I recently came across a reference to “close reading”. Timothy Shanahan defines close reading as “intensive analysis of a text to come to terms with what it says, how it says it, and what it means.” Intrigued, I began a little research which led me down a rabbit hole of New Criticism, literary theory, American literary criticism, and reader-response theory. It got me to thinking, which is what I believe is the point of reading, and by extension, writing solidifies thinking.
The concepts seemed natural as if someone had trained me in the processes while I was unaware. Reading more, I recalled my fifth-grade teacher instructing us on how to read for comprehension. In high school, an AP English teacher had us parse entire poems. We dissected each stanza into its components, identified them grammatically, and wrote papers to explain the inflections and syntactical relationships used by the poet. Once finished, we wrote more papers on the same poems describing how they made us feel. It embedded those works in my memory.
When I read, I hear the author’s voice echoing in my head. Their thoughts and feelings expand my universe and touch my heart, forever changing who I am.
Does your reading change your perspective?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer