Sunday, September 15, 2013

Reading Drama and Poetry

At the beginning of 2013 I decided to participate in the Literary Exploration Challenge (also see here).  The challenge is all about trying new genres.  Through this challenge I have been introduced to new genres and have revisited ones that I don't think I've read since college.  Drama and poetry fall into this category. 

For the drama category I chose Shakespeare's Macbeth.  This had actually been on my want-to-read list for awhile.  I have read other of Shakespeare's plays, including Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, King Lear, but somehow I made it through high school and college without reading Macbeth.  There are of course several different editions of the play.  I chose to read Sparknotes' No Fear edition of Macbeth.  This edition features the original text of the play on the left-hand page and a modern interpretation of the text on the right hand side.  Since I am not reading this in the context of an English class, I found this to be really helpful.

Macbeth is one of those classics that is readily referenced in a thousand other contexts, so I had a general idea of plot going into it.  I was surprised, and perhaps I shouldn't have been, at how modern the story is.  I get why it is so readily referenced in other contexts.  Now that I've read it I would like to see it.  One of the reasons I don't read drama all that much is because it is an art form that is really meant to be seen and heard or performed.  As glad as I am to have read Macbeth, something was missing from the page.  That something would probably be found on a stage.  Speaking of stage performances, I'm not the only one interested in Shakespeare.  I happen to be on the bus and reading this book when the woman sitting next to me asked if I was reading Macbeth for a class.  I told her no, I was reading Shakespeare on my own for fun.  She then pulled out two DVDs from her bag.  She had just watched two BBC versions of Macbeth and was on her way to return them to the library.  If I can't see Macbeth performed live, I guess I can watch them on DVD. 

For the poetry genre I chose Ariel by Sylvia Plath.  I read poetry even less than I read drama.  It isn't that I don't like poetry, I do.  Yet, the concept of a book a poetry seems odd to me, primarily because a book of poetry does not seem like something that should be read linearly.  I read Ariel in one sitting, one poem after another, and I kind of feel that I read it wrong.  Notwithstanding my uncertainty about how to read poetry, I did enjoy this collection, particularly the poems Morning Song, Sheep in Fog, Lady Lazarus, Cut and Kindness. 

When I picked up Ariel at the library, I also picked up a book of Langston Hughes' poems.  I have enjoyed his poems here and there but have never read a full book of his poems.  This time I will read the poems slower. 

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