About Reading Poetry; Part 1

About Reading Poetry; Part 1

By Liam

At some point in life, we’ve all faced the bewildering challenge of understanding a poem. It’s a hit-or-miss experience that can leave us scratching our heads or deeply moved. Poems only do a great job selling themselves if they have some famous person endorsing them, a catchy tune, eye-catching visuals, or if our beautiful kids wrote them. Otherwise, those jagged lines and pretentious blank spaces give off an air of seriousness that makes us hesitant to approach them. 

The poem says, “Hey, look at me from a safe distance, but don’t you dare touch!” 

But what if reading poetry is more manageable than we make it out to be? What if the real issue lies in our well-meaning but ill-suited attitudes towards reading poems?

Let’s shatter the illusion that reading poetry will transform your life into a magical fairy tale. Seriously, your life is like a rollercoaster ride, and most of the time, you’re too busy holding on for dear life to pay close attention. But poems, oh boy, demand your attention like an overenthusiastic puppy. They’re like, “Hey, look at me! I’m a poem, and I won’t let you ignore me!”

So, here’s the deal:

1. Whenever you read a poem, especially one that’s not meant to be performed with jazz hands, go ahead and read it out loud.

2. Forget about those elementary school days when they told you to keep quiet.

3. Let your vocal cords shine! Your ears will catch all sorts of juicy details that your brain would otherwise miss.

Your ears become the boss, and your brain says, “Okay, I’ll think whatever you say!”

Here’s a nifty tip: try meeting a poem on its terms, not yours. Don’t be like, “Hey, poem, let’s relate and be BFFs (Big Fat Friends)!” No, no, no. Instead, step into the world the poem creates. It’s like entering a secret clubhouse, except the personal password appreciates the art. If you’re lucky, that poem’s world will give you a fresh pair of glasses to see your world in a funky new light.

Oh, and brace yourself for the temptation to ditch a poem and move on to the next one or do something more “exciting.” It’s like a siren song, luring you away from the poetic seas. But resist, my friend! Treat it like a pesky mosquito buzzing in your ear. Don’t swat it away. Instead, acknowledge its presence and keep reading. Think of it as a mindfulness exercise for the literary soul.

If told : the “accessible” ones that hold your hand and guide you gently and the “obscure” ones that play hide-and-seek with meaning. It’s up to you how much effort you want to put in. If you stumble upon an unfamiliar word, don’t panic! Just whip out that trusty dictionary or risk being haunted by poetic nightmares.

Let’s get one thing straight: a poem cannot be tamed and paraphrased like a rebellious teenager. Oh no! Itstrue power lies in the realm of Ambiguity. It’s like a sneaky puzzle that leaves you scratching your head in delightful confusion. Ambiguity is the spice of life, my friend. Humans love pretending we know what’s happening, even though we’re just winging it.

And guess what? A poem doesn’t have a secret decoder ring hidden under its mattress. Nope, it’s not trying to play mind games with you. All those meanings you think are hidden? They’re right there, waving at you like a neon sign. But spotting the subtleties takes practice. Reading poetry is like learning the unspoken rules of an exclusive club. So, put on your fancy hat and join the poetic party!

Oh, and here’s a fun twist: separate the poet from the speaker in the poem. The poet is like a master of disguise, wearing all sorts of masks and personas. It’s like a game of hide-and-seek but with words. Refrain from falling into the trap of thinking the poet and the speaker are the same. Let the poem have its wild imagination beyond the poet’s life story.

Last but not least, be on the lookout for those sneaky moments of irony. Keep them from pulling a fast one on you! Double-check if the speaker is sarcastic or just your scepticism creeping in. Stay sharp, and don’t let irony prank you like a mischievous little imp.

So, my fellow poetry explorer, embrace the wild and whimsical world of poems. Let them tickle your brain, dance with your emotions, and ignite your imagination. Reading poetry is like diving into a fantastical realm where words rule, and curiosity reigns. Enjoy the ride,!


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