When Caroline Kennedy turned 50, friends started sending the most wonderful gifts: poems. That generous, womanly gesture gave her the idea for her third, and latest, poetry anthology, She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems (Voice), commemorating the stages of the female experience. Here, Kennedy extols the rare joy of verse.
O: What is one of the great misconceptions about poetry?
Caroline Kennedy: That reading it and writing it is a very solitary act. Poetry is really a way of sharing feelings and ideas.
O: How so?
Caroline Kennedy: Because poems are about experiences we all have. When you're going through something, whether it's a wonderful thing like having a child or a sad thing like losing somebody, you often feel like "Oh my God, I'm so overwhelmed; I'm dealing with this huge thing on my own." In fact, poetry's a nice reminder that, no, everybody goes through it. These are universal experiences.
O: How did you happen to choose the name of a Byron poem for the title of your new collection?
Caroline Kennedy: My husband helps me with all my titles—he was the one who said, maybe this poem. It couldn't be more well known, but at the same time, what could be better?
O: What do you hope people will take from the experience of reading this book?
Caroline Kennedy: An appreciation of how wonderful they are, life is, and it is to live in a world of words and feelings.
Experience the Rare Joy of Verse
From the April 2011 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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