Study Guide

Eating Poetry Transformation

By Mark Strand

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It's kind of like Transformers, but without the robot cars, the mega-explosions, and Megan Fox. That's disappointing, we know, but the idea of transformation is just as important in "Eating Poetry." For the speaker, his transformation is largely due to the joy he experiences from eating poetry. But it's also influenced by those hellish-looking burning dogs. So we've got a little bit of good, and a little bit of the not so good in his sudden dog-man transformation. Take 'em both together, and we have a transformative experience for our speaker that he seems to eventually appreciate fully.

Questions About Transformation

  1. How is the speaker transformed by the end of "Eating Poetry"? How is he a "new man"?
  2. How does all the poetry eating contribute to his transformation? And what's it got to do with burning dogs?
  3. Is the librarian transformed at all by the end of the poem? Why or why not?
  4. How does the speaker's version of reality contribute to his transformation? If there weren't any burning dogs, would he still be a "new man"?

Chew on This

Transformations and versions of reality go hand-in-hand in "Eating Poetry" (like chocolate and peanut butter). Without the speaker's weird perspective, he might not have ended up a "new man."

Poetry reading plays a big part in the speaker's transformation, but this transformation can also symbolize the life-changing influence of any personal enjoyment.

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