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.
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.
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.