“What can poems do? How might they capture our desires, comfort us, connect us, or help us carve out space for ourselves in the world? When do they make us wince, and how do they make us weep? When does poetry let us off the hook, and when and how can poetry hold us accountable for systemic and historical injustices? With unflinching honesty, capacious expertise, humor, and heart, Ardam invites us in to her brilliant and multifaceted modes of thinking about poetry. Pedagogical in its essence and political to its core, Avidly Reads Poetry invites well-versed poetry lovers and Intro to Poetry students alike to ask how they see themselves in poetry, and what they find there.”
~Rachel Feder, author of Birth Chart
Poetry is everywhere. From Amanda Gorman performing “The Hill We Climb” before the nation at Joe Biden’s Presidential inauguration, to poems regularly going viral on Instagram and Twitter, more Americans are reading and interacting with poetry than ever before. Avidly Reads Poetry is an ode to poetry and the worlds that come into play around the different ways it is written and shared.
Mixing literary and cultural criticism with the author’s personal and often intimate relationship with poetry, Avidly Reads Poetry breathes life into poems of every genre—from alphabet poems and Shakespeare’s sonnets to Claudia Rankine’s Citizen and Rupi Kaur’s Instapoetry—and asks: How do poems come to us? How do they make us feel and think and act when they do? Who and what is poetry for? Who does poetry include and exclude, and what can we learn from it?
Each section links a reason why we might read poetry with a type of poem to help us think about how poems are embedded in our lives, in our loves, our educations, our politics, and our social media, sometimes in spite of, and sometimes very much because of, the nation we live in.
Part of the Avidly Reads series, this slim book gives us a new way of looking at American culture. With the singular blend of personal reflection and cultural criticism featured in the series, Avidly Reads Poetry shatters the wall between poetry and “the rest of us.”
“Ardam is thoughtful in her examination of how poetry infiltrates pop culture, and her love of the genre shines. Readers looking to start a poetry habit will appreciate this earnest consideration.”