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Reading Poetry Matters: Relish Poetry and become vigilant, Observant & rational

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By: Rifat Raees khan

          A word is dead when it is said, some say.

              I say just begins to live that day.

Emily Dickinson invites her readers to expound upon the life of a word. Words when place together with strenuous effort to find certain form and meaning becomes a poem. To read a good poem is like to visit a new world as Keats pronounces:

          ‘ much have I travelled in the realm of gold

         and many goodly states and kingdoms seen

Why should we read poetry and how can it inspire us towards a successful and accomplished life. In fast pacing world no one has time for literature as it doesn’t offer any immediate monetary returns which has become the most daunting question lately. 

Robert Graves discard this whole money question by saying ‘there is no money in poetry, but there is no poetry in money either’. 

This may be the reason that literature is still thriving every year large number of books are being published and sold out throughout the world.

Poetry has always been regarded as a menace because of its tentative and implicit impact.   

It has always remain in the hands of some gifted ones, as it is considered not everyone’s cup of tea.  Let alone to read modern poetry that is unanimously considered difficult and seems to make no sense at all.

Inverted syntax, twisted grammar, unique metaphors, amazingly subtle imagery and highly inflected with allusion. Reading poetry is to take a long haul to a difficult peak. It is challenging, provocative and unexpected and so is the modern life.  

Poetry can nurture some basic dispositions that are acutely essential and extremely relevant in current scenario. It creates an extent of attentiveness, that has been alleged unattainable in an exuberant world that has unlimited means of distractions.

Echoing abomination of paying attention in the educational institutions can be mitigated by offering poetry classes. It is a disciplined that cultivate alertness.

Reading poetry demands a deliberate refusal to avert one’s attention and requires to attend consciously and carefully to the words, images, metaphors, similes and language which poet uses to invoke a sense of the world that exists in his own mind in the minds of the readers.

The way an efficient reader examines a poem, nurtures a habit of looking an object carefully, that enable us to perceive it in a better way and perception lays the foundation for actions. As Emily Dickinson writes in her poem:

Perception in itself a Gain

Second attribute that reading poetry can foster among its readers is developing logical reasoning as Edward Hirsch argues in his book ‘How to Read a Poem and fall in Love with Poetry, “Poetry evokes a language that moves beyond the literal and, consequently, a mode of thinking that moves beyond the literal.”

Because poets use language in unique and often challenging ways, reading poetry, like reading fiction, is an ideal way of developing complex reasoning.

A poem invites the reader to look at the printed words carefully to find out extrinsic meaning and to imagine what is not there to know the intrinsic or implied meaning. It has ample gaps and spaces that must be fill in by the readers.  

The poet relies on the reader to reconstruct their version by substituting the gaps or spaces in a poem with their own judgements and sentiments. The very best poetry is, therefore, profoundly participatory.

Whether you are a scientist, a lawyer, a doctor, an artist or an entrepreneur to be attentive, observant and rational are the core skills required to be successful.

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