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Earlier this week, a friend asked me how to read a poem. It was a question I have been asked before, and so I felt I should know how to give a better answer than I did. Of course, it may depend on the poem, and the mind and the training of the mind of the reader. A good response to the question will take these things into account.
The exchange stayed with me, so I took some of the phrases of my answer, and wrote them in my notebook sitting on the garden bench later in the day. I found they formed a a small poem themselves, inviting other words to join them – it’s what they seemed to want to do.
I begin with the mind – at school, so many of us ended up approaching poetry as if it were a form of cryptography, as if the…
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