Let’s take a peek at the first two titles in the new Illustrated Poets Collection just released in August by Bushel & Peck Books.
Both The Illustrated Emily Dickinson and The Illustrated Robert Frost were edited by poet and educator Ryan G. Van Cleave, Creative Writing Coordinator at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.
They each contain “25 Essential Poems” paired with David Miles’s gorgeous full color collages (he had me at those beautiful eye-catching covers). 🙂
In his welcoming series introduction, Van Cleave offers friendly suggestions for making the most of the books. He encourages readers to simply “enjoy the poems” rather than puzzle over the poet’s intentions or dwell on other people’s interpretations.
Next, it’s good to engage with the poems by asking questions such as:
- What do you notice about this poem?
- How does this poem make you feel?
- What else have you read/seen/experienced that connects with this poem?
Finally, it’s important to “be your own boss” – read the poems in order or jump around as one sees fit. Share them with others or savor them by yourself. Read them aloud or “whisper their words in your heart.”
Ultimately, “there is NO wrong way to experience a poem.” This reminds me of Lee Bennett Hopkins saying that a poem is meant to be experienced rather than analyzed, and I think this goes a long way in making poetry less intimidating for the average reader.Continue reading