Study Guide

Eating Poetry The Librarian

By Mark Strand

The Librarian

We kind of feel bad for her, right? She's sad, she's got some dog-man eating poems in her library, and she just doesn't get any of it. At the same time though, she also represents the inability of any outside party to truly understand someone else's personal experience. So, even if we feel bad for her, we also get that this is just the reality behind any individual experience. She might also be representative of the bookish types who are awfully well read, but still don't get the world around them (or those weird, delicious poems).

  • Lines 4-6: She sees the speaker chowing down on some poems and she can't believe it. But after seeing how happy he is, she can't help but think about how unhappy she is.Ā 
  • Lines 12-13: Here she's stamping her feet and weeping because she just doesn't understand anything that's going on. By now her sadness has escalated while the speaker is feeling right at home with all the weirdness, since he's the one experiencing it.
  • Lines 14-15: Now the speaker is licking her hand, as if things weren't weird enough. By now she's frightened and she "screams." So we get the sense that her inability to understand has also made her feel afraid of what she's seeing from an outsider's perspective.

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