When I was 9 years old my parents bought me The Golden Treasury of Poetry by Louis Untermeyer.
The treasury was a selection of more than 400 poems, written through every great period of English Literature, from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Ogden Nash and T.S. Eliot. It became a favourite pet, following me everywhere. At night- time I would sneak it under the bed covers and read the poems by torchlight till the early hours.
Forty-five years on the book is still with me, in pristine condition, and I am once again enjoying reading childhood favourites like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s, Paul Revere’s Ride and The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo by Edward Lear.
Looking back, it was this book that started my passion for poetry; a love affair that has been like any long-term relationship, full of laughter, tears and long periods where we haven’t spoken.
Over the years I have fallen in and out of love with poetry, and poets too many to mention. I have collected poetry books, gotten rid of them only to buy them again, but this book is the one that has remained in the fold since 1972.
I don’t know why it became a favourite and why it has survived so long. What I do know is it started a love for poetry still burning in me to this day.
What started or inspired your love and passion for poetry? Was it a particular book, poet, poem or situation that lit the fire?
I’d love to hear your stories.