I Want a Girl Who Reads

06 Apr

The first time I heard poet Mark Grist perform the poem I Want a Girl Who Reads, in this video from YouTube, I proceeded to listen to it several times in succession. Not only did I instantly connect to the poem itself and the sentiment behind it, but I was entranced by the way he performed it. I say “perform” and not “recite” because it’s the performance that really brings it home for me.

It’s a poem but he’s not just saying words, he’s telling a story. and how he tells that story is key: the way he lingers on some words and speeds past others, how the  awkwardness is conveyed at the beginning but then morphs into adoring smiles and respectful passion that we can feel as well as hear and see, the shifting gaze as well as the hand movements that emphasize his points. It makes me feel proud to be a girl who reads, validated. and just a bit naughty…

the written version doesn’t have quite the same effect but the sentiment is still there:

I want a girl who reads

“So, what do you go for in a girl?”
He crows, lifting a lager to his lips
Gestures where his mate sits
Downs his glass
“He prefers tits
I prefer ass.
What do you go for in a girl?”

I don’t feel comfortable
The air left the room a long time ago
All eyes are on me
Well, if you must know

I want a girl who reads
Yeah. Reads.
I’m not trying to call you a chauvinist
Cos I know you’re not alone in this

I want a girl who reads
Who needs the written word
& uses the added vocabulary
She gleans from novels and poetry
To hold lively conversation
In a range of social situations

I want a girl who reads
Who’s heart bleeds at the words of Graham Greene
Or even Heat magazine
Who’ll tie back her hair while reading Jane Eyre
and goes cover to cover with each waterstones three for two offer
but I want a girl who doesn’t stop there

I want a girl who reads
Who feeds her addiction for fiction
With unusual poems and plays
That she hunts out in crooked bookshops for days and days and days
She’ll sit addicted at breakfast, soaking up the back of the conflakes box
And the information she gets from what she reads makes her a total fox
Cos she’s interesting & unique
& her theories make me go weak at the knees

I want a girl who reads

A girl who’s eyes will analyse
The menu over dinner
Who’ll use what she learns to kick my ass in arguments
so she always ends the winner
But she’ll still be sweet and she’ll still be flirty
Cos she loves the classics and the classics are dirty
So late at night she’d always have me in a stupor
As she paraphrases the raunchier moments from the works of Jilly Cooper

See, some guys prefer asses
Some prefer tits
And I’m not saying that I don’t like those bits
But what’s more important
What supercedes
For me
Is a girl a with passion, wit and dreams
So I want a girl who reads


Posted by on April 6, 2015 in poetry


Tags: , ,

2 responses to “I Want a Girl Who Reads

  1. Servetus

    April 6, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    This really moved me, too, the first few times I heard it.


    • KellyDS

      April 6, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      I Googled him after I first saw that video and I found out that he’s a teacher who tries to foster a love of words with teenagers through participating in rap battles, traveling around schools and holding workshops, etc. I don’t particularly like rap myself but I do acknowledge that it is a form of poetry and I try to familiarize myself with it for the sake of my teenage son, who loves it. to see an adult who is able and willing to tap into non-traditional ways of getting kids to learn and actually like it, to nurture that need for them to be heard and give them an outlet where they can freely express themselves; I respect that immensely 😎

      Liked by 1 person


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