Reading poetry

Poetry is hard to understand, even for the people who are familiar with the poem’s original language. It requires a “feel” of the nuances of the language. And so, it is quite a challenge for a foreigner to fully grasp the meanings of an English poem.

I fear of the day when my frustration with my inabilities would kill my desire to understand English literature altogether. I know that it takes a while for pieces of a new concept to connect inside a human brain. But that assurance is losing its power over me while my impatience finds its way to creep in.

I wonder whether the cause to the frustration is my overestimation of my own English skills. Now that I’m able to read modern prose with ease, the inability to understand old English or the strange language of poetry is like a tap of cold water to my face, reminding me that I’m not that good of a foreign reader.

Fortunately it’s getting cooler in Hanoi these days, which means I’m finally gaining some more willpower due to the fine whether. Here’s hoping a new online course from UPenn can help me become an okay poetry reader, eventually.


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