As a genre, there was a time when poetry and not fiction, certainly not novels, reigned supreme as a literary force. Harken back to your lit classes where Queen Elizabeth I patronized poets who wrote poetry in her honor. Poetry is a much different beast now that encompasses many more formalized kinds of verse structures (like sonnets or sestinas or rondeaus), as well as free and blank verse and everything in between. Poetry is also not the money-making endeavor it maybe once was (though patronage is a precarious way to earn money--and one could argue that patronage is still how people earn some kind of a living as a poet).
But, also, poetry is the bread and butter of teenage angst, of broken hearted 16 year old girls, etc. We've all written that poetry. We all, on some level, sort of regret it.
And yet, how much poetry has anyone actually read lately? I'll admit it, most of my poetry reading happens while I am reading other things in The New Yorker. And yet, I never regret reading the poems, even the ones I can't wrap my head around an upack. Because reading poetry makes me a better reader of everything else. That's not some big important theory; I'm telling you that's what reading poetry does for me.
And that's what I'd like the focus of this ICRN to be for our class. Choose one of the poems that you read for today's class and do a very close reading of it. What is this poem trying to get you to think about--and what does it seem to want you to understand about it? And, secondly, how do you know?
Connect to and build on one other person's interpretation. Point out some other aspect of the poem they are writing about that lends itself to meaning-making in the piece. Do you have a different reading than someone else? Offer it up, with evidence based on the bulleted list above.