Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run
and out of which they grow.
--Oliver Wendell Holmes

There is more to poetry than meets the eyes. What Shakespeare called "the mind's eye" plays a big part. Poetry may state facts, but more important, it makes imaginative statements that we may value even if its facts are incorrect. Poetry is not to be galloped over like the daily newspaper. At first glance, a poem will make some sense and give some pleasure, but it may not yield everything at once.

So, how do you read a poem?

Read it once straight through, open-mindedly, with no particular expectations. Let yourself experience whatever you find. On the second reading, read for the exact sense of all words. If there are words you don't understand, look them up ( The WWWebster Dictionary ) If a poet troubles to seek out the best words available, the least we can do is to find out what the words mean. If the poems are more than a century old, a dictionary is indispenable. Meanings change.

Read slowly, carefully, attentively. Good poems yield more if read twice and the best poems - after 10, 20, or 100 times.

Read the poem aloud or have someone else read it to you. You may discover meanings you didn't perceive before. Deciding how to speak a poem can be an excellent method of getting to understand it. We all make our own interpretations. Our individual perceptions/understandings can not be proven wrong.

Try paraphrasing a poem (line by line). Put into your own words what you understand the poem to say. This may seem heartless, but a good poem can stand it. Paraphrasing can also help you see the thought of the poem, its theme.

A "Glossary of Literary Terms" specific to poetry has been provided. It may be helpful to you as you become more acquainted in the pleasure of reading poetry.) GLOSSARY OF POETRY TERMS The listing is in no way a complete listing of all literary terms associated with poetry or literature in general.

Keep in mind the following:


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