In Reading Poetry: Act 3, 7-11

8. A poem has no hidden meaning, only “meanings” you’ve not yet realized are right in front of you. Discerning subtleties takes practice. Reading poetry is a convention like anything else. And you learn the rules of it like anything else—e.g., driving a car or baking a cake.

9. As hard as it sounds, separate the poet from the speaker of the poem. A poet always wears a mask (persona) even if she isn’t trying to wear a mask, and so to equate poet and speaker denies the poem any imaginative force that lies outside of her lived life.

10. When you come across something that appears “ironic,” make sure it’s not simply the speaker’s sarcasm or your own disbelief.

11. “Reading for pleasure” implies there’s “reading for displeasure” or “reading for pain.” All reading should be pleasurable:

Like sex, it pleases to a greater or lesser degree, but pleasure ultimately isn’t the only point.

Agreed?

To be continued

My regards

Liam

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Poem: Deceit

Poem: Deceit

When ever you should,

Hold my gaze with a look.

Touch my face with a whisper.

Pulse my heart with your anatomy.

Do it! Do it! Damn…..

Just do it to me.

I’ll take the hurt of your deception.

Knowing it’s his bed you’ll be in tonight.

But still its my heart that’s pulsing through your dreams.

This blood filled chalice from which the sip of love is taken.

This heart cracked

Goblet from which the wisps of truth evaporate.

Where is this then really happening?

What is the real truly doing?

Why do you do this to me?

When will I stop doing you and see?

Me in you,

is sumptuous .

Me to you is exquisite,

in flavours exotic and wild.

Erratic moments of passion,

Ivey lush green opulence is the jungle of this deceit.

Your body of action, in hindsight

nothing but desert.

Barren and sandy, blowing dust in place of kisses.

Each a million stings, each grain flung by the Sirocco of your love.

Alone, tangled in the undergrowth of emotion.

Warm night air caresses these limbs, not you.

It’s you I feel though.

In spite of the 1000 miles between our beds.

Longing for the threads

To weave this distance together.

To spin me again into a web.

To weave me again into your head.

Liam 2016

On Reading Poetry : Act 2, 5-7

5. People will tell you there are two kinds of poems: the “accessible poem” whose intent and meaning are easy to appreciate, and the “obscure poem” whose intent and meaning are difficult to appreciate. It’s up to you how hard you want to work.

6. If you don’t know a word, look it up or die.

7. A poem cannot be paraphrased. In fact, a poem’s greatest potential lies in the opposite of paraphrase: ambiguity. Ambiguity is at the center of what is it to be a human being. We really have no idea what’s going to happen from moment to moment, but we have to act as if we do.

Act 1: on reading Poetry

Act 1:

1. Dispel the notion that reading poetry is going to dramatically change your life. Your life is continually changing; most of the time you’re simply too busy to pay enough attention to it. Poems ask you to pay attention—that’s all.

2. When you read a poem, especially a poem not meant to be a “spoken word” poem, always read it out loud. (Never mind what they said in grammar school—to subvocalize so that you won’t bother your peers.) Your ear will pick up more than your head will allow. That is, the ear will tell the mind what to think.

3. Try to meet a poem on its terms not yours. If you have to “relate” to a poem in order to understand it, you aren’t reading it sufficiently. In other words, don’t try to fit the poem into your life. Try to see what world the poem creates. Then, if you are lucky, its world will help you re-see your own.

4. Whether or not you are conscious of it, you are always looking for an excuse to stop reading a poem and move on to another poem or to do something else entirely. Resist this urge as much as possible. Think of it as a Buddhist regards a pesky mosquito. The mosquito, like the poem, may be irritating, but it’s not going to kill you to brave it for a little while longer.

Act2: next Blog

Liam

Poem:The Love

Poem: The Love

Morning beautiful to my lips,

I call your loving into the tips.

Of Fingers folded hands on knees.

Eyes wide shut you are at ease.

The blossoming bud of a rose in bloom.

The perfume, my thought,

permeate this room.

With morning joy fresh

Love on high.

Twinkled glance in a blue clear eye.

We meet, we see, we know it’s real.

It’s simply this,

It’s what we feel.

The Love.

Liam Feb 2017

Liam 2017

20 ways to read a Poem

Here are 20 ways of reading a poem.

In 4 Acts:

1. Dispel the notion that reading poetry is going to dramatically change your life. Your life is continually changing; most of the time you’re simply too busy to pay enough attention to it. Poems ask you to pay attention—that’s all.

2. When you read a poem, especially a poem not meant to be a “spoken word” poem, always read it out loud. (Never mind what they said in grammar school—to subvocalize so that you won’t bother your peers.) Your ear will pick up more than your head will allow. That is, the ear will tell the mind what to think.

3. Try to meet a poem on its terms not yours. If you have to “relate” to a poem in order to understand it, you aren’t reading it sufficiently. In other words, don’t try to fit the poem into your life. Try to see what world the poem creates. Then, if you are lucky, its world will help you re-see your own.

4. Whether or not you are conscious of it, you are always looking for an excuse to stop reading a poem and move on to another poem or to do something else entirely. Resist this urge as much as possible. Think of it as a Buddhist regards a pesky mosquito. The mosquito, like the poem, may be irritating, but it’s not going to kill you to brave it for a little while longer.

About Reading Poetry 1.

At one time or another, when face-to-face with a poem, most everyone has been perplexed. The experience of reading a poem itself is as likely to turn us off, intellectually or emotionally, as it is to move us. Unless patronized by celebrities, set to music, accompanied by visuals, or penned by our own children, poems do a terrible job of marketing themselves.

All those ragged lines and affected white spaces make them appear as though they should be treated only as pieces of solemn art.

Look but don’t get too close, and definitely don’t touch.

But what if the fine art of reading poetry isn’t so fine after all? What if the predicament about poems is precisely our well-intentioned but ill-fitting dispositions toward reading them?

Here are 20 ways of reading a poem. Written in 4 Acts. (Next weeks BLOG).

My finest greetings to all you poets of life. Liam