7 thoughts on “Introduction to poetry

  1. I often come back to this poem when I encounter poems I don’t understand – my personal approach is to either accept my not understanding or to re-read the poem a few times over a period of days to let it sink in and see if I can get a feel for it. I don’t know enough to analyse the life out of poetry and don’t really want to.

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      1. Yep, the ‘intentionally incomprehensible’ stuff is frustrating. There seemed to be a phase in the early 20th century when poets purposely tried to give very esoteric meaning to their work (I’m thinking of TS Eliot and Ezra Pound) which I think put a lot of people off poetry.

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        1. Yeah, I think that’s called obscurantism. I’m also thinking of abstract poems, which are created purely for their aural effect and don’t have any meaning, plain or otherwise. While some of those can be fun, some of them seem to deceive you into thinking there’s a meaning, and then, after a bit of digging, you find that there’s not.

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    1. I guess there’s different kinds of analysis. There’s the cold, academic kind, which I think is what Billy is referring to, that just wants to pull things apart and see how they work before anyone’s had a chance to simply experience and enjoy the poem. To some degree, poets have to do this to learn the craft, but that comes after them first experiencing and enjoying the poem, and it’s always with a motivation of trying to create poems that other people can experience and enjoy.

      On the meaning side, there’s the meaning or meanings the poet intended, and the meaning or meanings the reader picks up, which may not be the same. A lot of poets say that once a poem is out there, once it’s been published, it belongs to the reader, therefore their meaning takes precedence. I havent decided yet whether I agree with that.

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