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This is National Poetry Month. Officially recognized since 1998.
Does anyone care? A friend says he does doesn’t get poetry. Never has, not since his high school teacher tried to explain it to him.
I blame the teacher. You can’t explain poetry. Either you get it or you don’t. Either those images leap off the page and dance a polka in your head, or they don’t.
Explaining poetry is like explaining a joke -- if you have to do it, don’t bother.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: Poetry, metaphor
I love poetry. I don’t read it often enough.
Most of my reading is factual stuff. I want to know more about the origins of a movement. The mysteries of the universe. How plants communicate.
So I skim. Some call it speed-reading, but in fact, it’s mostly training my eyes to look for relevant keywords.
I can’t do that with poetry. Poetry, really, needs to be read aloud. Because reading aloud forces me to slow down, to savour the sounds of each word, to measure the musical rhythm of vowels and consonants, of rests and highlights….
I read aloud, so that I can feel the poet’s message resonating from my vocal cords into both head and belly.
Because poetry is not about facts, or arguments, or even about story. It’s about feelings. Poets try to evoke feelings with the fewest possible words. Which means that mental images get compressed, juxtaposed, overlapped. As they mesh, they create new connections, new images, new insights.
Tags: Poetry, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Mary Oliver, William Blake