Essays / Faculty

Martha Rhodes on Teaching Poetry

“Where is the reader now? now? now?”


51929815-3eef-4940-ac8e-63c182f2c5a8“Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs/
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing/
Deeper down in the well than where the water/
Gives me back in a shining surface picture/
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike/
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.”
(From “For Once, Then, Something” by Robert Frost in Harper’s Magazine, July 1920.)

I believe in revision, deep revision. And so, I ask myself as a writer, and those writers I work with, to challenge the poem in every way—from the words themselves, to the order of the words (syntax), to structure—punctuation, pacing, tone, temperature—all the elements that make up the poem need to be looked at and evaluated. I believe that the relationship between poem (not poet) and reader is of utmost importance so I teach with this relationship in mind—where is the reader now? now? now?  Answer that, and we begin to understand how to move around in our own poems, how to revise them.

APPLY to the Conference on Poetry

READ MORE about Martha Rhodes

POEMS by Martha Rhodes at frostplace.org

CHECK OUT Martha Rhodes’ website

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