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Full Version: something i posted somewhere else -- on meaning
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I like to think of reading poetry as a conversation between myself and the poet over a drink, or cake, or some such... the conversation may be about one specific subject, but there are fleeting tangents, non-verbal signals and significant pauses that can lead the mind in many other directions while still keeping the main thread intact. And when you both walk away from the conversation, you'll remember it differently, because it will have affected you in different ways. (Of course, in my imaginary conversations, the poet is always paying the bill so it's a much more pleasurable experience for me.)
(06-29-2017, 11:21 AM)Leanne Wrote: [ -> ]I like to think of reading poetry as a conversation between myself and the poet over a drink, or cake, or some such... the conversation may be about one specific subject, but there are fleeting tangents, non-verbal signals and significant pauses that can lead the mind in many other directions while still keeping the main thread intact.  And when you both walk away from the conversation, you'll remember it differently, because it will have affected you in different ways.  (Of course, in my imaginary conversations, the poet is always paying the bill so it's a much more pleasurable experience for me.)

I can really see that. I'm always imagining what led the poet to write that line, use that word, their imagined avenues of thought are not mine. Somehow I rarely feel we're coming from the same place but I love the differences between where they may be and where I am, all in my mind, of course. But I think my real favorites are those rare times when I feel like we are in the same place.
In the same place for different reasons is my favourite Smile
It's always possible that the poet is tapping into more ideas than they are consciously aware of. Sometimes the differences between the poet and the critic can reveal the poem. As a writer, I make conscious choices but am not always aware of all the poems connections as odd as that may sound.
(06-29-2017, 11:38 AM)Todd Wrote: [ -> ]It's always possible that the poet is tapping into more ideas than they are consciously aware of. Sometimes the differences between the poet and the critic can reveal the poem. As a writer, I make conscious choices but am not always aware of all the poems connections as odd as that may sound.


Sounds just right.
(06-29-2017, 11:38 AM)Todd Wrote: [ -> ]It's always possible that the poet is tapping into more ideas than they are consciously aware of. Sometimes the differences between the poet and the critic can reveal the poem. As a writer, I make conscious choices but am not always aware of all the poems connections as odd as that may sound.
Yep, that's pretty much it. I know why I choose something in that particular moment, but I might not realise all the moments that led up to it are going to bleed through.
(06-29-2017, 10:22 AM)Leanne Wrote: [ -> ]Just bumping this, with a reminder: it doesn't matter if you don't get the same thing out of a poem as the next reader, or as the poet him/herself. It's not a competition.

Many poems are written with an intention of a specific meaning.... meaning does matter. Is it really a good thing that you can completely miss the poets point and make up your own meaning? Only in rare instances. You clarified what you wrote here later on, but, this is too broad a brush and clearly meaning matters. Even and especially for critique.

Not to say the poet should justify his choices outside of the poem itself.
One statement does not an entire thread make. I do hope, for the sake of sustaining a logical argument, that you avail yourself of all that has gone before.
I wrote a poem today. I was in a certain mood while writing it. I did not consciously intend for that mood to come across. I was trying to make it a "happy" poem..
But ella observed that the poem had a melancholic undertone.
And that was my state of mind when I wrote the poem. An example of where the reader finds meanings that the author intended only subconsciously.
(06-29-2017, 09:47 PM)Achebe Wrote: [ -> ]I wrote a poem today. I was in a certain mood while writing it. I did not consciously intend for that mood to come across. I was trying to make it a "happy" poem..
But ella observed that the poem had a melancholic undertone.
And that was my state of mind when I wrote the poem. An example of where the reader finds meanings that the author intended only subconsciously.
Precisely. As Todd intimates, it's in the dialogue between reader and poem that the true meaning, or *a* true meaning, often emerges. Unless we're paint-by-numbers poets, we don't always know what is going to make it out onto the page until we write it and give it to someone else to read.
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