Why humans like to read poetryJuly 28, 2009 at 6:59 am | Posted in poetry, writing | 21 Comments
Tags: craft, poetry, writing
This post by Stu Hatton, asking why humans like to read poetry set me to to thinking. The quote from Philip Mead that Stu uses in his post suggests that we are attracted to complexity and I agree that whenever a human sees a question, they will attempt to answer it. Curiosity has evolutionary benefits. But I think there is more to it than that.
I started thinking about why humans like to listen to music, I’m sure if you could answer that you would find part of the answer to the poem question. There is the pleasure of extinguishing the self through meditation in music and our first memory being the rhythmic sound of our mother’s heartbeat, the drive to organise the chaos of unfiltered perception and our strange obsession with beauty. All of these can be found in both music and poetry.
And then there is our childish joy in being astonished. Surprised. Delighted. If you could explain why humans like to watch stage magic, you will have gone a long way to explaining why we like to read poetry.
Here is Penn and Teller explaining the seven techniques of poetry in motion.
Palm. Ditch. Steal. Load. Simulation. Misdirection. Switch.
Now, Squires. Explain why the techniques of stage magic are identical to the techniques of poetry. One at a time. (coming soon, unless someone else wants to have a bash at it (insert link))