It has occurred to me today that reading poetry is a lost art. This comes to my mind as I’ve been happening to help my brother-in-law with an assignment he’s been writing. This assignment is based on poetry he’s read. So, for the student out there who is still trying to figure out that english assignment and has to read poetry here are some quick tips and tricks.
- Read slowly – The beauty of poetry is what the poet is trying to say and how they are trying to say it. Poets use fewer words but more imagery to get their point across, which is why it’s so hard to understand. Read it slowly and go line-by-line. Sometimes when you read a line – take a min to just think about it before chewing on the next one.
- Read it aloud by reading it aloud it will 1) force you to read more slowly and 2) force your brain to really process what you are absorbing. Sometimes even when you read slowly, your brain isn’t able to compute the line of poetry the same way it would when you read it aloud.
- Think about when the poet was writing – Many poets write about things that are unknown to us. If you are reading something written by Emily Dickenson make sure you keep in mind the time period she was writing in. It will make a difference in the interpretation. Many people who write – write from experience. Their experiences as men/women, differences in race, political standing, social/economical class color their writing and if you can read what they write while understanding where they are coming from – it will make it easier to understand (that doesn’t just apply to poetry – fyi).
Like I said – these are just a few tips and tricks that I have picked up via reading some poetry. Simply a few things that will help the “non-avid” poetry reader when it comes time to do that review. Take your time, read aloud, and do some research on the writer. It will all pay off in the end. I would recommend trying with “Anger” by Yusef Komunyakaa.