restrictive rules as prose. You can stick to certain rules but you can also write it anyway you want, freely without a box in which you have to stay inside. I personally expect poetry to describe things, ideas, and people rather than tell a story. I expect it to explain things rather than create a narrative that can be followed. I read poetry somewhat differently than I do prose. I read prose as a narrative or story to be followed that I can track and figure out what events happened when etc. I read poetry as describing something that happened or someone that exists but not necessarily in way that says this is the order of events and how they happened and who did them when etc., I don’t read it as necessarily telling a story that can be followed.
I believe that in many ways, in Life On Mars, Tracy K. Smith is meeting those expectations by describing life on Mars and those living on Mars, and explaining what is going on around her but at the same time many ways she is also resisting and defying the expectations that I have of poetry by stories with her descriptions of how people came to live on Mars, and what lead to people being on Mars, and what life is like on Mars.
So that’s how I feel about poetry and Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith, so yeah.