Can you really teach someone how to read a poem?

Some mystery surrounds the teaching of poetry, as well it should–to an extent. Poetry cannot and should not be standardized or reduced to a multiple-choice quiz. As Billy Collins writes, you should “feel the walls for a light switch” and find your own way through the room of a poem. However, even the most dedicated wanderer can use a flashlight from time to time, and How to Read a Poem gives you the tools to find an entry way, one exhilarating step at a time.

Why is reading poetry important?

Like music or painting or dance, poetry speaks the unspeakable. In a world of distractions, it slows us down and requires us to think and feel in new, complex ways. It can entertain or upset. Inform or stir to action. Keep us awake with images and phrases that get under our skin. In short, poetry reminds us that we are alive.

What’s with all this Billy Collins stuff?

A few years ago, author Tania Runyan wrote a series of blog posts about how former Poet Laureate Billy Collins’s poem, “Introduction to Poetry,” provides an intriguing framework for reading–and loving–poetry. Before long, these blog posts grew into a book and anthology. Read the whole story here.

I love reading poems. Now how do I write them?

Check out How to Read a Poem’s companion volume, How to Write a Poem! It follows the same organizational framework and can be used alone or in conjunction with the reading text. Launching a poetry unit in your classroom or living room? Buy both and have fun!

Do I need permission to reprint the poems from How to Read a Poem or How to Write a Poem?

We know you love the poems in the anthology portions of these books. We do, too! Poems that aren’t listed in the Permissions pages are considered public domain and are free for anyone’s use. You may also use poems, if credited, from collections published by T.S. Poetry Press. All other poems require permission from the author and/or publisher before reprinting.

Can I get my poetry published on your website?

As How to Write a Poem explains, nothing completes the writing process like finding a real-live audience for your work. Want to meet other poets, discover writing prompts, and, yes, find a place to publish your poems online? Go to Tweetspeak Poetry for the tools and prompts you need to help you live the writing life, then share a poem with their community. They might feature you!

Is it possible to get Tania Runyan as an event speaker?

Tania speaks frequently at writing and arts conferences, festivals, and workshops. Go to TaniaRunyan.com to contact her and find out more about her publications and events.

How do I arrange to have Tania Runyan Skype in with my classroom?

When you adopt How to Read a Poem or How to Write a Poem (or both!) for your classroom, Tania will Skype into your classroom for a brief workshop, discussion, or Q & A–free of charge! Contact the author at TaniaRunyan.com.