[personal profile] strange_bt_true
Just a bit of silliness, really.

How to Read a Poem: Beginner's Manual
by Pamela Spiro Wagner

First, forget everything you have learned, 
that poetry is difficult, 
that it cannot be appreciated by the likes of you, 
with your high school equivalency diploma, 
your steel-tipped boots, 
or your white-collar misunderstandings. 

Do not assume meanings hidden from you: 
the best poems mean what they say and say it. 

To read poetry requires only courage 
enough to leap from the edge 
and trust.  

Treat a poem like dirt, 
humus rich and heavy from the garden. 
Later it will become the fat tomatoes 
and golden squash piled high upon your kitchen table. 

Poetry demands surrender,
language saying what is true,
doing holy things to the ordinary.

Read just one poem a day. 
Someday a book of poems may open in your hands 
like a daffodil offering its cup
to the sun. 

When you can name five poets 
without including Bob Dylan, 
when you exceed your quota 
and don't even notice, 
close this manual.

You can now read poetry.


(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-08 08:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chebonne.livejournal.com
I love that!

"Poetry demands surrender,
language saying what is true,
doing holy things to the ordinary."

Fantastic. Also it hits me that I can only name 3, maybe 4 poets. Woe betide, I need to read up on that.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-08 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strange-bt-true.livejournal.com

Poetry was something that kind of scared me until very recently. I was convinced that I wouldn't get it/it would be lame/I'd feel dumb etc. But so far, I've had so much fun just exploring.

My favorite bit (so far, because I choose a new one every time I reread):

"Do not assume meanings hidden from you:
the best poems mean what they say and say it."

This. I can probably name 2? And that's just because I've read their work recently, I can't actually REFERENCE anyone or anything. But I'm looking forward to upping that number. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-08 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chebonne.livejournal.com
Most of the poets I know are ones we had to read in class in high school, and most of them Swedish. There is a really brilliant Swedish poet, Edith Södergran, who wrote some really fantastic feminist poetry in her time, and I fucking adore her.

Funny thing is, most of the Swedish poets I can name are women. Those are the interesting ones.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-09 05:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strange-bt-true.livejournal.com
Our high school English department was... not exactly lacking; we read plenty of decent books. It's just that poetry was always introduced to us in a way that made it sound lame. COnsequently, we all hated it. I wish I'd taken more time to lsiten. Oh well, better late than never, right? :D


(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-08 09:42 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-09 05:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strange-bt-true.livejournal.com
I read it and I was all &hearts_____&hearts!



May 2009

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