How to Read a Poem

Terry Eagleton

ISBN: 9788126562084

192 pages

Exclusively distributed by Atlantic Publisher & Distributors 


In this witty, accessible book, Terry Eagleton argues that the art of reading poetry is as much in danger of becoming extinct as thatching or clog dancing. On the whole, students today are not taught how to be sensitive to language - how to read a poem with due attention to its tone, mood, pitch, pace, rhythm and texture, rather than just to 'what it says'. To demonstrate how this works in practice, the author takes a wide range of poems from the Renaissance to the present day and submits them to brilliantly illuminating close analysis.




1. The Functions of Criticism.

  • The End of Criticism?
  • Politics and Rhetoric.
  • The Death of Experience.


2. What is Poetry?

  • Poetry and Prose.
  • Poetry and Morality.
  • Poetry and Fiction.
  • Poetry and Pragmatism.
  • Poetic Language.


3. Formalists.

  • Literariness.
  • Estrangement.
  • The Semiotics of Yury Lotman.
  • The Incarnational Fallacy.


4. In Pursuit of Form.

  • The Meaning of Form.
  • Form Versus Content.
  • Form as Transcending Content.
  • Poetry and Performance.
  • Two American Examples.


5. How to Read a Poem.

  • Is Criticism Just Subjective.
  • Estrangement.
  • Tone, Mood and Pitch.
  • Intensity and Pace.
  • Texture.
  • Syntax, Grammar and Punctuation.
  • Ambiguity.
  • Punctuation.
  • Rhyme.
  • Rhythm and Metre.
  • Imagery.


6. Four Nature Poems.

  • Ode to Evening'.
  • The Solitary Reaper'.
  • God's Grandeur'.
  • Fifty Faggots'.