A book, too, can be a star, explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”
A study out of York University reported that people who often read fiction appear to be better able to understand others, empathize with them and view the world from their perspective. This connection persisted even after the researchers factored in the possibility that more empathetic people might choose to read more novels. A similar study found the same result in children: the more stories they had read to them, the sharper their “theory of mind, ” or mental model of other people’s intentions.
In the words of journalist Annie Murphy Paul, “Deep reading—as opposed to the often superficial reading we do on the Web—is an endangered practice, one we should take steps to preserve as we would a historic building or a significant work of art. The disappearance of deep reading would imperil the intellectual development of generations growing up online, as well as the perpetuation of a critical part of our culture: the novels, poems, and other kinds of literature that can be appreciated only by readers whose brains, quite literally, have been trained to apprehend them.”
Essayist Susan Sontag once noted, “Literature is freedom.” How have books shaped you? What is the importance of reading in your life? Who would you be if not for books? Dig deep and write a poem reflecting on these questions.
From last week’s poetry prompt, here is a poem we enjoyed from Donna:
His Wink was His Bond –
“I’ll show you this trick
on the next rainy Tuesday”
and shuffled again.
The card trick has faded
but fifty years later
I still see a wink
and the rain.
Photo by Sam Greenhalgh. Creative Commons via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland