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Eating Poetry Analysis



Author: poem of Mark Strand Type: poem Views: 24

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Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.

There is no happiness like mine.

I have been eating poetry.



The librarian does not believe what she sees.

Her eyes are sad

and she walks with her hands in her dress.



The poems are gone.

The light is dim.

The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.



Their eyeballs roll,

their blond legs burn like brush.

The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.



She does not understand.

When I get on my knees and lick her hand,

she screams.



I am a new man.

I snarl at her and bark.

I romp with joy in the bookish dark.






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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| Posted on 2016-10-27 | by a guest


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This poem has the ability to burn itself into your brain and scar you forever. It is full of the most wonderful imagery about the author's love of poetry and the freedom it gives him to explore the possibilities of the written word. The language is straightforward, but the imagery is surreal. I don't think it carries too many hidden messages. The dogs leaping up the stairs from the basement like tongues of flame and the librarian may both be a threat to the freedom of poetry, but both can be used and maniulated into whatever the writer of poetry wishes to do with them.

| Posted on 2014-12-28 | by a guest


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Perhaps it was said best as simply a bizarre metaphor that depicts his love for poetry and his mad desperation to have more of it.
Still, I teach this poem and the problem with it (as seen here clearly) and poetry in general is that all everyone want to discuss is the freaking meaning. Did you get it? I didn't get it, did you? Poetry is so much more than meaning. It is sound. It is language. It's cadence. Blond legs burn like brush, snarl and bark, the bookish dark. It's about so much more than understanding what it means.

| Posted on 2013-09-30 | by a guest


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i think its about am man who is cray because of the love of poetry and therefore reacts to things like a dog(a new perspective) The librarian( us) does not understand how to react because we have not looked at things with a new perespective but the man is

| Posted on 2013-08-11 | by a guest


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How I interpret this poem is that the man is enjoying poetry and making a general mess reading them and wearing them down. The dogs however represent uncultured people or books. The librarian does not understand what they are doing there. The man jumps down and follows the dogs. The part saying bookish dark means a lack of intellectual books only books that these\"dogs\" can understand.

| Posted on 2013-04-09 | by a guest


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I agree, i think this poem is about a fire consuming poetry, which explains the reason the librarian is so devastated to see everything being burned to her feet. when \'he\', as in the fire, licks her hand, she screams too.
Although, a lot of the posts have suggested that it is actually a man. Either way, it is one of the most intriguing poems i have ever read.

| Posted on 2013-02-05 | by a guest


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This poem is from the perspective of a fire that is burning down a library.

| Posted on 2012-10-04 | by a guest


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how many syllable in each stanza in the poem eating poetry.

| Posted on 2012-06-21 | by a guest


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This poem interests everyone young or old and in all this is a a dazziling poem. I persomly recomomend this poem to one and all. it s AMAZING!
- Sara Hertz

| Posted on 2012-04-30 | by a guest


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i introduce this poem to my 8th graders. they are, as i am, both drawn and compelled by it! here are my ideas, for what their worth--but i try to refrain from \"explaining\" it to them. i want them to struggle with it. here goes: man eats poetry. he wants it. he celebrates it. the poems feeds him. he can\'t get enough. he is so happy! the librarian sees this and doesn\'t know how to react. she is overly self-controlled, quiet, joy-less, prone to categorize things into small compartments. maybe she works too hard. now that the poems are gone (he has eaten them all), the light (of life, wisdom, expression, beauty) is gone for now. i\'m not sure who or what the dogs are. perhaps they are our \"wild\" nature, finally set free. since they come up from the basement, they have been there all along, and not have gotten loose. they are both compelling and frightening, not responsive to systematic control. their eyeballs roll; they also \"burn.\" the librarian doesn\'t understand this way of life or thinking. it is not only alien to her, it is baffling and frightful. she can\'t accept it. the \"crazy\" man has joined the dogs in their wild-ness--in fact, he has fully embraced them and has become one of \"them,\" leaving behind his \"controlled\" human nature for a wilder, freer nature. he tries to submit to her (licking a hand is submission for dogs), to show her not to be afraid, even possibly to invite her to come along, but she screams. she cannot deal with it. but he moves past this. he doesn\'t care anymore. he is a new man. a joyful man. a man released from the narrow confines of how people like the librarian view what it means to be human. he ROMPS with joy (i love that image) and he doesn\'t even care if it\'s dark. he is unafraid of what is to come because he has found who he truly is. through poetry. yay.

| Posted on 2012-02-22 | by a guest


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this poem is about how poetry can transform you as a human. He talks about in the beginning the destruction of poetry; said by Mark in his poem “Ink runs from the corners of my mouth… I have been eating poetry.” I believe the man who ate the poem is transformed into a dog because of the fact that the librarian doesn’t believe what she sees, which means she could not believe he transformed. He also states the lights are dim, which is true for a dog because of the fact they only see black and white, not colors like humans. The man must be close to the librarian because she weeps and stomps her feet. At the end when he licks her, he is in mid-transformation and therefore is becoming the dog. When he becomes a new man – which we know is not man but dog – he snarls and barks at her. This poems purpose was to show what poetry can do to us. It can’t transform us in literal state but it can transform us as people and that is what Strand is trying to tell us in this poem.

| Posted on 2011-06-22 | by a guest


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I think this poem is a lament about the absence of poetry, or the absence of its influence, in modern life. The first stanza, I think, isn\'t about the enjoyment of poetry, it\'s about the destruction of poetry. In the second stanza, the librarian, a symbol of literacy and cultural refinement, is helpless and saddened. In the third stanza, the poems are gone, darkness descends, and chaos, in the form of the dogs, rises. The librarian is helpless against the rising tide of barbarity. She screams when the narrator, who is barbarous himself, licks her hand. As he says in the last stanza, he is the new (barbarous) man. He snarls and barks at the librarian (and what she stands for). He is free to do what he wants (\"romps\") in the \"bookish darkness\" (the dark time, as far as books are concerned).

| Posted on 2011-06-08 | by a guest


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In Strand’s poem, “Eating Poetry,” he expresses the ways in which he loves poetry by using an extended metaphor of him eating poetry and becoming a dog hungry for poetry. While in the library, he literally eats all the poetry and the librarian gets upset: “ When I get on my knees and lick her hand,/ she screams./ I am a new man./I snarl at her and bark.” In these lines, Strand creates the image of becoming desperate for more poetry. So desperate that he acts like a dog, barking and licking the librarian’s hands. He depicts haunting images of snarling dogs and crying Librarians, therefore giving the sense that Poetry has a frightening power. Strand depicts the power that poetry has over him and how poetry can literally transform you.

| Posted on 2011-05-02 | by a guest


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his has to be the craziest poem I have read in a while, but I am completely drawn to it!I knew it wasn\'t literal from the beginning but I could not for the life of me deduce a meaning for the metaphor. I read several interpretations online but none really fit for me. So I came up with this: this poem is about a man who has discovered poetry. He is \"crazy\" about them, hence the image of a man eating poetry with ink running down his face. Each stanza seems to have a tone shift. The second one I think represents us as the reader. The librarian, or us, judge or gawk at this man in such a crazy state over a few simple words. It\'s something we are not accustomed to. The readers are not supposed to have a strong opinion on poetry. The third stanza is where it gets really weird. I think Strand uses the dog as a symbol of critics of poetry; this could also be us as readers, but more likely it is those with premeditated opinions. The dogs continue to the third stanza violently attacking the man who just discovered poetry and the library is the observer, still not completely taking a side. She is frightened, unsure which side to take until the man turns into a dog as well?? I don\'t think the symbol of the dog continues as a critic. He starts by licking the librarians hand, and she is frightened by him. He has transformed and is trying to share his new found passion with her. In the last stanza he says, \"I am a new man.\" He snarls, and then \"romp(s) with joy in the bookish dark.\" I think he has transformed with his new discovery and he is determined to not give up this passion for anything, not even for the all mighty librarian. He has conquered himself and accepted his new joys.

| Posted on 2011-04-25 | by a guest


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In the poem \"eating poetry\" by mark strand, the narrator is hungry for the poems and eating it so much makes him go wild because he is in love with the poetry that he wants more and more of it as he tastes. the theme of poetry creating a world that the readers can live in with their imagination gone wild because more the readers reads a poem, he/she wants some more, is depicted in the poem by the use of tone and imagery.
The poem stars with a joyfull tone and shifts to nervous and peaceful respectively, as the poem is further depicted. for example at the beginning of the poem, the narrator uses words like \"happiness\" to emphazise poets hunger for poetry by creating a joyfull tone. later on, it is seen that the librarian is \"sad\" because of seeing the narrator as a wild men. to create a nervous tone, poet uses words like \"gone\", \"poor\" and \"weep\". by describing how weird the narrators love for poetry is to the librarian, it is conveyed that it may seem strange to people who are not in love with the poems because the imagery world poems help the readers to create are special which only the readers can understand.
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| Posted on 2011-03-22 | by a guest


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You are all looking at this poem WAY too literally. Ink poisoning??? Nooo! It\'s all a metaphor, hypothetical, just thoughts. Don\'t take this so literally... be creative and have an open mind about it because THAT is the way to read and analyze poetry.
=) Keep working at it!! =)

| Posted on 2011-01-13 | by a guest


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I think, this is just an opinion, that the author is a poet who is exploring different contreversial subjects. He begins to eat the poetry. He hungers for more. The librarian is traditional valued poetry and weeps at the sight. The dogs, being the critics, are coming for him. He tries to reconcile with traditional poetry, but when she refuses to forgive, he turns his back completely and becomes a new man. A new poet.

| Posted on 2010-06-23 | by a guest


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I think, this is just an opinion, that the author is a poet who is exploring different contreversial subjects. He begins to eat the poetry. He hungers for more. The librarian is traditional valued poetry and weeps at the sight. The dogs, being the critics, are coming for him. He tries to reconcile with traditional poetry, but when she refuses to forgive, he turns his back completely and becomes a new man. A new poet.

| Posted on 2010-06-23 | by a guest


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Mark Strands Eating Poetry is a great poem about the characters love for poetry. Each stanza works together to create a cohesive poem that helps put everything together. In the first stanza, Strand paints a picture of a crazy looking man with ink running down the corners of his mouth. The first line describes the ink as it runs down his mouth. This makes a reader think that he was hungrily eating the poetry; he couldnt get enough of it. The next two lines are just plain and simple, he has been eating poetry and he is really enjoying it.
The next three lines bring us to a normal character in the story. Right now, this librarian represents the reader, just as we cant believe what we are reading, the librarian cant believe what she is seeing. This stanza brings some reality into the poem; it also brings opposition. The first stanzas character was very happy while the second stanzas character seems to be upset.
In the third stanza, the atmosphere changes. Because the precious poems are gone, either because they are all eaten up or maybe they have disappeared, the light is dim. This seems to cause chaos, without the poems for the man to eat order cant be held. The chaos can be displayed in the next few lines with the description of the dogs. The diction in this stanza just screams craziness, eyeballs roll, burn, poor, stamp, and weep. All of these words help contribute to the fact that without the poetry, everything gets crazy.
The last two stanzas show confusion and joy. The man in the story ends up licking the librarians hand because apparently he has turned into a dog. This scares the shit out of the librarian because she doesnt know how to react to a man licking her hand like a dog would in her library. In the final stanza, the voice of the poem shares that he is a new man. This could mean that because of his transformation, he is now a man dog. Just like when he was in human form, he ate poetry messily just like a dog would eat food. Everything is mixed around in Eating Poetry by Mark Strand.

| Posted on 2009-11-19 | by a guest


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No, I think it's just a bizarre metaphor that depicts his love for poetry and his mad desperation to have more of it.

| Posted on 2009-10-27 | by a guest


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At first, I thought maybe he narrator was a dog, but then I found out it is actually a man. A rather bizarre man. My thinking says that the bizarre man has literally eaten the poetry and become mercury poisoned. You see, mercury is used in most printing inks, and when the ink gets into the bloodstream, the mercury becomes seperated from it. Therefore, the mercury is more concentrated on its own and may make the person who has ingested it act very, very odd. That is my thinking. Anyone else?

| Posted on 2009-05-12 | by a guest


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At first, I thought maybe he narrator was a dog, but then I found out it is actually a man. A rather bizarre man. My thinking says that the bizarre man has literally eaten the poetry and become mercury poisoned. You see, mercury is used in most printing inks, and when the ink gets into the bloodstream, the mercury becomes seperated from it. Therefore, the mercury is more concentrated on its own and may make the person who has ingested it act very, very odd. That is my thinking. Anyone else?

| Posted on 2009-05-12 | by a guest




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