Tag Archives: poetry

How to Read Slowly

I am trying to practice slow reading over the “end of year” interweek, Boxing Day to New Year’s Day.  I am looking especially at new year’s poetry. My first peek is at Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Burning the Old Year”


Here is an image of the poem that I saved to use in the zeega you will see below.

Poems for the new year


I think that you can sometimes see physical intent in a poem by just looking at its shape.  In this case (although I might be imagining this) I do see the lines burning down and shortening like candles.   The number of lines per stanza ‘burns down’ too.  This may by unintentional , but…it is fun to look anyway.


you can join me on Genius.com (membership is free) to annotate the poem.

Burning the Old Year Burning the Old Year by Naomi Shihab Nye : The Poetry Foundation


Here is a zeega that I used to translate her poem into other modes.  I used a totally apt song by Nat Baldwin that just tears me up everytime I hear it.  I edited out some words and replaced them with gifs.  Artistic license in the mashup, OK?


Here’s a Soundcloud reading of the poem.  A few more discoveries from that slow, oral reading.  The images in the fire crackle out to me.  I imagine wrapping paper where I hadn’t before and I see how this poem might have been inspired by a gift on a doorknob that turned into a gift from some Muse.

OK, now I can say that I have read the poem.  It is worth a slow go.  It is a good poem and I can tell you exactly why I think so because as I engaged with it, it engaged right back at me. Maybe you can think of other ways to engage.  I will be using this as an example for an assighment that I will be doing in my online “Intro to Lit” class this spring.  It might even make a fun #dailyconnect or a neat cooperative google doc/hackpad/diigo group annotation.