Your English teacher probably taught that any poem should be read twice. The first time through you try to wrap your head around what’s being said. The second pass is for figuring out how that message is communicated. More often than not with the stuffy old poetry set in front of high school students, reading a poem twice through simply adds insult to injury. With Milton or Wordsworth or Shelly or Shakespeare, that first read is likely an exercise in how little you understood of what just happened and the second time only serves to underscore your inadequacies.
In Marie Howe’s collection The Kingdom of Ordinary Time, a second read serves its intended purpose, revealing nuance, new ideas, new connections. The language of Howe’s poems is simple and modern, but simple words, rightly arranged, can reveal complex ideas. Continue reading “Perfectly Titled: The Kingdom of Ordinary Time by Marie Howe”