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Renita Boyle’s Holiday Poetry Reads


Carl Sandburg said that “poetry is a packsack of invisible keepsakes.” This is so true for me! I read little else while I am on holiday — usually stateside on my annual visit home to Wisconsin. My family have a little cabin in the woods near Lake Superior. We are frequently visited by bear and deer, racoons, squirrels and mice and a dizzying array of translucent winged insects which are transformative to the spirit by their very presence. We sink our toes in the warm sand and wade in the big cool waters of Gitchigumee (so named by the Ojibwe and immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in the Song Of Hiawatha).

It is no surprise, then, that my poetry tastes take an earthy turn homeward when I am home and my “packsack of invisible keepsakes” reflects my rural roots and the desire to remember who I really am.

Of late, I have been reading my way through the poetry of Ted Kooser — Delights & Shadows, Local Wonders, Flying at Night, The Blizzard Voices, Weather Central … AND I also have two of his writing books — The Poetry Home Repair Manual and Writing Brave and Free — so that I may hone and shape my own voice and skills in the art of writing poetry.

I also adore and read, read and re-read two anthologies selected and introduced by Garrison Keillor (whose Lake Wobegon stories are another staple) — Good Poems and Good Poems for Hard Times.

Happy holidays and may your packsack be bulging with invisible keepsakes.

Renita Boyle is an author, storyteller and silly songstress. Her latest book is Not a Cloud in the Sky, a rhythm and rhyme retelling of the Noah’s Ark story. She will be appearing at this year’s Linlithgow Book Festival.
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