Bloom, Poetry, and I
The poetry section of How to Read and Why is certainly harder than the fiction. I've had an especially hard time with Whitman. Dickinson, Houseman, Tennyson, all of those were a little more accessible.
Emphasis on "little."
For enjoyment's sake, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" was a treat.
I do have difficulty. Not so much with the why. Bloom says we should read to improve our self, who we are, not just to be entertained. I don't quibble with that too much, except to say that a little entertainment isn't a bad thing. I also don't have difficulty with how I should read these poems. It takes more effort, because the layers of meaning and the lyric structure takes a different mindset and approach than reading prose, which I find far easier.
My greatest difficulty is understanding how the form works. Even though I believe Bloom when he says the poems and sonnets he's selected are among the best in literature and worthwhile for all to read, I don't understand what their form lends to that judgment. The content and the insight into the self and the struggle of the will and the soul and all that I ken. I can work my way through it and enjoy it. But I don't understand how the form or structure of a poem takes deep and meaningful content and makes it a poem for the ages.
If anyone has any suggestions, please leave a comment. I'm a little frustrated with this right now.