Even those of us who admire the poems of Laura Riding can find them difficult. This response is what she expected. She believed that true poems are difficult because they are accurate. In A Survey of Modernist Poetry, she and Robert Graves demonstrated how to read difficult poems—slowly. Difficulty requires time, attending to the meanings of every element—language, spelling, punctuation.
This method became the foundation of New Criticism. Re-branded as close reading, it remains the foundation of literary criticism. Following Riding’s example, we will work through a few of her short poems together. The conversation will begin with “Mortal,” an early poem, and then we’ll turn to other poems that registrants will receive in an email before the event.
This free class, led by LRJ scholar Joyce Wexler, will be held over Zoom on May 19 at 12 pm EDT. Registration is required. To register, please fill out the form below: