One of my very favorite poems is “Lucky Life” by Gerald Stern, born and raised in Pittsburgh and now living in Lambertville, New Jersey. It is somewhat embarrassing for me to have discovered this well-known poem only two years ago – I mean, it was published in 1977 – but discover it I did, last year, while spending some time down at my beloved Jersey shore. It found me at exactly the most perfect time, as if he was writing directly to me. I thought about it during our vacation this year and I’ve thought about it again, several times over the course of what has been a rather challenging month, personally-speaking.
When most people think of poetry, they think of rhyming lines broken into stanzas that go on for about a page or so. Rarely do they think of the many novels, memoirs, and folktales told entirely in verse, whether it be formal (i.e. Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter) or free. These are often great places to start for those who find poetry intimidating or difficult to understand, as I once did.