Quote Originally Posted by clark View Post
The audience becomes the missing component in the work of art.

Which should be no great surprise to us. I've been saying this about painting for years. Each person brings a unique set of life experiences to a work. Each person encounters a work of art, be it a painting or a poem, with different expectations, different prejudices, different color receptors in their eyes, different everything. So when the artist's "intent" is grasped, that is either because it is so universal, or because it has been presented with such a heavy hand that it is impossible to miss. People like to think that my figurative paintings are all about something very profound--something that only an artist might communicate. But they're not. They are exercises in the elements of design that can be endlessly varied. I have no intent other than the creation of something that is sufficiently interesting to look at that someone will buy it so that they can continue to look at at their leisure. If they want to ascribe some deep meaning to it, that's fine. But that's them, not me. And my poems are much the same. I write them for me. I need not defend them. They have no intent other than my intent to write them. Sometimes, I find within them some personal truth that might well only make sense to me and none other. Anyone who reads my poems may indeed find some personal resonance with what I have written, but that is just happy chance for which I can take little credit.

When I read a poem, I might get the poet's intent, or I might not. The important thing is that the poem resonates with me on some level. If it does, I will think of it as a good poem. For someone else, it might not resonate at all, and they'd likely think of it as a bad poem. Whatever! It is not what goes in to the poem that is important, but what comes out.

So what is a poor poet to do? Relax, I guess. Write what pleases you. Someone, somewhere, will likely think that it is crap. And someone else, somewhere else, will likely think that it is the best poem they've ever read. And this is a good thing, in my book--or at least OK. Because when Art becomes Science it is no longer Art.