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When students only have read a few poems, in exclusively academic contexts, they often approach poetry with what the li...

Monday, January 30, 2017

A New Way of Reading Poetry

As an offshoot of the life hacks, I have a new way of reading poetry.  I just take a book and read it all the way through, in order, aloud to myself.

This prevents nervous flitting from one poem to another.  Although loud reading is slower than silent reading, I can really get more read this way, and enjoy it more.

This is the only way, I think, to get through long 500 page books of Collected Poems.  It also works well for books that can be read this way at one or two sittings.

This does not take away from other reading practices, like memorizing one poem and living with it a long time.  Both reading sequentially and never going back and staying a long time on one poem involve acts of sustained attention.

3 comments:

Thomas said...

I do this. Most recently with Auden's New Year Letter. It's a great way to read poetry and, I would say, it's basically what poetry is for. Poetry is sheet music for speech. (I know people who enjoy reading sheet music silently, by the way.) Like many composers, of course, poets aren't always the ideal performers of their own notes.

Leslie said...

"Poetry is sheet music for speech."

I like that. And I do this. I learned it from Luis Monguió and Tom Parkinson.

Jonathan said...

I can read sheet music silently but only if I already know the piece very very well.