How to read poems here

by Wolf Pascoe on August 17, 2010

A poem is an arrow aimed straight to your heart. You see these arrows everywhere–on subway posters, bus benches, newspapers, magazines. You’re going to see poems in this blog from time to time. They’ll be in italics. I tend to like poems not because they can be pretty, which they can, but because they can be valuable. Poems often say valuable things that are impossible to say in other ways. No one knows how they do this. They just do. Like the poem, Danse Russe, by William Carlos Williams, below. What’s it saying to dads? That it’s important to have time alone, when the Internet is turned off? Who knows?

After years of wrestling poems, I’ve come to the conclusion that no poem is for everyone. There’s a few hundred thousand poems I can’t stand. Somebody once said, “If it’s not a pleasure, it’s not a poem.” So when you find a poem, here or anywhere, try it out. If it feels right, great. If it’s not a pleasure, move on without worry.

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