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Why Read Poetry, and How to Get a Life

by Nigel Beale

Epiphany and revelation don’t just bless the poet. Considered reading can also result in ‘new, improved’ ways of seeing and feeling, thinking and oh! behaving for the reader…just like watching ads can…so be careful…a better life doesn’t always mean buying stuff you don’t need…it means cluing in to what truly makes you happy, not what makes advertisers so…

Lyric poems are brief. They exclude, leaving readers to create and complete context. Fears of loss and abandonment can be stirred by the setting sun or a disappearing moon; fantasies of power and desirability by fierce land seascape; peace and joy by a primrose. It’s our experience that makes this so. This and the poets words.

Epiphanies, ‘ah ha’ s, may just arrive for the poet, at which point they scramble to record them (Paul Muldoon suggests, they arrive during the process of creation). For readers it usually takes a bit more work. But pleasure can definitely be had here.

Lyric poetry is often playful. Reading it has been compared to listening to jazz. Larkin wrote brilliantly on how poets play with underlying themes and cleverly return discordant lines to them.

The more we read words, the deeper becomes our understanding and enjoyment; the more we recognize clever and profound connections and riffs between and among different poems; the more we appreciate those experiences that mean the most to humans.

In other words: reading poetry helps you to get a life.

Nigel Beale

Writer, Broadcaster, Marketer, Bibliophile.

Marrying expertise in generating media exposure with an insane, deep-seated love of books, Nigel Beale has, over the past two years, quickly established himself as one of the world’s top literary broadcasters, travelling the globe interviewing an impressive selection of award winning authors and accomplished booksellers, publishers, collectors and experts.

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