How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch is the most passionate, love filled book about the writing of poetry. It changed how I read and wrote poetry. It changed the way I taught!
This book isn’t prescriptive. No hard and fast rules here.
This is written by a person who loves poetry and wants readers to love it as well. I took this philosophy into my teaching of literature. I want my students to find things they enjoy reading – which I hope will encourage them to read more. We don’t spend hours analyzing poetry only to be told we’re wrong (how many of us have those high school memories?!).
Reading poetry should be like taking a warm bath, sinking into the steamy water, enjoying the bubbles against your skin, the scent wafting over you.
As for writing poetry, it seems there are no rights or wrongs. He suggests you give colors sounds, sounds feelings, etc. My writing grew more descriptive, creative, beautiful. I took chances and created new meaning in the relationship between words and ideas. I stretched my poetry muscles and it has paid off. This month, I plan to share some of my poetry with you.
It was the most illuminating, freeing book I’ve read throughout my academic and writing career.