On Poetry and Pleasure

Larkin Collected PoemsWe read poetry for many reasons… chief of these should be pleasure. Too often however, it is not.

One of the differences between the way we think of music and the way we think of poetry is rooted in this idea of pleasure. Music is viewed in our educational world as something to be appreciatedand enjoyed. Poetry is viewed as something to be understood anddeciphered.

This is why so many people listen to and enjoy music and why so few people read and enjoy poetry.

To quote Philip Larkin (who, like almost all poets, is quite quotable in his prose as well as in his verse ): “First and foremost, writing poems should be a pleasure. So should reading them, by God.”

Poetry is about pleasure. It is why we first loved saying nursery rhymes and reading Dr. Seuss. It is why lines of rhyme and poetry come so often into our heads. And it is why those of us who do write poetry, write it.

Pleasure is at the root of why and how poetry is reviewed at MontanaWriter, and will be at the “son of MontanaWriter” (to be announced soon).

Here is a small poem by Philip Larkin. Enjoy!

What are days for?
Days are where we live.   
They come, they wake us   
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:   
Where can we live but days?
Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor   
In their long coats
Running over the fields.


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