Don’t Get Poetry?–Try Climbing It

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4 responses to “Don’t Get Poetry?–Try Climbing It

  1. Reblogged this on These Anointed Ruins and commented:
    An interesting approach to reading poetry. I’m not a climber, but I find the analogy makes sense. It also makes me think of a poem by Robinson Jeffers, “Oh, Lovely Rock”:

  2. Peter

    Another way to get a poem: be an engineer or an architect. In my intro to lit class, which is all non majors, I have been surprised countless times by architects and engineers who see the structural qualities of a poem so much better than I do. It almost seems counter intuitive that an engineer would get a poem so well, but these students have shown me how much overlap there is between engineering, math, and poetry. Would that the rest of the academy could see those overlaps. –Peter

  3. Timing, pauses, and the body moving through the poem: these ideas were helpful just now, listening to W.S. Merwin read his poem “Vixen” (, in particular these lines:

    “as long as it lasted until something that we were
    had ended when you are no longer anything
    let me catch sight of you again going over the wall”

    In his reading, Merwin inserts a very long pause after the word “ended”, a pause which is not obvious in the unpunctuated line. A lesser poet might have made the pause obvious by breaking the line. Thankfully, Merwin has given us a line whose crux rewards the climber’s effort.

  4. Pingback: People Who Claim They Don’t “Get” Poetry | Aaron Moe

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