<p>Need recommendation for a book to help decipher poetry!!!</p>
<p>Both my boys are having to read/decipher poetry in their English classes (YIKES). This last weekend we were all "pulling out hairs" trying to figure out what some stanzas were "saying". (Homework is not usually a group effort but in this case we hoped that 4 heads were better than one -- but we still failed at figuring out some of the phrases.)</p>
<p>WHO can recommend a book or books that can help figure out/interpet what these poets are saying. Sometimes I think we need to be "bi-lingual" in "Poetryese" in order to make any headway -- especially when the poetry is very old and uses unfamiliar words/phrases.</p>
<p>Huge THANKS to all who can advise on this problem! :)</p>
<p>jlauer, I find the internet in general, not just Spark notes, is full of essays and papers on poetry and literature. I've been working my way through Henry James and have found a lot of scholarly work on-line to help me understand and appreciate.</p>
<p>Just Google the name of the poem and/or poet work through the links. Or for fun post some the stumper lines in the parent cafe. I'm sure you'll get a plethora of interpretations.</p>
<p>There is no one book which will help here. Each poet has an individual voice which needs to be understood in order to glean the most meaning from the verse. For instance WB Yeats' poetry is steeped in Irish history and mythology. For instance his poem, "The Valley of the Black Pig", cannot be fully appreciated unless one knows there were prophecies that all of Eire's enemies would be routed in the Valley of the Black Pig.</p>
<p>Hayden Carruth's poem, "The Asylum", is not fully appreciated unless one knows that Hayden had personal experience being in such a god awful place.</p>
<p>However every poem can be understood on some level by a discerning reader, usually an emotional one. The beauty of poetry is to allow the verse to take you to another place even if it is not exzctly the place envisioned by the poet.</p>
<p>It is important to read poetry aloud. I'm not certain why but I believe that it is the way we are "wired" to fully appreciate this are and probably originates from a time when humankind depended on the spoken word to retell histories and myth.</p>
<p>A poem of mine I offer, concieved after visiting the Viet Nam War Memorial.</p>
<p>Black Wall/Wonder Wall</p>
<p>I have avoided our meeting until now.
To assuage guilt or shame?
For a sort of justice presided over the victorious defeat.
The black wall is etched in tears now long ascended as vapor,
While sowing the consecrated ground with a fatal residue,
Stunting forever misplaced confidences.
To earth do you descend or rise up to ward a crystalline sky?
Perhaps individual perspective answers that question.
Lives spent carelessly molder in the dust.
But lives clothed in courageous purpose elude the anchor line
which tether most to an ordinary existance.
I am left alone to search for a name, a configuration of symbolic abstractions
with the power to conjure up memories so tangible
As to fabricate the reality of moments in a distant past.
Pale protests stand at still attention,
Fixing my eyes upon a wonder wall that ressurects the pain.
That heals the scars of a bitter wound.</p>