How to Listen to Poetry

If you have difficulty listening to poetry, contemplate Philip Wagner's advice.

You may enjoy poetry by listening for its wit, its insight, and its music.

Listen to poetry by attending poetry readings in your local bookstores or colleges.

Here are two other marvelous ways to hear poetry:

Stuff You Can Do At A Boring Poetry Reading
by Philip Wagner

1. Write the names of the people you love
    on the roof of your mouth
    with your tongue.

2. Hum lyrics -
    ones you'll write in green ink
    on your lover's silk underwear.

3. Imagine ... walking around the building
    Sing out the names of everything you see
    and chant the words, I-love-you.

    Take for example this: Wet and Fallen Pine Cone

    All the spent and dented ...
    all the forgotten ...
    all empty beer cans ...
    everything in the gutter,

    and O parking meters
    lonely with no time left for anyone

4. Listen carefully to the poet
    Invent a little prayer for his easy death.
    Recite the mantra: deDUM deDUM, heDUM heDUM

5. See what happens
    when you add the words chicken guts at the end of each stanza.

6. Aurally rewrite a line in Pig Latin
    Rally-o-ray write-o-ray a-ray ine-lay in-ray Ig-pay Atin-lay

7. Move to the front row
    Look into the poet's eyes
    Stare into his corneas
    Go there, &
    with your feet on one side and your two hands on the other
    open his irises real wide
    so the poet can see
    what it is
    he's talking about.

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