For some strange reason I have a vivid memory from when I was in elementary school. I was at my grandparent's house sitting on the little ledge that separates their kitchen from their living room. It was near the holidays and I had a Toys R Us catalog on my lap, a Sharpie in my hand, and I was enthusiastically circling all of the toys I wanted for Christmas. I specifically remember wanting a Bratz doll.
Years later my wishlists have changed. I'm no longer picking toys out of a catalog (legitimate question: does anyone actually order from catalogs anymore?) but instead I am making wishlists on the websites of my favorite stores. Ninety percent of my wishlist consists clothing items. This year I asked for something I've never asked for before: a book of poetry.
I've always loved to read, and I've always considered myself an "English person" (I was even going to major in English), but poetry was never of particular interest to me. In my various English classes I indifferently read, analyzed, and wrote about the poems we studied, not because I was interested, but because it was required of me. I simply did what I had to do to get through the poetry unit, and soon after pushed all we learned about poetry to the back corner of my mind. It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I discovered a poem that really resonated with me.
Fast forward a couple years later. I'm sitting in my uncomfortable twin bed in my Sophomore year apartment. My textbook and notebook are sprawled open next to me, and I'm scrolling through Pinterest on my laptop. I pin an interesting recipe I'll probably never cook, a tough workout I'll probably never do, and an outfit that I most definitely will translate into my own wardrobe. Then I came across a poem. It was the same one I read in high school. Years later it still resonated with me.
I couldn't move on without looking up the author of the poem. Minutes later I found the poet, closed my textbooks (I wasn't really getting much work done anyways), and spent the rest of the night reading her work online. By the end of the night I still wanted more to read. So, when it came time to craft my Christmas wishlist, her book of poems titled Love and Misadventure was on the top of the list.
I received the book on Christmas Eve (thank you Aunt Steph and Uncle Tony!), and that night I decided to read a few poems before bed. A few poems turned into the entire book. I was going to dog-ear my favorite poems, but after finishing the book I noticed half of the pages had been dogeared.
I think when most people think of poetry, they imagine their high school years when they were forced to study iambic pentameter and pompous men who wrote poetry (looking at you, William Wordsworth, William Blake, and Lord Byron). Lang Leav changed that for me.
I wanted to share some of my favorite Lang Leav poems. She is refreshing. Her work is thoughtful and beautiful. Love and Misadventure intricately tells a story of the beauty and the misfortunes of love. Well- I'll just let the poems speak for themselves.