I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve been given poetry.
Of course, to start with, there was the teacher who saw past my grades and recommended things that were irrelevant to our syllabus, but relevant to me; books I never would have picked up of my own accord; poets that I’d never heard of. I didn’t like them all, but I did like being given them.
There was a friend who, before we’d even met, and knowing how I love and miss the sound of rain on zinc roofs, emailed me a poem that captures it perfectly. As they thought I would, I loved it, went out and bought both books they recommended, often open them and read a poem or two.
Then today, I received a little book of poems in the post, annotated, and lovely, sent because it was cheap and because it was a collection of poems by one of my girlfriend’s favourite poets, which I am yet to read but am looking forward to immensely.
I don’t have a favourite poet. I don’t read enough poetry to have a favourite poem. But I love that I know people who do. I love that they think of me, and send poetry to me, even though I don’t, can’t, do the same. It feels more intimate, more personal, than recommending a novel, a film, music. Perhaps that’s just because, in my life, it happens rarely. But I am so very appreciative and touched when it happens.
So, poetry-givers, thankyou.