A Different Sort of Travel Reading

It is national poetry month in the United States. A while back, I reflected on songwriters as travel writers. Poets whose work appears on the printed page have places in travel writing and reading, as well.

Consider Homer, for example. This ancient Greek poet wrote a story in verse which has given its name to a whole travel idea: The Odyssey.

Then there is Robert Frost, whose poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening surely evokes a New England winter, even if you’ve never seen snow. Robert Burns, remembered for his love poems and bawdy stories, also wrote movingly of the landscape of his native Scotland in The Westin Winds and My Heart’s in the Highlands. Rabindranath Tagore, William Shakespeare, Pablo Neruda, WB Yeats — poets widely known and lesser known, from every language, land, and culture, draw on ideas of landscape, journeying, and homecoming in their work, in ways that help inspire, define, and reflect on travel.

Popular television travel host Samantha Brown is among those who carry a book of poetry on their travels. Do you? If not, US national poetry month might be a time to try out adding a few poems to your travel kit.

Photograph of Robert Burns statute in George Square, Glasgow, Scotland, by Kerry Dexter

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