Quarter Life Poetry: Poems for the Young, Broke and Hangry by Samantha Jayne is a poetry collection for the disheartened, for the hungry, for the post-college 20-somethings who really thought they would have their life completely together by now. In other words, while reading this book, I felt like it was written for me. This is a book of comedic poetry, one that poses short, amusing, and remarkably light-hearted, sarcastic comments about life that we thought we would have figured out by now.
Samantha Jayne is an actress and writer who lives out in Los Angeles. One of the things she has become famous for are her popular Tumblr and Instagram accounts, Quarter Life Poetry, where she posts snappy four-lined poems about her life as a 20-something post-college. She has poems paired with related images on topics ranging from work, money, sex, life, student loans, love, and any/every other challenge that people going through life post-college are faced with on a daily basis.
Jayne’s poetry really captures what it’s like when you find out that yet another one of your friends in pregnant while you’re just trying to keep a plant alive, how you feel trying to pay off your student loans while working a 40 hour a week job that doesn’t allow for much of a social life, and also how it feels to be stuck in a dating scene with what seems like the less than desirables right after college. Jayne perfectly illustrates the fact that students in college think life post-college is glamorous, when in reality, the post-college adults know that being in your 20s is really all about just trying to find yourself amongst piles of student loan debt, cheap take-out, and the more-than-occasional trip to the store to buy more wine. While this book was marketed towards post-college 20-somethings, it is a quick, short read that people of all ages can enjoy as they reminisce on their post-college life.
Love, of a Kind is the seventh book of poetry put together by Felix Dennis. Dennis was diagnosed with throat cancer in January 2012. As a result of that diagnosis, he began bringing together and revising poems for what he believed to be his last book. The poems here run along the themes of pain, life, death, and love.
The author lived a fairly loud and extravagant life after a humble beginning. Dennis was born and lived a life of poverty in a south London suburb where he dealt with his father moving to Australia, his mother choosing not to follow, and their subsequent divorce in a time where divorces just did not happen. As a consequence of their divorce, Dennis’ mother chose to not let her previous failed marriage be a reason for her or her children to not succeed in life. Dennis’ career spanned from publisher to poet to spoken word performer to philanthropist. Never one to stray from the limelight, various interviews with Dennis can be found online.
After his diagnosis in 2012, Dennis created Love, of a Kind as a way to cope. Dennis pairs his poems with woodcut engravings that help pull readers more completely into his world. Read along and feel Dennis as he pours his feelings about love into the words that he chose to be his memory after his death in 2014.
Short on time? With just a few minutes you can sneak a little literature into your day with the fourteen-line poems offered by Garrison Keillor in 77 Love Sonnets. The topics range wider than the title suggests. And the writings seem to be written off the cuff, not heavily edited, expressing Keillor’s momentary thoughts and takes on places and events. In “Obama” he conveys his experience as one of the crowd on inauguration day. In “October” he revels in the security and joys that fiscal security allow. Among these pages you will discover sonnets that explore each of The Four Loves: affection, friendship, eros, and charity.
In “Long Career,” Keillor states that “The secret of a long career is simply to not fade….” This prolific author appears to be taking his own advice by publishing this collection the same year as novels Life Among The Lutherans, Pilgrims: A Wobegon Romance, and A Christmas Blizzard.
Roses are Red, Violets are Blue
April is National Poetry Month too!
Okay, okay — this little rhyme won’t win a Pulitzer prize. But maybe, just maybe, it’ll get you to come into the library and check out a book of poetry; you might just find some old favorites you’ve forgotten and discover some new ones along the way.
The children’s collection has some beautiful books — often illustrating just one poem, so they’re very appealling to both young and old alike. Try Shel Silverstein’s classic A Light in the Attic, filled with whimsical, playful, clever (and very funny) word play, or Paul Janecsko’s A Kick in the Head, a delightful, laugh-out-loud introduction to poetry forms. Both will have you bouncin’ to the beat!
And, if you’ve never read Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, what better time than now? Set in a fictional Midwestern village in central Illinois along the Spoon River (which isn’t all that far from here), it tells the stories of “the dead sleeping on the hill” who awaken and tell the truth about their lives. Although written in 1915, the themes are universal and heartfelt.
If you don’t find something on the display shelf, just check out the 811’s for a treasure chest of American poetry.