For my Masters (in English) degree I majored in 20th century poetry with my thesis about W.H.Auden. I made this choice for several reasons:
1) I had just been engaged to my future husband - on the night of the day I had received my application for Columbia University to work on my Masters degree. I was 19 years old, a bit young, my parents (father) thought, to get married ("to throw myself under the wheels of happiness" - a line from Christopher Fry's The Lady's Not for Burning - don't make me look up the dates now, this is not totally relevant). I compromised - it didn't feel like compromise. My father reminded me I had always (?) intended to get m M.A. and I should stick to that plan. A postgraduate degree would be good insurance, he said. How right he was! Just about the only insurance I had, as it turned out. So then it was a question of where to focus in my studies.
2) I chose 20th century poetry because I didn't read poetry as easily as I read prose. I wanted to train myself to read poetry the way I read a mystery thriller.
3) I wanted to work with the best mind available to me at the university: Chester Duncan (1913-2002: wrtier, broadcaster, university professor, pianist and composer). He was particularly knowledgeable about W.H.Auden and had composed music for many of his poems, still doing it when I signed on.
4) I didn't want to go away. If I had left Bill then it was likely that we wouldn't have been married. After a year apart at that tender age we would have been strangers.
So I stayed home and we had a long engagement. I convicted with my M.A. in May of the following year and I married 17 days after that. Thank goodness. We had been married 20 years when he suddenly died.
This is about sipping poetry. I still read poetry and I still find poets who get inside me, and stay there, That's a long preamble to introduce Eleanor Ross Taylor (1920-2011) whom I first encountered in The New Yorker. Her second book of poetry, Welcome Eumenides (1972), its title taken from a diary note of Florence Nightingale, has a long poem written int he first person as if by Nightingale, very moving. I didn't find the book until after Bill had died and I was still raw when I read it, so my underlines are selfish and personal. Good poetry, though.I won't dwell too long as i have taken too long now. I'll just take a few lines from a poem called "Sirens".
Arriving for one
I never expected
If your heart fail
Shall I not panic?