Mark Strand was one of the first poets I read as a girl. His stark, matter-of-fact and philosophical lines made me want to be a poet. I have heard him read many times and am always mesmerized by his direct words. Because of this, he seemed like a good choice to share with my students in an Introduction to Literature class populated mainly by non-English majors.
I assigned his Pulitzer Prize winning collection Blizzard of One. Together, we read aloud the long poem The Delirium Waltz and looked at two de Chirico poems that inspired one of the poems. I heard him read The Delirium Waltz at the 92 Street Y a few years ago and the sound of the music, heard best read aloud, came into our 7:30 am class to offer us new insight into the words on the page.
While we were discussing the poet and poetry, we looked at some sections of this Paris Review interview with Mark Strand. I think you’ll enjoy reading through Strand’s responses to questions about how he reads, why we read poetry and more. Here is one of my favorite answers: “You don’t read poetry for the kind of truth that passes for truth in the workaday world. You don’t read a poem to find out how you get to Twenty-fourth Street.”