Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty

I was excited enough to visit Persephone books on my 30th birthday, and I couldn't believe it when I saw a book called It's Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty. I knew I had to have it. I was surprised, because I've read through the Persephone catalogue before, but for some reason this title didn't sound familiar to me. Maybe because I wasn't ready for it yet!

It's been a while since I've read much poetry, so at first I wasn't sure if I would like this collection. But, while still in the store, I opened it to a poem that was so me! I knew I then that I would enjoy the collection, and have read it slowly, just a poem or two a day to savor it. The language and easy to understand poems reminded that poetry can be enjoyable and has inspired me to keep up the habit of reading a poem every day, which is good because I have several poetry books in my TBR stacks! It's also good because I think reading poetry is helping my own writing, making me think more about my language choices as I write.

The poem that drew me in is called "Starting on Monday." It's all about her starting a diet and exercise plan on Monday. "Starting on Monday my will will be stronger than brownies." Brownies are my favorite dessert. The poem goes on about jogging each morning, eating carrots, losing flab, all starting on Monday. "But Tuesday a friend came for coffee and brought homemade muffins." And so on, through the week. There is always an excuse isn't there? I can't really capture it without writing out the whole poem, but I just love her writing. It's so accessible, yet still meaningful, and she still plays with language. Most of the poems are about everyday life: marriage, babies, diets, friends, growing up. Yet she somehow makes beautiful poetry out of it.

The book is really two collections of poems, It's Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty and People and Other Aggravations. How great is that second title? I had to laugh at that. And while the poems are about how other people can indeed be aggravating, at the same time, they're about how we need others and our lives are enriched by them.

I think anyone who enjoys the Persephone books would enjoy this one, and it's worth it even though it's a slim work. I promise you'll keep flipping through it to re-read! I also think it would be a great gift to a mom struggling with meshing her old self to her new mom identity. And it's a great starting place for someone who wants to read more poetry, but is intimidated by it. And, it's written Judith Viorst, who wrote Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It's got to be awesome, right? I loved picking up a grown-up book by the author of one of my favorite childhood books on my birthday! If you give it a shot, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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