Dr. Quentin Bailey is an English and Comparative Literature Professor at San Diego State University. Before coming to SDSU, he taught at the University of Oklahoma and received his Masters and Doctorate both in Philosophy from the University of Oxford.
The advice I find myself giving goes back to those ideas about critical thinking. I’d say, don’t think about what you want from a poem; instead, think about what the poem is trying to do.
“Trust that you do, indeed, have a story worth telling, but know that stories don’t tell themselves—it’s the telling that compels readers.”
Literature provides us with a way to explore ideas and try out points of view that we might not want to enact in real life. We can explore crises of identity that allow us to understand ourselves better.