Edward Hirsch's How To Read A Poem

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How could a poetry reader and a pilgrim have any similarities? In Edward Hirsch’s “How to Read a Poem” he directly relates the two. After reading his essay, I too, understand the comparison. By using this he makes understand poetry easier to people struggling to find the true meaning of a poem. When reading poetry, I use his three main rules to understand the work; without these rules comparing a pilgrim to a poetry reader understand poems would still be difficult. The comparison gives readers a mind set to shift to, one of a pilgrim in a new land. This opens the readers mind just as the pilgrims opened their minds to new ways of life. Most poems are based on emotions, these feelings can be different from reader to writer. by following Hirsch’s …show more content…

Understanding symbolism, metaphors, foreshadowing, and the construct of stanzas is essential to understanding difficult poems. For the pilgrims they had to outwit wild animals, and hostile natives in their new home. As said by Hirsch in his essay, “It crosses frontiers and outwits the temporal.” Every person once in their life has crossed a frontier, for some it’s a mental frontier, others it’s a physical untraveled land. In “The Mother” the reader must cross a mental frontier, to understand the emotions the writer is expressing. Unless the reader has experienced what is described in the poem some of the emotions will be foreign to them. Not only is the subject and ideology hard to comprehend, but the literary elements can confuse readers. Outwitting the things, they encounter such as word play in a poem, or just the harsh unsettled land that the pilgrims encountered is essential. Most poetry has some form of word play, like in “Eagle Poem”, that makes readers avoid poems all together. In “Eagle Poem” by Joy Harjo symbolism is used to compare the life of an eagle to the circle of life we all face. “Circles of motion. Like eagle that Sunday morning over Salt River.” (Harjo, Joy) This quote is truly where her intensions of the poem begin to show. She does not directly say an eagle flying represents people moving through life, but using Hirsch’s rule her intensions are

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