How to Join Member's Area Private Library Search Today's Topics p Login
Main Forums Discussion Tech Talk Mature Content Archives
   Nav Win
 Discussion
 Philosophy 101
 Meaning and Effect   [ Page: 1  2  ]
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Follow us on Facebook

 Moderated by: Ron   (Admins )

 
User Options
Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Admin Print Send ECard
Passions in Poetry

Meaning and Effect

 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


0 posted 04-23-2008 06:44 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Should a poet answer questions posed?

Yes and no.

I usually don't have a problem answering specific questions, but I don't understand the question, "What does it mean?". It means two things to me:

One, you learned somewhere that all poems have secret meanings and that you don't want to figure it out yourself. This doesn't fit with Howard Nemerov's comment (famous on the internet) to Mary Kinzie when she asked the same question. He responded, "You never ask a poet what he means, you tell him."

Two, the poem failed. In a very real sense a poem can't be paraphrased except as a kind of caricature. You may not 'get' every line but there should be some effect, some moment that transcends the very question itself. If that doesn't happen, it means the poem didn't work for you and nothing the author says is going to help you or the poem.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't ask questions but, I think, they have to be more specific than "what does it mean?" Otherwise, I'm stuck asking what does 'what does it mean?' mean? :-)

I'll talk about it, I'll talk about technique. But a poem is almost always too big to be lumped together under one all encompassing question. One rule of thumb might be that if talking about the poem ends up with less words than the number of words in the poem itself, then something is going wrong.

I have argued in CA that meaning is less important than this effect. Now, 'transcend' is a tricky word. I suspect many people tend to see it as almost synonymous with 'sublime' but I mean it very specifically here. A poem does not have to be serious, it does not have to talk about important things. Making you laugh is just as important as making you cry, making you smile is just as important as pontificating on grave matters. It doesn't have to put you in awe. It simply has to do something so that asking what the meaning is secondary to the reading of the poem itself.

I'll use an example:

quote:
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,


What does that mean? I don't know, I may go do some homework at some point, but the reason I would do homework is because the overall poem creates an effect, one that gets most people immediately, for the last line of that stanza is

quote:
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

[This message has been edited by Brad (05-08-2008 11:28 PM).]

Seoulair
Senior Member
since 03-27-2008
Posts 776
Seoul S.Korea


1 posted 04-23-2008 07:37 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

What does it mean?
it="Should... light."

We want meaning and effect on everything, poem, prose, picture, song, any writing, talk show, cooking. And I believe that every poem means to have Meaning and Effect because it is one way of expression.  

I write as non-poet. Poets shall write whatever they want and I pick those that fit  my taste to enjoy...the ones with clear meaning and clear effect.    

If poet choose to ignore my question. then I pretend that he is not available.

But I can be trained to appreciate some poems that I thought that they were plain or blur or meaningless. Author can help. Other poets or learned people can help too. I want to feel how the poet felt when he wrote the poem/to get maximum of it. Together with my own inspired thought, the reading will bring out the most beautiful feelings. (happy , sad or some provoked thought)

But if someone want to train me to read some poems that look like great trees that I have to climb long, long way up along the dry hard bark to get to the lush green, which no doubt is extremely  beautiful, I would rather be a bear. Not that grizzly kind, a panda would be good enough.       which means, it really need thorough, decent education on literature.(and English, history of poem, Greek  etc). I may have selected ADD on history book.
  

[This message has been edited by Seoulair (04-24-2008 02:11 AM).]

Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


2 posted 04-24-2008 10:15 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad,

I think that most who ask these kinds of questions would simply like to hear the poet's own version of in-depth analysis that you would so delight to hear from readers.  Some still think that being the writer gives one a special, more authoritative insight into the verse under consideration.  I know you might challenge that idea, but it is still widely held by most commoners.  You almost have to go to school to learn that you shouldn't think like that.  

But I agree with much that you've said.  Especially how readers shouldn't seek this in lieu of exploring the poem for themselves.  And so writers may also decline to answer such questions, even if for no other reason than to encourage others not to be lazy.  I kinda get that feeling from you and your sometimes evasive replies.


Stephen    
serenity blaze
Member Empyrean
since 02-02-2000
Posts 28839


3 posted 04-24-2008 12:54 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Should a poet answer questions posed.

Is there a reason you chose to use declarative punctuation for the topic sentence of your persuasive argument when the question mark is more appropriate?

I reserve the right to question everything.

Sometimes I learn more from the evasion of my questions than an actual answer.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


4 posted 04-24-2008 04:03 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Karen,

Fixed.

Do you see anything else that you screwed up on?

But asking questions already involves some kind of interpretation, it already involves some way of 'reading'.

Which is more irritating, not answering the question or being told that you're asking the wrong kind of question?

Stephen,

Commoners?

I don't know if it's being lazy or just being sure about something that you probably shouldn't be so sure about. Authorial authority is an aspect of a poem, but to use a phrase I haven't used in a long time, origin and identity are not the same thing.

Seoulkim,

Sometimes the assumption that a poem is difficult is the stumbling block to the enjoyment of the poem. A poem should almost always be read at least twice (Paradise Lost -- maybe not). Remember there are two people working here, the poet and the reader. If you don't understand it, it's not always your fault. I just don't see how answering 'what the author was thinking when he wrote the poem' always helps with the meaning of a poem.

They are related but different.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


5 posted 04-24-2008 04:16 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad


One of the problems with authorial authority is not that they are wrong, it is that they generally don't tell you everything that was going on when they wrote the poem.

I don't mean they're being sneaky, I mean they don't remember everything that was going on. If you step back and see what is popping in your head when the actual writing is happening (allusions, jokes, technique anxiety, memories, visions, interruptions, half-formed thoughts, sudden pictures, sex, violence, cigarette breaks, epiphanies of impotence and power, poem envy etc.), how can they explain it?

Look at "No Second Troy" for example. Now read that again after you've seen a picture of Maud.

I don't just mean with the great. I really do think that happens with the rest of us, too.

The only time that doesn't happen is when you're doing some kind of associative/automatic writing, when no thinking was going on at all. And in that case, there is no authorial intention.
serenity blaze
Member Empyrean
since 02-02-2000
Posts 28839


6 posted 04-24-2008 04:49 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Thank you Brad.

I do beg your patience as you humor me a little further.

I'm having problems with the definition of "critique". I agree with your points, but only generally. Help me with my reading comprehension.

Is there a difference between "critique" and "review"? I think I'll need both to be clearly defined for me, as well as have those definitions reconciled with the rules and guidelines of Pip.
Seoulair
Senior Member
since 03-27-2008
Posts 776
Seoul S.Korea


7 posted 04-24-2008 05:29 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

quote:
Sometimes the assumption that a poem is difficult is the stumbling block to the enjoyment of the poem.

It is not my assumption. It is the feeling that I did not get it after at least two times reading.

Such as yours David Foster Wallace http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum28/HTML/002046.html

When I first read it, I truly had no clue. (plus no knowledge about that person). My first impression was "why a poem like this?"
Later, with a simple answer from you, I started getting it. And Today I read it again  without the line breaker, then I  sensed more of the poetic part of it. Not as dry as I first read it.  

You have my best wish of longevity.

A poem should almost always be read at least twice (Paradise Lost -- maybe not).

Yes, sir!!!

quote:
Remember there are two people working here, the poet and the reader. If you don't understand it, it's not always your fault. I just don't see how answering 'what the author was thinking when he wrote the poem' always helps with the meaning of a poem.


Not exactly the thinking, also the author's mood, and I read his biography to help me to understand his poems. I have read almost all your poems (not all in CA1) and I read  your other posts in other forum to learn your life philosophy and life attitude. Today I read two new poems of yours. One is about your wife's first pregnancy. Another one is about your first child birth. Both are good.  But they did not surprised me with your usual tightly measured feelings.  

I am not afraid of misunderstanding other's poem, and it is much fun esp for the purpose of intentionally diving someone crazy but to miss what the authur thought as the most beautiful point will be a great loss. It is like that  I saw the crown but I did not see the diamond, which is the usual way of me, I guess)


Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


8 posted 04-24-2008 05:54 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Is there a difference between "critique" and "review"?


No. Or at least I can't think of a good distinction.

Crits are interpretations.

Reviews tell what you liked and didn't like.

The distinction is intentionally blurred here because I don't see a point in worrying about it.

quote:
I think I'll need both to be clearly defined for me, as well as have those definitions reconciled with the rules and guidelines of Pip.


I have no idea what the rules and guidelines have to do with this. Why should they be clearly re-defined?

Do you see a distinction between critique and review?

What are your definitions?
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


9 posted 04-24-2008 06:09 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
It is not my assumption. It is the feeling that I did not get it after at least two times reading.


Well, then it didn't work for you.

That's okay. I don't mean to discourage homework or rereadings, but at some point I think it should also be at the author's discretion as well (see the Nemurov quote).

It takes two to tango.

Okay, I'm reading Karen's and Seoulkim's posts and I think I've missed something.

I'm just not sure what it is.

I'm thinking or trying to think what it might be.
serenity blaze
Member Empyrean
since 02-02-2000
Posts 28839


10 posted 04-24-2008 06:20 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I'm unsure if you deliberately missed my point when answering my first question.

If I hadn't asked your intent on punctuation, I would not know (and perhaps you still would not know) that it was error.

In poetry, if I am not allowed to ask such a thing, how am I to know?

I do see a difference in critique and review. To my mind, critique is an interactive process, whereas "review" is simply opinion and acknowledgement.

How does it relate to Pip guidelines? I will concede that it is not my job to to question intent--but judging the difference between intentional insult and poetic license ought to be somebody's.

I do believe someone once assured me that questions were not only "okay" but part of the process. If I am wrong, I will own my error, and forthwith apologize.

But because I find questions and answers integral to learning, if it's not welcomed in C/A, I will no longer participate there.

It's too bad, too.

I had a very satisfying experience with input from A.Grace and others on my last offering, and my exchange with Sunshine was actually fun.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


11 posted 04-24-2008 07:01 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Should a poet answer questions posed?

Yes and no.


Well, my earlier comment was intended as a joke ('screwed up'). I guess you're not in the mood for those kind of jokes.

I made a mistake, you saw it and pointed it out, that is always a good thing.

But I'm at a loss as to how that could be read, even with the error, as an argument against asking questions.

Asking questions is fine, but they aren't all powerful and if asked too much, if you depend on them too much, something, I think, is lost.

There is a difference between solitary moments of 'transcendence' and interactive discussion. I guess they can overlap but the two moments are quite distinct in my mind.

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


12 posted 04-24-2008 07:21 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
When I first read it, I truly had no clue. (plus no knowledge about that person). My first impression was "why a poem like this?"
Later, with a simple answer from you, I started getting it. And Today I read it again  without the line breaker, then I  sensed more of the poetic part of it. Not as dry as I first read it.


Yeah, and I know one guy who read it and saw precisely the kind of poetry that he could like (he posted it at his school).

He hated Halla. He thought it was too sappy -- too much like a poem. This is something that is difficult to deal with. Sentimentality and over-sentimentality are real problems for most poets.

We have never really shed ourselves of Romanticism. I know I haven't and yet precisely because I know this I do work consciously to tone everything down. I get the feeling that many, many people want more.

I think less is more. I guess.

Now, have I ever posted a sappy poem?

It takes all types.  
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


13 posted 04-24-2008 07:34 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Not exactly the thinking, also the author's mood, and I read his biography to help me to understand his poems. I have read almost all your poems (not all in CA1) and I read  your other posts in other forum to learn your life philosophy and life attitude.


Ah, and yet, Jim was right when he said that I'm still very much an organic poetry guy. I think a poem lives or dies on its own and if it can't live on its own, it should die.

That is how I want my stuff to be read.

The two tools that I think can be used are at your fingertips: the internet and the dictionary.

Seoulair
Senior Member
since 03-27-2008
Posts 776
Seoul S.Korea


14 posted 04-24-2008 07:47 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

quote:
That is how I want my stuff to be read.

I am sorry sir, you are not available  any more.  

Seriously, Can  you ask people how to read your poems?
No, I don't think so. You don't even know how I read your poems.   truly.

Mt.Halla ...I like it very much before any explanations but your answer brought more emotions out of me when I read it again. ( at least 15 times or more)  

Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


15 posted 04-25-2008 06:15 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


Jack & Jill


The rising sun
casts a red glow
through blue air

Your house
on the corner
lies still
in gray shadows

I see a lamp
come on in your attic room

On our yards a light snow
drifts down


..........................
Posted By: David Curtis (64.254.195.25)
Date: 3/12/04 2:35 a.m.

Re: Jack & Jill



Dear John,

“ What is it about this that so impresses you? “

Well, I’m no master of critique.

It’s hard to put into words… like you said, it is a mood piece.

Simply put, I like the way it made me feel. It made me feel something – unlike so many other poems out there. I’m not trying to be evasive, but… what is it about Van Gogh that makes his paintings move me? For the life of me I could not tell you.

I do like the way you start with color… then switch to the house in grey shadows… and then the lamp in the attic, and snow following that… I may be off base on your intent – but for me there seemed to be a sense of hope there… or something mysterious happening…. Most of all I found it to be a thing of beauty… the way you worded it…

I don’t know… it just moved me. And the most important test of any poem (for me) is if it stays with you… this stayed in my mind hours after I read it, and I found myself reflecting on it.

… it made me feel. There is so much well crafted poetry that seems hollow inside that I read. This is well crafted AND it does not seem hollow. . .

Sorry I can’t be more precise. But I did like it – a lot.

Cordially,

David Curtis

:

Over time I have come to understand
that this is probably the best poem
I ever wrote.


John


.

[This message has been edited by Ron (04-25-2008 11:11 PM).]

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


16 posted 04-25-2008 06:35 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Seriously, Can  you ask people how to read your poems?
No, I don't think so. You don't even know how I read your poems.   truly.


You're right.

If I can't tell you how to read, however, you can't tell the writer what he/she should do either.

Doesn't that make sense?

John,

Nice addition there.
Seoulair
Senior Member
since 03-27-2008
Posts 776
Seoul S.Korea


17 posted 04-25-2008 11:27 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

quote:
If I can't tell you how to read, however, you can't tell the writer what he/she should do either.

I agree. But why did you say this? Because no reader could ask such thing to a poet as to tell the poet how to write a poem.

But John's post raised two questions.

1. If a poet thinks that he wrote a good poem, does he also need (expect) the readers to proved it?

2. If you wrote a poem one day and you thought that it was good(average good). But after certain time, you  realized that that one was  one of the best.  What caused  the feeling to change? It seems that like rocks in Grand Canyon, It changes color with different lighting by Sun.

(I missed a NOT in the reply of your poem in CA1 so comment changed from "not very bad" to  "very bad". I am very Sorry for that.
I also missed one in the reply  of Sir balladeer's reply this morning. )

[This message has been edited by Seoulair (04-26-2008 04:06 AM).]

Earl Robertson
Senior Member
since 01-21-2008
Posts 753
BC, Canada


18 posted 05-05-2008 09:53 PM       View Profile for Earl Robertson   Email Earl Robertson   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Earl Robertson

To me a poem is an experament in human nature.
What thoughts and feelings you get out of a poem is a direct interpretation of what thoughts and feelings you already have.
My feelings as an author direct only the general content not the message. Whenever somone gives me an interpertation of a poem I wrote I take it as just that. It is no more or less valid, after they have told me that then I will tell them what I got out of it.
http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum105/HTML/000056.html

Here's a poem of mine sort of to that effect.

"We all lead such elaborate lives, We don't know who's words are true." Aida

oceanvu2
Senior Member
since 02-24-2007
Posts 1007
Santa Monica, California, USA


19 posted 05-07-2008 11:02 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

JC, Roshi, is it possible that people who kick start threads might consider spelling people's names correctly?  

"Howard Nemurov"  I'm sure he might exist, but he ain't the poet Howard Nemerov.

I know this is an old thread with good intent, and I haven't been around much lately, but I'm dismayed by what I am seeing.

I wouldn't want to be around me either right now, but I don't have that choice.

John -- You're too good to ever have to justify or explain what you do.

Blarg.  Jimbeaux
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


20 posted 05-08-2008 12:36 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I was wrong on the 'e'.

I make that mistake perennially.

When the name is Russian, I have never been able to decide which is correct. You see, Russian names are pretty much by definition malleable in terms of English spelling.

Unless, of course, you haven't seen different translations.

My mistake, I'm sure.


A slip of the finger.
Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


21 posted 05-08-2008 05:00 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


HAMLET
Will you play upon
this pipe?

GUILDENSTERN
My lord, I cannot.

HAMLET
I pray you.

GUILDENSTERN
Believe me, I cannot.

HAMLET
I do beseech you.

GUILDENSTERN
I know no touch of it, my lord.

HAMLET
'Tis as easy as lying: govern these ventages with
your lingers and thumb, give it breath with your
mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent music.
Look you, these are the stops.

GUILDENSTERN
But these cannot I command to any utterance of
harmony; I have not the skill.

HAMLET
Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of
me! You would play upon me; you would seem to know
my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my
mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to
the top of my compass: and there is much music,
excellent voice, in this little organ; yet cannot
you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think I am
easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what
instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you
cannot play upon me.

Act 3, Scene 2


.


Underlying the initial question is an
assumption of some special insight, talent,
or authority which I don't believe exists
except in the vanity of poets.

I've always liked Elliot's reply to someone
asking the meaning of a poem he had written
some twenty years before: that he had no idea.

.


Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


22 posted 05-08-2008 11:05 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Does the conclusion of this thread have more to do with linguistic philosophy (which says texts cannot have meaning), or the belief that the original meaning is not all there is?  I can go with the latter wholeheartedly.  I still think original context holds more importance than total innovations.  That's why the book of Isaiah (which contains much poetry) is best interpreted with an understanding of Jewish Theology, history, and culture.  That's not to say a first time reader with no knowledge of this couldn't enjoy or benefit.  


I find it not a little amusing, and ironic that the most memorable poetic expression of this idea ...

quote:
A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown


... has such a voice that it denies, and holds as much meaning as effect, and is not lessened thereby.


I think a realistic approach would be to admit that readers are drawn toward particular (though not slavish) meaning, and that good poetry has been employed to express it; and that readers are also drawn to skillful and sheer description, and that poetry is about that as well.  


Yes, I do think it is possible to be lopsided in one's enjoyment of poetry.  And folks like Brad are good at pointing out the asymmetry (or slavish insistence upon symmetry if you prefer).    


Stephen
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


23 posted 05-08-2008 11:34 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Keeping me on my toes. I've fixed it, I think.

I just wanted to let you know that it'll probably happen again. Be kind, point it out, and I'll fix it again.

Stephen,

Who says texts don't have meaning? It's the other way around, isn't it? All meaning is textual.  
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


24 posted 05-08-2008 11:50 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad,

"texts cannot have meaning" was perhaps too strong.  I'm just wondering if this prescription for poetry (effect over meaning) has to do with philosophical critiques of the literary theories of structuralism?

Stephen  
 
 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
All times are ET (US) Top
  User Options
>> Discussion >> Philosophy 101 >> Meaning and Effect   [ Page: 1  2  ] Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Print Send ECard

 

pipTalk Home Page | Main Poetry Forums

How to Join | Member's Area / Help | Private Library | Search | Contact Us | Today's Topics | Login
Discussion | Tech Talk | Archives | Sanctuary



© Passions in Poetry and netpoets.com 1998-2013
All Poetry and Prose is copyrighted by the individual authors