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Passions in Poetry

Does Poetry go Beyond Normal Writing?

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fractal007
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since 06-01-2000
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0 posted 01-15-2001 01:32 PM       View Profile for fractal007   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for fractal007

Hey all:

I was just thinking about how difficult it is to understand a lot of poetry.  I was wondering, does all poetry share some strange language of emotions and feelings, that goes beyond normal writing?  Does it get easier to understand poems once you've dissected many of them?
Romy
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since 05-28-2000
Posts 1226
Plantation, Florida


1 posted 01-15-2001 09:22 PM       View Profile for Romy   Email Romy   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Romy

"Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning."
-- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1969

fracta1007,

I don't think that all poetry is written with a particular message in mind, but I do feel that it always contains at least a tiny piece of the author!
Krawdad
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since 01-03-2001
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2 posted 01-15-2001 11:03 PM       View Profile for Krawdad   Email Krawdad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Krawdad

fractal007,

I'm sure that some poetry is written deliberately to be undecipherable.  Other work is probably for an "inside audience", maybe for a competition of sorts or one-upsmanship.  Who knows what they mean.  Poets are human and have egos and sometimes are a bit nuts (aren't we all).  Sometimes only half of the story is told (just can't say it staight).  I think some develop a style that evolves away, maybe way away, from common language.  Maybe only the poet knows at that point.  A lot of what I have written isn't meant to be read by anyone else.  I need to talk to somebody I really know and trust (me) and I need to hear from all those other folks (my other egos).  It gets complicated.  I got royally turned off to poetry at one point when a young prof. tried to tell me what some dead poet, whom he had never met, really meant to say in his poem.  Go figure.
One of the problems with poetry as an art form is that it is language based, so you have to know the language, unlike music or sculpture, where you really don't need translation.  And, since language becomes the artistic tool in poetry, it may be manipulated all over the place for effect.  That gets hard to follow.
I could go on, but enough for now . . .
Krawdad


/:^)==
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Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


3 posted 01-15-2001 11:21 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Does reading poetry make reading poetry easier? Sure.

If 'normal language' is generally regarded as transparent language then poetry (or rather poetic language; I see no reason to limit this to what we call poems) might be seen as a way of gumming up that transparency, of showing the new in the familiar. That transparency is an illusion anyway.

It's also a way of forcing you to read, of slowing down the reading process, of reading actively.

What do I mean by actively?

A passive reader reads as quickly as he or she can and then responds, "I don't understand this." An active reader reads slowly and asks "What do you mean by this? Could it be this? What about that?"(and often will do some research). An active reader is comfortable in ambiguity, a passive reader avoids it. An active reader tells the writer what the poem means, a passive reader gives up.

In a way, poetic language is about the process of reading -- everything else is skimming.

In another way, poetic language isn't about communicating, it's about creating.

Brad

PS What is the deal with feelings and emotions? People seem to do just fine without poetic language in expressing them; it's creating them in others that is the hard part.
Krawdad
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since 01-03-2001
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4 posted 01-16-2001 04:35 PM       View Profile for Krawdad   Email Krawdad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Krawdad

And it's not just about feelings and emotions.  It's also about description, imagery if you will.  How you see something is through your eyes and no one else's, buffered by your experiences and your expectations.  I think that I write primarily to describe what I see.  I believe that it improves my vision.  No one else has to read that poetry for it to be complete, so no one else needs to understand it.  And those who do read some of it, read things that I did not write.  They seem to be there in the words, but I did not write them.  I find that to be immensely fascinating and entertaining.

/:^)==
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Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


5 posted 01-16-2001 06:53 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I agree with most of what you said here. Concrete imagery is still one of the building blocks of strong poetry. I also agree that people can read different interpretations into what you (or I) write. I just wish more people would try it. This can be a fascinating process and one that moves us in amazing directions.

One minor disagreement:
"They seem to be there in the words, but I did not write them."

But you did, you did write them.  

Brad
 
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