I think the reason a lot of people read a poem as a statement or description of the writers feelings or life is pretty simple, so simple I’m amazed you haven’t worked it out yourself.
Those people, who you seem to think slightly dizzy for missing the point, have in fact picked up all the points, decided that the things the writer was writing about were so believable and real, so indiscernible from reality that it makes no difference, they actually believe that the poem is a reflection of real life.
‘A reflection of real life’, if I were to attempt to capture the essence of a poem in a couple of paragraphs I can guarantee that that statement would crop up at least once. Now I’ve often taken on the mantle of fool ( with just cause some may add ), and I’ll admit I’m not the brightest pebble on the beach. That said, I’ll take a stab in the dark and lay my money on the fact that anyone who is writing serious poetry is writing it in the hope that someone, anyone, will find it believable and hoping that, at the very least, the reader approaches the poem willing to be convinced.
Your second point is less an ailment and more a statement or symptom of what the forums are about. Jim stated that he, and Brad, want more in-depth replies in the CA forum, that makes total sense when you look at what the CA forum is there for. It’s very existence relies on people giving honest, ( perhaps sometimes misguided but always honest ), opinions on the poems they read there. The open is a different kettle of fish entirely, in depth replies in the open can, by the general nature of the forum, only be restricted to the positive aspects of a poem posted. If I’m incorrect in this assumption then why do we have a CA forum?
There are also other aspects of the open forum to take into consideration, one of which is that some of the people posting there are involved in social interactively, poetry is just the thing that brings them together. To those people ‘Great poem’ is just another way of cementing a social bond, sort of like dogs sniffing as they meet each other but a little more acceptable. That isn’t to say that a short reply can’t really mean anything though. I read the thread you are using as an example, I couldn’t find any replies that could be taken as people missing the point. What I did find were several examples of what could be described as literary applause, picture the scene you’re at a poetry recital and the reader finishes his final piece do you; A) Start giving an in depth account of the last poem recited; B) Start throwing bottles and tables or C) Give the guy a round of applause?
Wow, to me at any rate is a round of applause, the person that’s giving that applause generally liked what he/she heard and took the time to respond. Granted it doesn’t tell you where you were good or where you were weak but if you want to know that go ask the in depth fanatics and bottle throwers over at CA.
All these things married to the fact that some people are short of time, short of words or just plain shy makes the replies what they are. Reading deep meanings into the replies, for example that all the people who read that poem and replied didn’t understand it, are simply statements that, although possible, are I think, highly improbable.
Thanks for giving me the chance to read and reply
[This message has been edited by Craig (edited 04-26-2000).]