I found this while researching for the blog and based on its title wasn't sure if it was going to be serious or not. Maybe one of the strategies would be "Read the poem upside down" or "read the poem in a big fuzzy green hat."

Instead I was pleasantly surprised by the earnest yet humorous tone and the valid thoughts within, although I think the title's a bit of a misnomer. These are not really different strategies for reading poems, but these are important reminders to have before you approach a poem (or, I guess, reading poetry in general).

I hope those on Hubski who do not normally read poetry read this article because I think it is a good set-up for people who may have trouble with the genre.

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


I remember reading this article! I was also pleasantly surprised.

    19. Someday, when all your material possessions will seem to have shed their utility and just become obstacles to the toilet, poems will still hold their value. They are rooms that take up such little room. A memorized poem, or a line or two, becomes part internal jewelry and part life-saving skill, like knowing how to put a mugger in an arm-lock or the best way to cut open a mango without slicing your hand.

I love this part. Maybe because it flatters my sensibilities, I don't know.

    20. Reading a good poem doesn’t give you something to talk about. It silences you. Reading a great poem pushes further. It prepares you for the silence that perplexes us all: death.

That final sentence is a bit hammy when written that way, but there is a grain of truth there I think. Poetry is so often about death; maybe because death is the antithesis to kitsch. There, now I'm hammy, too.

posted 2007 days ago