Who is your ‘Gateway’ poet? You know, the one who got you started. Maybe at first you believed that you just weren’t into poetry; it wasn’t your scene. But then you started exploring, maybe just a little at first…just to try it.
And you found the one that started you down that lovely path of reading poets. Perhaps you even started dabbling in some rhymes of your own? We bet you now search out stacks in used bookstores for slim volumes of text from your new faves.
You could quit anytime. But you don’t. You won’t. You’re hooked. And you can blame it all on your Gateway Poet.
For TRDad, the poet was Ogden Nash. His silly little poems about animals, “Hark to the cry of the seagull, he cries because he’s not an eagle!” seem so simple. But these poems are regarded as ‘real poetry’ by people who keep track of this sort of thing. So after a few Nash verses, TRDad started looking for other similar rhymes.
From Nash it was a short path leading to Frost, and Shapiro, then Plath. Once you’re in that deep, the discovery of Collins, Williams, and others is easily done. Then when a friend points you to e.e. cummings, you view that poet with new respect and appreciation.
For TRMom, that poet was Shel Silverstein and his book, Where the Sidewalk Ends. It is full of humor and honesty that is written with an accessible prose. Silverstein helped lead to e.e. cummings which then veered to Diane Wakoski.
Now, TRDad and TRMom are unapologetic champions of poetry. And it was all due to finding Ogden Nash and Shel Silverstein at an early age.
Who is your Gateway Poet? What paths did s/he lead you on?