Study Guide

Eating Poetry Transformation

By Mark Strand

Transformation

There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry. (2-3)

The happiness that comes from eating poetry has some transformative powers too. And since that happiness is the speaker's, we know that it's unique and will likewise influence him in its own special way.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams. (13-15)

Yeah, bad times, kids. The speaker's a kind of dog-man now—maybe not literally, but he's definitely a transformed man. And even though the speaker tries to convey his new self to the librarian, she just can't understand it. So transformations are only transformative for the speaker here.

I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark. (16-18)

The speaker is right at home with his transformation and doesn't find his barking and snarling weird at all. But for those outside of the transformation, the whole thing looks mighty weird and frightening even. Nonetheless, he romps with joy at this transformation and doesn't pay the librarian much mind.

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