How to Enjoy Poetry

How-to-enjoy-poetryPoetry makes possible the deepest kind of personal possession of the world.”

True poetic practice implies a mind so miraculously attuned and illuminated that it can form words, by a chain of more-than coincidences, into a living entity, ”Edward Hirsch advised in his directive on how to read a poem. But how, exactly, does one cultivate such “true poetic practice”? In an essay plainly, promisingly titled “How to Enjoy Poetry,” found in the 1985 anthology How to Use the Power of the Printed Word— the same treasure trove that gave us Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 timeless rules of writing, and Bill Cosby’s 3 proven strategies for reading faster — the poet and novelist James Dickey, winner of the National Book Award for his poetry collection Buckdancer’s Choice, offers some timeless and breathtakingly articulated advice:

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