The fun of poetry comes from the joy of playing with words. The trick to enjoying it comes in how you approach it.
First, let go of the need to “figure out what it means.” Starting this way causes readers to miss what the poet is up to, leading to frustration instead of joyful exploration.
Instead, read this way:
1.Read the poem; just enjoy it, don’t try to understand it.
2.Read the poem again, but try to notice things this time. What words or phrases or ideas strike you as fun, interesting, or confusing.
3.Share your observations and re-read.
4.Ask questions like these: Why did the poet do that? Why did the poet choose this word? What do these words help me see or feel?
5.Continue asking questions until you’ve exhausted your ideas.
6.Re-read the poem again.
By this time, you will find that you are beginning to understand the poem. Happily, instead of trying to force meaning into the poem, you have now tried to make sense of the poem based on observations about how the poet played with the words in his or her poem.
Now that’s having fun playing with words!