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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illmatic View Post
    Well I studied a lot of poetry in high school and the teacher would find all these abstract connections and realize small details about a poem that are so abstract.

    I was wondering when these poets write them do they actually incorporate all these different meanings to it? Or does everyone have a different interpretation to these poems? Like when a teacher goes 'Robert Frost has clever done.....' I think to myself 'did Robert Frost really do that on purpose'?
    I'm still in school and I enjoy analyzing poems. I think applying your own horizon of understanding and trying to get behind the poet's intended meaning is equally important for a good interpretation. Like with any text, everyone has their own preunderstanding they subconsciously bring along when reading a poem... or a text in general. So it's only natural there are different ways to interpret something but this doesn't mean interpretation can be completely random... I think interpretation in the end should be a fair compromise between your own view and what you can safely say about the author's (what you can observe and prove in the text).

    Quote Originally Posted by nebbykoo View Post
    I don't want to interpret poetry. I want to just experience it.
    I have studied music theory, counterpoint, all of that, and it's hard not to let that knowledge get in the way sometimes. I don't want to analyze everything like that. It takes from the magic.
    Hm, for me a better understanding of a poem is what really enables me to enjoy it. What makes poetry distinctive from other froms of literature IMO is that you can express a lot without using much words... it's very compact. I see where you're coming from, but I think if a form of literature is worth interpreting, it's poetry.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member Kurt.Is.God's Avatar
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    I'm trying to get what you mean by this.

    If the words sound nice, or if the imagery is nice, or if it conveys a feeling (all things which are more often than not immediately obvious to me), I guess I can appreciate it too--is this what you're going at? You care more about these immediate elements than about the way the theme is woven into them? But I read mainly for the poet's ways of carrying out their theme THROUGH images, or feelings, or the sound of words. So I guess it's just a difference in preferences.

    Also, I get most of it the first time I read it, so usually that first time is the STRONGEST I feel for a poem when I read it. I'm a sucker for novelty. When I go back an analyze it, it's just elaborating on that appreciation. In that sense, too, I guess I'd rather leave the text mysterious.

    Then I hate learning about the technique involved in the craft. I hate the teacher pointing out to me stuff like "she could only have fit this section here" or "here's why he chose these words". I care about exposing the meanings. Everything else just gets tedious.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt.Is.God View Post
    I'm trying to get what you mean by this.

    If the words sound nice, or if the imagery is nice, or if it conveys a feeling (all things which are more often than not immediately obvious to me), I guess I can appreciate it too--is this what you're going at? You care more about these immediate elements than about the way the theme is woven into them? But I read mainly for the poet's ways of carrying out their theme THROUGH images, or feelings, or the sound of words. So I guess it's just a difference in preferences.

    Also, I get most of it the first time I read it, so usually that first time is the STRONGEST I feel for a poem when I read it. I'm a sucker for novelty. When I go back an analyze it, it's just elaborating on that appreciation. In that sense, too, I guess I'd rather leave the text mysterious.

    Then I hate learning about the technique involved in the craft. I hate the teacher pointing out to me stuff like "she could only have fit this section here" or "here's why he chose these words". I care about exposing the meanings. Everything else just gets tedious.
    I'll just assume this was directed at me ;)

    Not being a native speaker, I have a hard time explaining myself sometimes, so forgive me if my previous post wasn't clear to you.

    I also hate it when the teacher tries to force down his interpretation upon the class as if there's absolutely no way he could possibly be wrong, making me hate a poem. But I like reading a poem several times, detecting anomalies in the rhythm maybe that underline the content nicely, discovering not so obvious stylistic devices, lexical fields, comparing two poems of the same topic and seeing in what ways they are similar and in what ways they are different and why... Basically, the poems I like most are those that don't reveal everything the first time you read it. Of course the atmosphere, the feeling a poem carries is important. But if I can figure out what triggers that feeling, I can appreciate it more than during the first read.
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  4. #14
    Symbolic Herald Vasilisa's Avatar
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    There are times, especially during the experience of art and its creation, that we have to be patient, accept uncertainty, and allow ourselves to be pulled by some experience unknown. Images convey this kind of aliveness. Thats why its moving. Thats why poetry is powerful to me, experiencing the images.


    I still don't know how to work out a poem.

    A poem needs understanding
    through the senses.

    The point of diving in a lake

    is not immediately to swim to the shore

    but to be in the Lake,
    to luxuriate in the sensation of water.

    You do not work the lake out.

    It is an experience beyond thought.

    Poetry soothes and emboldens
    the soul to accept mystery.


    I Love mystery.

    I found your fairy princess
    on the wall in my room.


    And you could make her out?

    She wears a butterfly frock.
    Last edited by Vasilisa; 08-05-2014 at 01:01 AM. Reason: fixed video
    the formless thing which gives things form!
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  5. #15
    Senior Member Kurt.Is.God's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fairwinds View Post
    I'll just assume this was directed at me

    Not being a native speaker, I have a hard time explaining myself sometimes, so forgive me if my previous post wasn't clear to you.

    I also hate it when the teacher tries to force down his interpretation upon the class as if there's absolutely no way he could possibly be wrong, making me hate a poem. But I like reading a poem several times, detecting anomalies in the rhythm maybe that underline the content nicely, discovering not so obvious stylistic devices, lexical fields, comparing two poems of the same topic and seeing in what ways they are similar and in what ways they are different and why... Basically, the poems I like most are those that don't reveal everything the first time you read it. Of course the atmosphere, the feeling a poem carries is important. But if I can figure out what triggers that feeling, I can appreciate it more than during the first read.
    Oh, darn, I'm sorry. It was directed at the starter of the thread.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt.Is.God View Post
    Oh, darn, I'm sorry. It was directed at the starter of the thread.
    No problem, I should have asked before replying... silly me.
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  7. #17
    Member spiderfrommars's Avatar
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    In my experience, nah. I've never really written a poem for which there was one right interpretation, in fact I wait to see what the audience thinks before fully deciding what a poem is about. (There have been exceptions, but those were too subjectively focused to possibly be "correctly" interpreted by someone who didn't know me– maybe even someone who did.)

    This is my artistic philosophy: there's not a right way to interpret a poem. I think art is about the interaction between creator and audience, a synthesis of their minds: the audience takes what is in front of them and interprets it subjectively, based on their own background. So I guess technically there's a "wrong" way to interpret, particularly when serving an agenda through art, but I don't think there's a "right" one. The artist could not have created something with only one interpretation, because audience members A and B are bringing totally different ideas to the table. This is just what I think, though, my artist friends all think something subtly different.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with studying technique, though– and I don't want to imply I don't use technique. But I often do it without knowing why. I juxtapose two words because I find the combination compelling. As a poet, I am a small child. On the other hand, there's a lot I do consciously. And I think there's a lot Frost does consciously. We can't know for certain which bits he did, of course, but it's worth assuming– especially in a class, where you're seeing what you can learn from him– that a lot of it was conscious.

  8. #18
    EvanTheClown (ETC) Clownmaster's Avatar
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  9. #19
    Senior Member Kurt.Is.God's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spiderfrommars View Post
    In my experience, nah. I've never really written a poem for which there was one right interpretation, in fact I wait to see what the audience thinks before fully deciding what a poem is about. (There have been exceptions, but those were too subjectively focused to possibly be "correctly" interpreted by someone who didn't know me– maybe even someone who did.)

    This is my artistic philosophy: there's not a right way to interpret a poem. I think art is about the interaction between creator and audience, a synthesis of their minds: the audience takes what is in front of them and interprets it subjectively, based on their own background. So I guess technically there's a "wrong" way to interpret, particularly when serving an agenda through art, but I don't think there's a "right" one. The artist could not have created something with only one interpretation, because audience members A and B are bringing totally different ideas to the table. This is just what I think, though, my artist friends all think something subtly different.
    I think that if you get that out of a meaning the author didn't intend, then fine. But I do think whatever the author intended most often provides the most cohesion and beauty to the work. And I think building a poem around a definite and intentional theme is the best way to approach it, even if you don't quite understand the theme yourself.

  10. #20
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    I love me some goddamn poetry.
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