Learning to Understand Poetry

I delved into poetry in high school. One author we read often was John Donne. At the time, I

found his poetry extremely hard to understand and harsh in tone. So, I wrote him off as a poet I would

never comprehend and left it at that. I also wrote off poetry. I could comprehend prose better and stuck

with that.

About four years later, I came across a HBO movie

Wit starring Emma Thompson. This movie

describes what it is like to die from cancer. The loneliness, the desire to interact with others, the ultimate fear

of death. Well, the person dying from this horrible disease was a Doctor of Philosophy specializing in

the metaphysical poetry of John Donne. Throughout the movie she recites the Holy Sonnets focusing

on Holy Sonnet VI.

Listening to the poem, rather than reading it myself brought it to life for me. I could hear the tone John

Donne was setting. I could sense the dread of facing death. I could feel the relief that “Death is just a

breath, a pause between life and life everlasting” (Wit)

This new-found understanding of John Donne made me want to find more of his poetry, in particular

his Holy Sonnets. They became prayers to me. I was able to find more of his Holy Sonnets in my

prayer books.

While John Donne is still very difficult to understand properly, I have come to appreciate his work even

more. By understanding how to read poetry, I hope to gain a deeper appreciation for the art that is

poetry and fall in love with it even more.


Has a book ever brought you to tears?

Oh yes. Most of the books I read tend to be emotionally engaging and require tissues by my side. I find that if a book does not engage me emotionally or intellectually, I cannot read it. If it engages me emotioally, it is hard to put down. A couple of the books I have read recently that have brought me to tears are Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and Until We Meet Again.

I leave this open to my dear sister bloggers to continue 😀


Ah, Mark Twain: Follow up for Emily

Okay Emily,

To explain my book list…adding Mark Twain. One, he a Classic Literary Author, and I think for a well-rounded reader, they will read the classics, whether they like them or not. Yes, he can be hard to read at times, but he is a great author when it comes to learning how to analyze books.

He is hard to read because of his colloquial style of writing. You almost have to read his books out loud in order to get it. He is also a satirical writer, so you have to understand the time period setting of the book to “get it”

I am not a big fan of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, but I did like A Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. I have not read his Joan of Arc, but have read some mixed reviews on that one.