How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope is a collection of poetry centered on the Earth and the myriad wonders it contains. With over 100 entries from incredible poets, plus prompts for reflective pauses and discussion questions, the collection is a designed journey through natural wonder and beautiful art.
I’ll admit, I have never been much of an avid poetry reader. I have always appreciated the art but never felt like I “understood” what I read. That completely changed with this collection. The selected pieces span a variety of styles, lengths, and topics and offer a little taste of many different poetic aspects I have never encountered before. This means that even if I did not enjoy every individual piece, I did enjoy the anthology as a whole.
A special standout for me was “At the Age of 18 – Ode to Girls of Color,” written by Amanda Gorman, who recently performed her poetry at the presidential inauguration and in a video for the Super Bowl. Gorman’s entry in How to Love the World is a beautiful piece in its own right, focusing on how young girls perceive and are perceived by others.
I also thought the guided Reflective Pause segments scattered throughout the book were perfect for me. After every few poems, there is a short prompt about the theme of the preceding poem. One such pause asks the reader to consider the last time they felt “thankful for now.” The pauses forced me to stop and actually think about the poems I had just read, which was incredibly helpful for someone who does not usually read poetry. I did not write down my responses to the prompts, but the book does suggest this might be helpful as a personal activity.
I would encourage anyone who doubts their appreciation for poetry, or who does not know where to start with poetry, to try this collection. It is at least a fascinating opportunity to explore how many different ways the natural world and human society can be viewed and explained. It is also one incredible place to read over 100 beautiful works of art with guided reflection along the way.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Storey Publishing, for review.