In Poetry a few years ago, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) published a charming essay on fitting poem-reading into his daily life: “Happy, Snappy, Sappy... There’s space in the living room for poetry.” Right up front, he announced, “I’ve never had any of the problems with poetry that most people do, i.e., that it’s boring and/or incomprehensible.... I find poetry actually has very little mystery compared to anything else....” Handler clearly has taken hold of the first principle in our list of attitudes and approaches to reading a poem: “Remember That a Poem Is a Communication,” i.e., don’t be intimidated.
For him, the problem was not how to read a poem, but where and when to do it, and the answer was: in his favorite chair in his living room on Saturday night, during the few minutes when he’s all ready to go out and and he’s waiting for his wife. It’s “a perfect slice of time,” just enough to pick up a slim volume, admire the cover, and read one or two poems, or reread one poem several times (another of the approaches we recommend to reading a new poem).
We’re curious about all of you—What’s your favorite place and time for poetry? Do you like to read in bed? Get a poem in email and take time out to read it on the computer? Read a poem on the bus on your way to work? Do tell!