Understanding Poetry. Essay

1432 words - 6 pages

Reading poetry was once viewed as a religious act, poets were perceived with the same respect as magicians and priests. It was also believed that poems could only be written with supernatural assistance. (Literature p.739) Today, poetry is often overlooked or not enjoyed to the fullest extent due to the level of difficulty understanding it. Poetry is not as important to today's society, and therefore the skills necessary to gain the fullest benefit from it are not taught, as they should be. A single poem can give different meanings to different readers; it can reach deep within the reader and give intrinsic values, and can convey emotions not seen on the surface. Therefore it is a very important, fulfilling part of literature that we need to gain the skills necessary to appreciate it, as we should.When learning to read poetry, there are six steps to remember that make comprehension easier. Knowing what kind of poetry you are reading and familiarizing yourself with some of the types of poetry make for more enjoyable reading. In poetry there is often a voice, when you know how to listen for the voice and what element of voice you are looking for, the flow of reading goes smoother. There are some keys to pick up on when reading that will help the reader to better understand the meaning of the poem. This essay will discuss these points in detail, and hopefully leave the reader with a greater feel of poetry.There are six steps to keep in mind when you are trying to read a poem that will make the meaning clearer and understanding easier. (Literature p.742-43)ØRead straight through it. Read straight through the poem without dwelling or trying to gain any meaning.ØReread. Reread the poem and try to make sense of what you are reading.ØTake time. Reflect on any parts that you may have had difficulty with.ØParaphrase. Put the words of the poem into your own. Break it down line by line and record it on another sheet of paper.ØRead aloud. Read the poem aloud or have it read aloud to you, and get the feel of the poem.ØDictionary. Go back and use a dictionary on any word/words that you did not fully understand.Following these steps while reading poetry will heighten the overall experience and enjoyment of poetry, and will help add a new respect for it as well.Poetry is easier to understand when you know something about the different types of poetry. The three types that we will discuss are the most common types: lyric poetry, narrative poetry, and dramatic poetry.Lyric poetry is often seen as a poem made for singing, but that is not its only characteristic, a lyric poem stresses moments of feeling, most often reflects the thoughts and feelings of a single speaker, and has a valuable impact to make. (On Reading Lyric Poetry) This type of poetry is considered "lyrical" because it "sings" its way into the minds and memories of the reader; and is usually written in personal or descriptive format. (Children's Literature) The...

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