Friday, August 19, 2011

Poetry Friday -- Found Poem

Flickr Creative Commons licensed photo by Thokrates


FIT TO BE CALLED READING
by Robert Louis Stevenson


In anything fit to be called
by the name of reading,
the process itself
should be
absorbing
and
voluptuous;

we should gloat over a book,
be rapt
clean out of ourselves
and rise from the perusal,
our mind
filled
with the busiest,
kaleidoscopic dance of images,
incapable of sleep
or of continuous thought.

The words,
if the book be eloquent,
should run thenceforth in our ears like the noise of
breakers,

and the story,
if it be a story,
repeat itself in a thousand coloured pictures
to the eye.

from Memories and Portraits, but found in The Pocket R. L. S. : Being Favourite Passages From the Works of Stevenson, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922



Thank you, AJ, for sharing this passage-turned-poem (by me) in your little leather-bound 1922 collection of R. L. S. quotes and passages.

Here are a couple of links from some recent discussions about the love of reading:
Alan Jacobs in The Journal of Higher Education
and a response from
Donalyn Miller at Education Week.

Where do you stand on the love of reading?



Today, the Poetry Friday Round Up is at Dori Reads.

8 comments:

  1. Great job turning the passage into a poem, Mary Lee! I love the last "stanza" in particular. Beautiful.

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  2. Yep - I love that last "stanza" too! Thanks for sharing, and for the two links. Hmmmm.... lots of food for thought in those. I'll be forever grateful that reading was an unquestioned, pleasurable part of life in my family. And I still remember the thrill of listening to elementary teachers read the LITTLE HOUSE books and KON TIKI in class. Our culture doesn't encourage sustained attention or quiet reflection - one reason it's so important to make poetry available to children.

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  3. Well done, Mary Lee! I'd say that passage is truly poetry.

    I think reading aloud to young children is of the greatest import. When I was teaching, read-aloud time was my favorite part of the school day. I think it was my students' favorite time too. I think the "powers that be" don't understand the educational significance of reading aloud to children. I think it's especially important for children who are struggling readers. Many of them are excellent listeners. Children learn so much from hearing and reading quality literature.

    Have a great school year!

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  4. These are the lines that spoke to me:
    "we should gloat over a book,
    be rapt
    clean out of ourselves
    and rise from the perusal,
    our mind
    filled
    with the busiest,
    kaleidoscopic dance of images,
    incapable of sleep
    or of continuous thought."
    - total absorption over a piece of literature = bliss.

    My nine year old daughter has just memorized The Land of Nod by Robert Louis Stevenson this week (as assigned by their teacher who has great taste) - so it's really nice to read another Stevenson poem this week.

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  5. Very cool idea to turn the passage into a poem! What beautiful, lyrical words. Last stanza is my favorite too :).

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  6. Don't you love the thought that a book makes you incapable of sleep? I can remember many nights when I read beneath the covers or got up to find out what would happen next.

    Thanks for sharing this.

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  7. Reading as "absorbing and voluptuous"...I love that! This is exactly how I want my students to think of reading...

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  8. This week I sank into a beautiful bath in a bathroom alight with candles...reading Annie Dillard's PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK. This found poem illustrates exactly how I felt. Lovely! A.

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