Some poetic ideas for holiday gift-givingWritten by John Dorsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re anything like me, Christmas shopping can leave you at a real loss. It’s with that in mind that I decided to put together a list of a few literary stocking stuffers.
Famed Welsh lyric poet Dylan Thomas had sugarplum fairies dancing in his head most of his life, so it’s only appropriate that he should make the very top of my list with his snow-filled tale of boyhood wonder “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” This prose piece first began its literary life as a radio talk, and then found its way into Harper’s Bazaar and the rest is pop culture history. The piece has been published around the world in a number of editions since the 1950s. It is the perfect gift for the child in your life or simply the young at heart.
The second book on my list is less about the holidays and more about the memories we make, both good and bad. When artist and writer Joe Brainard died in 1994, he left the world with some very big shoes to fill; thankfully, he also left us his wonderful book of memories, “I Remember.” Brainard published a number of editions of this very telling text beginning in the late 1960s, and much like Walt Whitman before him, spent many years expanding his version of a truly unique American life. One of the recent editions was put out by Granary Books. For more information, visit www.granarybooks.com.
Third on my list is not a whole book, but a single piece of writing by the bard himself that is sure to put you in the holiday spirit. I’m talking of course about William Shakespeare’s famed “Heigh-ho the Holly.” This popular piece can be found in a number of anthologies and is even now being reprinted for use in holiday greeting cards. So send a few inspired words to the ones you love.
Fourth up is Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” You probably have a copy of this at home — dig it out of that box in the attic and send it to a friend. This one is so much a part of our popular culture that it doesn’t really require any explanation.
As a single person quietly creeping toward middle age, the holidays can be rough, and when I need a little shot of the holiday spirit this is the one that gets it done for me.
Fifth on my list is “The Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems Complete and Unabridged.” I have to be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of Frost’s work. In fact, I probably get a lot more insight out of Dr. Suess, but when I think tradition and winter images in the world of verse, Frost just comes to mind.
Also, his work offers a good jumping-off point for young readers in their literary education.
Sixth is Ted Berrigan’s “The Sonnets.” OK, so this isn’t really a holiday text. It is, however, probably my favorite book of poetry of all time. Why? Because Berrigan’s words are full of passion and they break the rules of form, while leaving something fresh behind for generations to come.
One of the real reasons I’m putting this on my list though is that I first discovered this book while wandering through a Philadelphia bookstore during a very lonely Christmas season many years ago. Berrigan’s words were a gift then, and they remain so even after all this time.
I could go on, but it’s time to go out and actually start doing a little holiday shopping. I hope I’ve been able to offer a little inspiration; remember, words are a gift that never stop giving long after the holidays are through.
Until next time … keep your pencil sharp and happy holidays.
John Dorsey resides in Toledo’s Old West End. His work is widely published and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.