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With too many forms of poetry, how can rules for readers' analysis be the same? (1 Viewer)

ritudimrinautiyal

Senior Member
I have read too many times here, the best art of writing poetry is to show multiple meanings ( multiple paths) through your poetry rather than telling single perception ( single path) of your's. Of course I too find it logically correct and I am too growing here, experimenting that way. But I write narrative ones as well, where I enjoy leading readers to dance in my tunes. I want to know, if there is any criteria which tells that particular genre of poetry is best for writing for readers' sake?

Ritu
 
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Bloggsworth

WF Veterans
Rules are, in a sense, invidious; "This is not my kind of poem" interferes with the ability to rationalise a poem on first reading. I have to say that rationalising poems is not my idea of fun, though may be necessary in an academic environment. I look for a poem to first engage me, then cause me to read it again, being lazy, I don't want it to be hard work, Shakespeare is amazing but, by George, he can be heavy going.

Write the poems you want/need to write - To attempt writing towards a reader is the road to dusty death as no two readers see exactly the same poem. As Ted Hughes said, once published, the poem belongs to the reader.
 

Darkkin

WF Veterans
No two persons read the same book. Period. Why? Because writing is an active, creative process which draws framing and context from the reader's own experiences, not the author's. Like the seperation of Church and State in the US, there is a seperation between the author and the reader, commonly known as the 4th Wall. An author, puts a piece out, all they can do is step away. Their control of the work is done. The work will stand or fall on its own merit. The author should be hands off at this point. Trying to add direction and backstory to point a reader in the desired direction can impact the voice of a piece because of such a breach in the 4th wall.

Also why write solely for a reader's sake? That is writing simply to please every audience and flies in the face of the creative process. Hard, fast, right way to write requires Items I - Q, done in Style A, about Subject B. Even without parameter's defined, it is already starting to sound like a school assignment. Yes, there are numerous forms of poetry, but because the styles require effort on both the parts of the rreader and the writer, the classic forms do not find much of an audience. People take one look and decide, this looks complicated, I'm not going to bother.

Another thing to keep in mind is that on average the human IQ is around 100. The diversity and disperity of writing styles out there is as verigated as people themselves. Personally, I like reading things that challenge me or make me think critically. Certain bestselling authors the masses rave about, I tend to find a bit overly simple, as if the author doesn't think I can handle anything past an 8th grade reading level. It's easy reading, that is why it appeals to so many.

Bring a clear voice and passion to a piece and readers usually get the gist. Trust the work, trust the readers' reading abilities, take a contrary opinion with a grain of salt, and that is about as close to even basic guidelines as writers come.

- D.
 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
I have read too many times here, the best art of writing poetry is to show multiple meanings ( multiple paths) through your poetry rather than telling single perception ( single path) of your's. Of course I too find it logically correct and I am too growing here, experimenting that way. But I write narrative ones as well, where I enjoy leading readers to dance in my tunes. I want to know, if there is any criteria which tells that particular genre of poetry is best for writing for readers' sake?

Ritu

I write various types of poetry, but it's fair to say that I have slowly evolved away from using forms, because I find a wider selection of words available when I free myself.

As for multiple meanings, those are my favourites even though I don't go out of my way to layer my poetry. The funny thing is that sometimes, it's only after completing a poem I realise that it has multiple layers. I'd swear that I never intended that, but then I wonder if my subconscious was working without me realising.
 

ritudimrinautiyal

Senior Member
Thanks to you all, that you responded here to clear my doubts. Yesterday I read Escorial Sir 's poem "Dying moments" and couldn't interpret those few words that very well, except after reading his interpretation of his poem. Those few words were holding the ocean of deep imagination of observation he would have felt or noticed sometimes. There I realised, writing poem is not mere writing, it needs perseverance for complete focus on, how to read or intepret poems or writings of other poets and writers, that's how only one can grow as poet, otherwise, it would be like listening to your own words only, not trying to move out of your own created box.

I got point of all of you, let the creativity flow with its flow and let itself find direction for its flow and whatever obstructs, try to remove that.

Ritu
 
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clark

Met3 Member
Staff member
Chief Mentor
In her/his poem, "Snapshot of God", Llyra says (Poetry & Lyrics, post #20):

I don’t think I can disconnect the poet from the poem. Even when I’m reading Jane Eyre, for instance, it’s Charlotte who I want to get to know and who I suffer with. It’s kind of like watching her older sister die while the character Jane Eyre experiences her young friend dying— that kind of thing. Even without knowing “facts” about the author it is this way for me. I think I’ve always looked for thought patterns among Yeat’s poems. When I read a poem that moves me, I usually feel that the poem was a personal expression of the author’s feelings and I want what they want for them
.

Over the past few years, dozens of threads have woven their way through and around this broad topic--The poet's relationship to the poem, the poem as free-standing work of Art, the reader's relationship to both. New members of WF will not be familiar with these threads, but it is simple research: look through DISCUSSIONS for the titles of threads. The ones you want will be obvious. One that may NOT be obvious is any discussion thread that uses the phrase "Negative Capability. Read those, for sure.

I'm not getting into 'this broad topic' here. I would just like to make a few points which, I hope, you'll think about when you look through WF backthreads on the topic.

Re the statement in blue (above) - how would a reader deal with an anonymous poem? 90% of Anglo Saxon poetry is anonymous. We have no idea, for example, who wrote Beowulf, our only surviving Epic poem. Not a clue, and we never will. The author of The Iliad and The Odyssey , cornerstones of Western literature from ancient Greece, is called "Homer". Scholars have determined only that 'Homer' is multiple authors over a period of time. That is all we know. The Epic of Gilgamesh (about 3000 BCE), generally accepted as the oldest piece of writing in existence, is of course anonymous. In the 1950s Cleanth Brooks published a landmark work on literary criticism called The Well-Wrought Urn. In it he proposed the following scenario: you are sitting in your study and a piece of paper is slipped under the door by parties u/k. On the paper is a poem. You have no idea who wrote it, what intent might have been behind it, what historical period or country it might be from. Nothing. The piece of paper. That's all you have. Brooks goes on to argue that the text of the poem is 95% of everything the critic needs to write a highly detailed and compelling 'interpretation' of the Poem. Robert Browning went so far to distance himself from his poems and their characters that, when asked if the Duke (in "My Last Duchess") had really had his wife murdered, replied, "how would I know. You'd have to ask the Duke" [who speaks the poem]). Finally, we know a number of 'facts' about the man called William Shakespeare, but
HOW--the critical question--do we find 'him' in the poetry which is all his plays?

These kinds of questions must be addressed, one way or the other, if one insists that, as reader, one seeks to get on the poet's emotional wave length. Further, that the reader takes on that task as a primary
responsibility in honouring both poem/novel and its author. Let's say, after extensive research, you are totally comfortable writing this: "In poem after poem, culminating in the striking water imagery of "The Drop", we see Smith's deep trauma over the drowning death of his beloved mother. From 1937 through to 1950, when he finally signed himself into Fairview Hospital, we see his debilitating fear of water fracturing his marginal hold on reality. At Fairview he came under the care of Dr. Mary Jones, who had successfully treated patients like Roger Brown and Myrtle Black, both of whom . . .". In the 19th and early decades of the 20th century, Biographical Criticism of that order was the norm. Would you not agree that the critic is getting further and further away from the poem? Do you care what disorders Brown and Black suffered from? Is it even possible to argue some kind of direct link between their situation and the poet's? No. It is not. Intelligent speculation is the very best you could possibly attain.

Llyra
, you mentioned Yeats as a poet you admire. He was a complicated man, and his poems often lead to complex layering of thought about social responsibility, moral rectitude, the roles of government and the individual in a just society, the nature of wisdom, etc. But rarely do his poems ever mention these abstract values directly. Rather, he 'uses' intensely concrete imagery, free of abstractions, that open multiple paths for the reader to take, based on her/his life experience. Take his "Lake Isle of Innisfree", a famous 15-line sonnet-like poem, which is very philosophical for many readers but is built on concrete images. It contains ONE abstraction ('peace'):

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.



And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings.



I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,


I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

He wrote the poem in 1888, and a critic could go into endless speculation about Yeats' contempt for British imperialism, details of his personal life at the time of composing the poem etc. God knows there are endless critical pieces just like that written in the dying decades of the Victorian era. The best of them are interesting; some present 'portraits', if you will, of that period. But as compelling or important or 'accurate' critical studies of the POEM, most fail abysmally by presenting rank speculation as Fact and leading us into groundless fantasies about what 'must' have been in Yeats's mind when he wrote the poem. Surely it is, at best, presumptuous to claim such knowledge, at worst, downright invasive.

Finally, just a word or two--because this field of enquiry can get so arcane we'll all turn to strong drink as the only 'solution'--perception and epistemology. A poet's state of mind before a poem, during composition, and during revision, we should be able to call The Creative Process. The poem is the result. But when the poet writes a critical essay on her/his poem . . . now they are functioning as critics of poetry and canNOT get away with writing " yes, this image is hard to understand, but when you know I was in therapy at the time, and . . ." All that tells us is that the section of the poem is too weak to stand on its own.

It is simply not the case that everything about poetry or written forms of Art is a simple matter of personal choice: "I can take from this poem anything I damn well want, any way I choose to do it!". Well, of course you can! Your methodology only becomes an issue when you choose to present your perceptions to another human being, or group. Then you have to find some common ground or set some patterns for discussion within which folks agree to function. Nothing is advanced by digging one's heels in.
 
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RHPeat

Met3 Group Leader
Staff member
Senior Mentor
Clark

Yeats shows us that the land of plenty and abundance is within us all. Striving is what makes the difference. Well said. Do we really need anything more but our own awareness of the poem as the reader. Well said, we arrive as the reader to find the merit of the work on its our own terms. We glean what it is that we get from the poem as is. The poem holds itself up to the world in the end. What gives it merit is what can be gleaned from the subtext as any poem with multiple layers. That the minute the poet has made the poem figurative in someway he has created a poem with many levels of awareness. And every figurative line is a part of the whole. Innisfree is within us all as the reader. We are the honey and the rows of beans and the little home away from it all. That's the inward journey toward Innisfree. Many years after Yeats wrote the poem. Lawrence Ferlinghetti wrote his poem the "Junkman's Obbligato" And used a similar phrase "the isle of Manisfree" which is a spin off of Keats as a satire on how it can also be lost.

Junkman's Obbligato
------lawrence ferlinghetti

Let’s go
Come on
Let’s go
Empty our pockets
And disappear.
Missing all our appointments
And turning up unshaven
Years later
Old cigarette papers
stuck to our pants
leaves in our hair.
Let us not
worry about the payments
anymore.
Let them come
and take it away
whatever it was
we were paying for.
And us with it.
Let us arise and go now
to where dogs do it
Over the Hill
where they keep the earthquakes
behind the city dumps
lost among gasmains and garbage.
Let us see the City Dumps
for what they are.
My country tears of thee.
Let us disappear
in automobile graveyards
and reappear years later
picking rags and newspapers
drying our drawers
on garbage fires
patches on our ass.
Do not bother
to say goodbye
to anyone.
Your missus will not miss us.
Let’s go
smelling of sterno
where the benches are filled
with discarded Bowling Green statues
in the interior dark night
of the flower bowery
our eyes watery
with the contemplation
of empty bottles of muscatel.
Let us recite from broken bibles
on streetcorners
Follow dogs on docks
Speak wild songs
Throw stones
Say anything
Blink at the sun and scratch
and stumble into silence
Diddle in doorways
Know whores thirdhand
after everyone else is finished
Stagger befuddled into East River sunsets
Sleep in phone booths
Puke in pawnshops
wailing for a winter overcoat.
Let us arise and go now
under the city
where ashcans roll
and reappear in putrid clothes
as the uncrowned underground kings
of subway men’s rooms.
Let us feed the pigeons
at the City Hall
urging them to do their duty
in the Mayor’s office.
Hurry up please it’s time.
The end is coming.
Flash floods
Disasters in the sun
Dogs unleashed
Sister in the street
her brassiere backwards.
Let us arise and go now
into the interior dark night
of the soul’s still bowery
and find ourselves anew
where subways stall and wait
under the River.
Cross over
into full puzzlement.
South Ferry will not run forever.
They are cutting out the Bay ferries
but it is still not too late
to get lost in Oakland.
Washington has not yet toppled
from his horse.
There is still time to goose him
and go
leaving our income tax form behind
and our waterproof wristwatch with it
staggering blind after alleycats
under Brooklyn’s Bridge
blown statues in baggy pants
our tincan cries and garbage voices
trailing.
Junk for sale!
Let’s cut it out let’s go
into the real interior of the country
where hockshops reign
mere unblind anarchy upon us.
The end is here
but golf goes on at Burning Tree.
It’s raining it’s pouring
The Ole Man is snoring.
Another flood is coming
Though not the kind you think.
There is still time to sink
and think.\I wish to descend in society.
I wish to make like free.
Swing low sweet chariot.
Let us not wait for the cadillacs
to carry us triumphant
into the interior
waving at the natives
like roman senators in the provinces
wearing poet’s laurels
on lighted brows.
Let us not wait for the write-up
on page one
of the New York Times Book review
images of insane success
smiling from the photo.
By the time they print your picture
in Life Magazine
you will have become a negative anyway
a print with a glossy finish.
They will have come and gotten you
to be famous
and you still will not be free.
Goodbye I’m going.
I’m selling everything
and giving away the rest
to the Good Will Industries.
It will be dark out there
with the Salvation Army Band.
And the mind its own illumination.
Goodbye I’m walking out on the whole scene.
Close down the joint.
The system is all loused up.
Rome was never like this.
I’m tired of waiting for Godot.
I am going where turtles win
I am going
where conmen puke and die
Down the sad esplanades
of the official world.
Junk for sale!
My country tears of thee.
Let us go then you and I
leaving our neckties behind on lampposts
Take up the full beard
of walking anarchy
looking like Walt Whitman
a homemade bomb in the pocket.
I wish to descend in the social scale.
High society is low society.
I am a social climber
climbing downward
And the descent is difficult.
The Upper Middle Class Ideal
is for the birds
but the birds have no use for it
having their own kind of pecking order
based upon birdsong.
Pigeons on the grass alas.
Let us arise and go now
to the Isle of Manisfree.
Let loose the hogs of peace.
Hurry up please it’s time.
Let us arise and go now
into the interior
of Foster’s Cafeteria.
So long Emily Post.
So long
Lowell Thomas.
Goodbye Broadway.
Goodbye Herald Square.
Turn it off.
Confound the system.
Cancel our leases.
Lose the War
without killing anybody.
Let horses scream
and ladies run
to flushless powderrooms.
The end has just begun.
I want to announce it.
Run don’t walk
to the nearest exit.
The real earthquake is coming.
I can feel the building shake.
I am the refined type.
I cannot stand it.
I am going
where asses lie down
with customs collectors who call themselves
literary critics.
My tool is dusty.
My body is hung up too long
in strange suspenders.
Get me a bright bandana
for a jockstrap.
Turn loose and we’ll be off
where sports cars collapse
and the world begins again.
Hurry up please it’s time.
It’s time and a half
and there’s the rub.
The thinkpad makes homeboys of us all.
Let us cut out
into stray eternity.
Somewhere the fields are full of larks.
Somewhere the land is swinging.
My country ‘tis of thee
I’m singing.
Let us arise and go now
to the Isle of Manisfree
and live the true blue simple life
of wisdom and wonderment
where all things grow
straight up
aslant and singing
in the yellow sun
poppies out of cowpods
thinking angels out of turds.
I must arise and go now
to the Isle of Manisfree
way up behind the broken words
and woods of Arcady
 
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ritudimrinautiyal

Senior Member
In her/his poem, "Snapshot of God", Llare says (Poetry & Lyrics, post #20):

I don’t think I can disconnect the poet from the poem. Even when I’m reading Jane Eyre, for instance, it’s Charlotte who I want to get to know and who I suffer with. It’s kind of like watching her older sister die while the character Jane Eyre experiences her young friend dying— that kind of thing. Even without knowing “facts” about the author it is this way for me. I think I’ve always looked for thought patterns among Yeat’s poems. When I read a poem that moves me, I usually feel that the poem was a personal expression of the author’s feelings and I want what they want for them
.

Over the past few years, dozens of threads have woven their way through and around this broad topic--The poet's relationship to the poem, the poem as free-standing work of Art, the reader's relationship to both. New members of WF will not be familiar with these threads, but it is simple research: look through DISCUSSIONS for the titles of threads. The ones you want will be obvious. One that may NOT be obvious is any discussion thread that uses the phrase "Negative Capability. Read those, for sure.

I'm not getting into 'this broad topic' here. I would just like to make a few points which, I hope, you'll think about when you look through WF backthreads on the topic.

Re the statement in blue (above) - how would a reader deal with an anonymous poem? 90% of Anglo Saxon poetry is anonymous. We have no idea, for example, who wrote Beowulf,
our only surviving Epic poem. Not a clue, and we never will. The author of The Iliad and The Odyssey , cornerstones of Western literature from ancient Greece, is called "Homer". Scholars have determined only that 'Homer' is multiple authors over a period of time. That is all we know. The Epic of Gilgamesh (about 3000 BCE), generally accepted as the oldest piece of writing in existence, is of course anonymous. In the 1950s Cleanth Brooks published a landmark work on literary criticism called The Well-Wrought Urn. In it he proposed the following scenario: you are sitting in your study and a piece of paper is slipped under the door by parties u/k. On the paper is a poem. You have no idea who wrote it, what intent might have been behind it, what historical period or country it might be from. Nothing. The piece of paper. That's all you have. Brooks goes on to argue that the text of the poem is 95% of everything the critic needs to write a highly detailed and compelling 'interpretation' of the Poem. Robert Browning went so far to distance himself from his poems and their characters that, when asked if the Duke (in "My Last Duchess") had really had his wife murdered, replied, "how would I know. You'd have to ask the Duke" [who speaks the poem]). Finally, we know a number of 'facts' about the man called William Shakespeare, but
HOW--the critical question--do we find 'him' in the poetry which is all his plays?

These kinds of questions must be addressed, one way or the other, if one insists that, as reader, one seeks to get on the poet's emotional wave length. Further, that the reader takes on that task as a primary
responsibility in honouring both poem/novel and its author. Let's say, after extensive research, you are totally comfortable writing this: "In poem after poem, culminating in the striking water imagery of "The Drop", we see Smith's deep trauma over the drowning death of his beloved mother. From 1937 through to 1950, when he finally signed himself into Fairview Hospital, we see his debilitating fear of water fracturing his marginal hold on reality. At Fairview he came under the care of Dr. Mary Jones, who had successfully treated patients like Roger Brown and Myrtle Black, both of whom . . .". In the 19th and early decades of the 20th century, Biographical Criticism of that order was the norm. Would you not agree that the critic is getting further and further away from the poem? Do you care what disorders Brown and Black suffered from? Is it even possible to argue some kind of direct link between their situation and the poet's? No. It is not. Intelligent speculation is the very best you could possibly attain.

Ll you mentioned Yeats as a poet you admire. He was a complicated man, and his poems often lead to complex layering of thought about social responsibility, moral rectitude, the roles of government and the individual in a just society, the nature of wisdom, etc. But rarely do his poems ever mention these abstract values directly. Rather, he 'uses' intensely concrete imagery, free of abstractions, that open multiple paths for the reader to take, based on her/his life experience. Take his "Lake Isle of Innisfree", a famous 15-line sonnet-like poem, which is very philosophical for many readers but is built on concrete images. It contains ONE abstraction ('peace'):

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.



And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings.



I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,


I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

He wrote the poem in 1888, and a critic could go into endless speculation about Yeats' contempt for British imperialism, details of his personal life at the time of composing the poem etc. God knows there are endless critical pieces just like that written in the dying decades of the Victorian era. The best of them are interesting; some present 'portraits', if you will, of that period. But as compelling or important or 'accurate' critical studies of the POEM, most fail abysmally by presenting rank speculation as Fact and leading us into groundless fantasies about what 'must' have been in Yeats's mind when he wrote the poem. Surely it is, at best, presumptuous to claim such knowledge, at worst, downright invasive.

Finally, just a word or two--because this field of enquiry can get so arcane we'll all turn to strong drink as the only 'solution'--perception and epistemology. A poet's state of mind before a poem, during composition, and during revision, we should be able to call The Creative Process. The poem is the result. But when the poet writes a critical essay on her/his poem . . . now they are functioning as critics of poetry and canNOT get away with writing " yes, this image is hard to understand, but when you know I was in therapy at the time, and . . ." All that tells us is that the section of the poem is too weak to stand on its own.

It is simply not the case that everything about poetry or written forms of Art is a simple matter of personal choice: "I can take from this poem anything I damn well want, any way I choose to do it!". Well, of course you can! Your methodology only becomes an issue when you choose to present your perceptions to another human being, or group. Then you have to find some common ground or set some patterns for discussion within which folks agree to function. Nothing is advanced by digging one's heels in.





Thanks a lot Sir
 

clark

Met3 Member
Staff member
Chief Mentor
RITU -- your eagerness and deep interest in exploring the relationship between poet/poem, poet/reader etc. reminds me of me . . .a long time ago. Not to discourage you, but I'm STILL trying to figure it out! Darkkin (post #3 above) sums up the issue well:

No two persons read the same book. Period. Why? Because writing is an active, creative process which draws framing and context from the reader's own experiences, not the author's. Like the seperation of Church and State in the US, there is a seperation between the author and the reader, commonly known as the 4th Wall. An author, puts a piece out, all they can do is step away. Their control of the work is done. The work will stand or fall on its own merit. The author should be hands off at this point. Trying to add direction and backstory to point a reader in the desired direction can impact the voice of a piece because of such a breach in the 4th wall

The huge philosophical issue of Perception over Time is subsumed in our discussion of the poet, the poem, the reader. When you say to yourself, "I am going to read Shakespeare's HAMLET again", Darkkin would reply, "No, you are not." The poet is dead, and the text of the poem is the same as it was 420 years ago . . . but YOU are (let us say) 40 years older than when you first experienced the play. During that span of time, scholarship has altered the way our era looks on the Elizabethan era and its values, historical events have altered our cultural nexus, and the events of 40 years in your life have altered the way you regard and interact with your personal world. The eyes, the mind,, the expectations that you bring to the play NOW will be very different than the eyes that read the play 40 years ago.

The ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, famously remarked: No man can step into the same river twice. When I read those words as a late teenager, my head exploded into probably the first genuine thought I'd ever had!. The echoes from that moment continue today.
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Clark, Ritu, all

I honestly think I’d have to go much deeper into how I experience reading. There is no “should”, there is only what I experience and how I interpret my experience.

The experience? Some writer’s feelings and ideas are so close to the surface of their work that the characters that they’ve made and the story they are telling seems just like the thinly drawn veil for that they have actually experienced and thought. I don’t know why it seems that way to me, but it does. The more works they’ve created the more this seems true as I get a fuller picture of the author’s world view. It doesn’t matter if they are “anonymous”. It has to do with how strong their own world view shows up and how strong their emotions about what they are writing show up. Then there are other authors whose own thoughts and feelings are obscured or buried under their writing. They are still there somewhere as the creator and consistently themselves, but it is harder to determine their worldview. Shakespeare’s emotions actually seem very apparent, his worldview harder to define and I believe it is because he/ she is more fluid and changing. He/she easily understands the worldview and experience of all sorts of people from king to slave. It doesn’t matter who Shakespeare was. Shakespeare was Shakespeare. His/her worldview was changing yet consistently individualistic. But you can’t help but get to know Shakespeare at the same time that you’re getting to know Shylock or Hamlet, for instance.

Some authors whose own emotions can seem buried can still rise and fall in and out of their stories. Jane Austen herself seems to breathe for a few moments in Persuasion. Jane Austen’s worldview is pretty narrow and fairly consistent, but you experience all experience her worldview without a doubt while reading her books, and sometimes a bit of her emotions. What I’m saying is— some people bring themselves into their work but they always manifest themselves.

Sometimes you the author’s ideas take shape from a conglomerate of their work and we can discuss their changing ideas even. We can discuss T.S. Eliot becoming more conservative and James Joyce becoming less so, going opposite directions. Even if we didn’t know from their commentary or their change in living, flip-flopping across the Atlantic. We can discuss Crime and Punishment as a reaction to philosophy of the superman. We can discuss the author— what they stood for. Rilke’s thoughts about what it meant to be alone. We can discuss the author like a current through all of their work. We can do that even if the author is anonymous. Sorry, but you really can’t get away from yourself. I really think we authors think our works can clothe us—- but we really don’t get to leave the picture at all. When I read, I just don’t experience the story alone. This might even be called “Tone”? I think I was reading about tone the other day and the article I was reading just happened to discuss all these aspects of world view and opinion from the author coming through their work.

There is personal interpretation and we interact with a work because of our own thoughts and experiences for sure, but underneath all of that is the reality of the writer. The writer is not going to be standing over your shoulder to explain anything, but if they are alive and if you get a chance to interact with them then DO, why not? There is a person there and there is a work of fiction there. Both. It’s both.

When we get feedback we have to realize that we aren’t going to be able to explain to the next person whatever was not understood so we had better clarify ourselves to the degree intended, but online is not the same as a published work where the author is far away. The author is here, probably hoping for a “like” and to hear our experience.


But anyway... even if the author is dead and the story nothing like their life... the author is really still there and to be considered along with or apart or as a part of their story. They are a contender. :1). We are not just interacting with a story or poem in an independent “me” world— no that would be what the writer experiences themselves with their own work. The reader has to eat what is served or not eat, but the cook is never not a part of the discussion. We can have a difficult time sometimes figuring out what spice the cook used, but the cook knows. I think only small children don’t think about the cook, right? I’m trying to think if there was anything so delicious lately that I didn’t think of the cook until maybe after? But thinking of the cook increases my gratitude so why wouldn’t I? It’s my taste buds but....the cook understood my taste buds....

Ritu I don’t think there is any dish where I think of the cook less... because that’s what *I* do, you know? And some dishes took such intensive work or are so classically “them” or done with such creativity... anyway, what the heck is this talk of not thinking of the author? It makes it less enjoyable in my opinion to not think of their experience and what they intended for me.... but whatever. Different world view. But also the more you know the craft the more you recognize the skill and the personality if they intended for the emotions and personality to come across. Sometimes they intend more personality, sometimes you want less.

I think the more we know about movie making the more we think of the makers and the more appreciative there as well. I personally think if you’re not thinking of the creator of something it means that you might not know much about that craft? And maybe with emotional things it might mean that there is less personal understanding of emotions... not that we aren’t all on a train-ride with those. Lawrence Olivier once said about MacBeth that a young person without much experience should not play McBeth, that McBeth took LOTS of life experience. I think we can also develop more appreciation for certain works over time as we evolve in our lifetime as readers.

I explored some of my thoughts here with this as well.
I just asked my husband his thoughts and he said “Consider a poem about oppression written by a slave in the 1940s or written by a upper social class abolitionist? Which one will be truthful? The author does matter. The context means a lot to most people.
 
Last edited:

ritudimrinautiyal

Senior Member
Clark, Ritu, all

I honestly think I’d have to go much deeper into how I experience reading. There is no “should”, there is only what I experience and how I interpret my experience.

The experience? Some writer’s feelings and ideas are so close to the surface of their work that the characters that they’ve made and the story they are telling seems just like the thinly drawn veil for that they have actually experienced and thought. I don’t know why it seems that way to me, but it does. The more works they’ve created the more this seems true as I get a fuller picture of the author’s world view. It doesn’t matter if they are “anonymous”. It has to do with how strong their own world view shows up and how strong their emotions about what they are writing show up. Then there are other authors whose own thoughts and feelings are obscured or buried under their writing. They are still there somewhere as the creator and consistently themselves, but it is harder to determine their worldview. Shakespeare’s emotions actually seem very apparent, his worldview harder to define and I believe it is because he/ she is more fluid and changing. He/she easily understands the worldview and experience of all sorts of people from king to slave. It doesn’t matter who Shakespeare was. Shakespeare was Shakespeare. His/her worldview was changing yet consistently individualistic.

Some authors whose own emotions can seem buried can still rise and fall in and out of their stories. Jane Austen seems to breathe for a few moments in Persuasion. Jane Austen’s worldview is pretty narrow and fairly consistent, but you experience all experience all of this. What I’m saying is— some people bring themselves into their work or manifest themselves or and sometimes the author’s ideas take shape from a conglomerate of their work and we can discuss their ideas. We can discuss T.S. Eliot becoming more conservative and James Joyce becoming less so, both crossing the Atlantic, going opposite directions. We can discuss Crime and Punishment as a reaction to philosophy of the superman. We can discuss the author— what they stood for. Rilke’s thoughts about what it was to be alone. We can discuss the author like a current through all of their work. We can do that even if the author is anonymous. Sorry, but you really can’t get away from yourself. I really think we authors think our works can clothe us—- but we really don’t get to leave the picture at all.

There is personal interpretation and we interact with a work because of our own thoughts and experiences for sure, but underneath all of that is the reality of the writer. The writer is not going to be standing over your shoulder to explain anything, but if they are alive and if you get a chance to interact with them then DO, why not? There is a person there and there is a work of fiction there. Both. It’s both.

When we get feedback we have to realize that we aren’t going to be able to explain to the next person whatever was not understood so we had better clarify ourselves to the degree intended, but online is not the same as a published work where the author is far away. The author is here, probably hoping for a “like” and to hear our experience.


But anyway... even if the author is dead and the story nothing like their life... the author is really still there and to be considered along with or apart or as a part of their story. They are a contender. :1)

I related to each and every word of your's, it felt like you found words for my expressions.

Thanks
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
I related to each and every word of your's, it felt like you found words for my expressions.

Thanks

I edited too... and went off on it since this might be the first time I’ve put these thoughts together.

I really think eating food make for you by a cook is a good analogy. We have tastebuds. The more you know about cooking the more you can appraise the skills of the cook. But I think you can experience just your taste buds if you focus but you can also focus on figuring out the likes and dislikes of the cook, especially if you’re interested in their techniques and style. Some authors do t want to have a overt consistent style... but they are always THEM and you can always discuss the ingredients they tend to use and their techniques, etc. You might not have the cook around to discuss your experience or why you liked or disliked it, and so from the cook’s side of things it’s important to know that you won’t get to tell someone why you added peanuts to the stew but not thinking of the cook at all is kind of.... like a whole experience you just decided to ignore? Of course, if we just want everything to taste like McDonalds in a way that makes it so that if anything jumping out at us is a problem or thinking about the cook was only done if there was a problem... well, I find the whole concept of that to be a problem. Go for a deeper and varied taste pallet.

Look at Maya Angelo’s poem “Phenomenal Woman”. Tell me Maya isn’t there? There’s no way the majority of men would be able to just have that poem be their own experience! And I pity the man who hasn’t read it and hasn’t experienced Maya’s joy. Maya’s joy... that’s what I read that poem for. I do not read it to just feel my own feelings. That would be kind of ridiculous. Maya is there and I love her so much! So we can... we CAN... experience the author and often that is exactly what I want.
 

clark

Met3 Member
Staff member
Chief Mentor
RON -- Thank you so much for bringing Ferlinghetti into the conversation, esp, this wonderful poem and its sardonic take on Yeats's poem [Aside--in S1 of your post #7 you inadvertently popped Keats's name in where you meant Yeats. You might want to tidy up] . I would add only that the contained, orderly, regular poetic line in Yeats and the mellifluous flow of tightly related images conceal the crushing ironies of British imperialism and the engrained deceit of Victorian values: a facade of Order and Serenity disguising the appalling brutality and exploitation of colonial 'holdings' that ruled the day. The WHOLE poem is ultimately ironic [Aside--The Victorian period also produced a veritable explosion of underground pornographic material, exemplified in the underground periodical magazine, The Pearl]! Compare that style to the upfront tumble of (often) seemingly unrelated images searching for their own centre throughout Ferlinghetti's open free verse, so suited to our era.
 

RHPeat

Met3 Group Leader
Staff member
Senior Mentor
RON -- Thank you so much for bringing Ferlinghetti into the conversation, esp, this wonderful poem and its sardonic take on Yeats's poem [Aside--in S1 of your post #7 you inadvertently popped Keats's name in where you meant Yeats. You might want to tidy up] . I would add only that the contained, orderly, regular poetic line in Yeats and the mellifluous flow of tightly related images conceal the crushing ironies of British imperialism and the engrained deceit of Victorian values: a facade of Order and Serenity disguising the appalling brutality and exploitation of colonial 'holdings' that ruled the day. The WHOLE poem is ultimately ironic [Aside--The Victorian period also produced a veritable explosion of underground pornographic material, exemplified in the underground periodical magazine, The Pearl]! Compare that style to the upfront tumble of (often) seemingly unrelated images searching for their own centre throughout Ferlinghetti's open free verse, so suited to our era.

Clark

Thanks for the heads up. I took care of that oversight, sorry about that misquote. I'm always doing something like that; I never do beat the malady, completely, although I try my damnedest to get past it; it has always got the better part of me; it makes me lose my intent all the time. So much for writers with word disorders. That's a 78 year old joke, don't laugh too hard. I love that section you wrote. Even an old dog can learn new flips. Intense bit of knowledge there. Thanks again.

And yes Ferlinghetti was our era. I actually heard a recording of "Junkman's Obbligato" In high school through a friend who was visiting San Francisco off and on due to a craze he had for weight lifting. He actually competed in national championships. He took 3rd place in North-Western states in an adult completion when he was a teenager. But his trips to San Francisco allowed him to meet a lot of people who directed him to city lights bookstore Run by, of course, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He picked up some other beat poets as well. Because we were hanging out together, he turned me onto Ferlinghetti and then I was into Coney Island of the Mind next. In no time, after hearing the live recording of Junkman's Obbligato I was looking for more. Maybe Ferlinghetti hooked me on poetry. It certainly wasn't anything like the poetry I was getting in my schooling at that time. It opened up a bit more in college but that was still about 4 years away for an actual modern lit. class. I was still a small town hick.

a poet friend RH Peat
 

clark

Met3 Member
Staff member
Chief Mentor

NOTE TO ADMIN:
I just wrote a lengthy, closely reasoned post to Llyra about her insistence that reading a work of literature must involve some kind of direct experience of the author's motive and intention, held within the work itself. I absolutely defend my colleague's right to hold this view and to express it with passion--as she most certainly has already on this thread. Good on ya, as our Aussie friends are fond of saying. This view, however, expressed in the literal terms she has used, necessarily depends on isolated subjectivism on the part of the reader and could not provide a framework for constructive dialogue about the piece of written Art. I argued this contrary view AT LENGTH, with a view to contributing (I hope) significantly to this interesting discussion. I was looking forward to Llyra's response.

Just as I was finishing, the entire post disappeared. And it is GONE. I've tried every trick in the book to find it, and it is gone. This is about the sixth time this has happened to my posts on WF. -- ONLY ON WF. Ron mentioned that it has happened to him as well. I am really angry . . .that was a lot of time and work and there is no way I have time t do it again. So where I would hope a detailed argument offered something for Llyra to get her teeth into and respond to vigorously, I'm obliged to give her only the conclusions of the argument, which will probably just piss her off and kill the dialogue.

There must be some kind of glitch in the software that causes these random 'deletions'. Can something be done?
 

RHPeat

Met3 Group Leader
Staff member
Senior Mentor

NOTE TO ADMIN:
I just wrote a lengthy, closely reasoned post to Llyra about her insistence that reading a work of literature must involve some kind of direct experience of the author's motive and intention, held within the work itself. I absolutely defend my colleague's right to hold this view and to express it with passion--as she most certainly has already on this thread. Good on ya, as our Aussie friends are fond of saying. This view, however, expressed in the literal terms she has used, necessarily depends on isolated subjectivism on the part of the reader and could not provide a framework for constructive dialogue about the piece of written Art. I argued this contrary view AT LENGTH, with a view to contributing (I hope) significantly to this interesting discussion. I was looking forward to Llyra's response.

Just as I was finishing, the entire post disappeared. And it is GONE. I've tried every trick in the book to find it, and it is gone. This is about the sixth time this has happened to my posts on WF. -- ONLY ON WF. Ron mentioned that it has happened to him as well. I am really angry . . .that was a lot of time and work and there is no way I have time t do it again. So where I would hope a detailed argument offered something for Llyra to get her teeth into and respond to vigorously, I'm obliged to give her only the conclusions of the argument, which will probably just piss her off and kill the dialogue.

There must be some kind of glitch in the software that causes these random 'deletions'. Can something be done?


Clark

I think the text boxes can only hold so much. and I've noticed when I overload it; sometimes it refuses to post. I lost my original post in #6 and had to redo it making it shorter because that's all I could remember. If you get into something longer. Make two posts. And also do it in a word processing program and save it. Besides you might make a essay out of it later. And get published if it's good enough and sparks interest. I'm sure you can do that sort of thing.

a poet friend
Ron.
 

ritudimrinautiyal

Senior Member
I edited too... and went off on it since this might be the first time I’ve put these thoughts together.

I really think eating food make for you by a cook is a good analogy. We have tastebuds. The more you know about cooking the more you can appraise the skills of the cook. But I think you can experience just your taste buds if you focus but you can also focus on figuring out the likes and dislikes of the cook, especially if you’re interested in their techniques and style. Some authors do t want to have a overt consistent style... but they are always THEM and you can always discuss the ingredients they tend to use and their techniques, etc. You might not have the cook around to discuss your experience or why you liked or disliked it, and so from the cook’s side of things it’s important to know that you won’t get to tell someone why you added peanuts to the stew but not thinking of the cook at all is kind of.... like a whole experience you just decided to ignore? Of course, if we just want everything to taste like McDonalds in a way that makes it so that if anything jumping out at us is a problem or thinking about the cook was only done if there was a problem... well, I find the whole concept of that to be a problem. Go for a deeper and varied taste pallet.

Look at Maya Angelo’s poem “Phenomenal Woman”. Tell me Maya isn’t there? There’s no way the majority of men would be able to just have that poem be their own experience! And I pity the man who hasn’t read it and hasn’t experienced Maya’s joy. Maya’s joy... that’s what I read that poem for. I do not read it to just feel my own feelings. That would be kind of ridiculous. Maya is there and I love her so much! So we can... we CAN... experience the author and often that is exactly what I want.

I am mesmerized by your words.....not words but how you expressed them here Llyralen. For me it is a very inspiring piece and I haven't read any of the writers you mentioned above but now I would definitely......

Thanks a lot again for making time, to make this thread more clearer to me.
 

Llyralen

Senior Member

NOTE TO ADMIN:
I just wrote a lengthy, closely reasoned post to Llyra about her insistence that reading a work of literature must involve some kind of direct experience of the author's motive and intention, held within the work itself. I absolutely defend my colleague's right to hold this view and to express it with passion--as she most certainly has already on this thread. Good on ya, as our Aussie friends are fond of saying. This view, however, expressed in the literal terms she has used, necessarily depends on isolated subjectivism on the part of the reader and could not provide a framework for constructive dialogue about the piece of written Art. I argued this contrary view AT LENGTH, with a view to contributing (I hope) significantly to this interesting discussion. I was looking forward to Llyra's response.

Just as I was finishing, the entire post disappeared. And it is GONE. I've tried every trick in the book to find it, and it is gone. This is about the sixth time this has happened to my posts on WF. -- ONLY ON WF. Ron mentioned that it has happened to him as well. I am really angry . . .that was a lot of time and work and there is no way I have time t do it again. So where I would hope a detailed argument offered something for Llyra to get her teeth into and respond to vigorously, I'm obliged to give her only the conclusions of the argument, which will probably just piss her off and kill the dialogue.

There must be some kind of glitch in the software that causes these random 'deletions'. Can something be done?


Nnnnnnnoooooohh!

Piss me off? Lol. Not likely, unless you are discounting my experience which I doubt you would do. No really... I actually think thinking about the author is something you might train yourself to do, maybe? Like thinking about the cook who brought you something yummy or thinking about the janitor who put the toilet paper into the public restroom stall... but I don’t think I really can go back to not thinking about the author. Except that my experience is that some authors include themselves more. But I hope you saw what I said, the work can be anonymous and the author can still be detected and sorted from the piece, Imo. When I was a kid I didn’t think about the author or how the toilet paper got there. Also it’s not that our taste buds aren’t involved, but it’s just a wider framework to include thoughts about the author. But I think personal interpretation is there, it just doesn’t erase the author’s stamp or tone. Shakespeare is a good one to return to because Shakespeare does not moralize.

Maybe metaphors that involve our gastric system aside, I bet you have some aspects of these thoughts that what I’m saying doesn’t fully address and I’d love to respond. I totally want to hear your argument! I’m so sorry it got lost!
 

Darren White

co-owner and admin
Staff member
Co-Owner
NOTE TO ADMIN:
Clark, I sincerely wish something could be done. But what's gone is gone. There is no way to find it anywhere.

If possible, create your responses in a text editor, and when it's finished poste it here, to WF? I know that's perhaps unsatisfactory, but at least it's a solution.
 

clark

Met3 Member
Staff member
Chief Mentor
That's what I have taken to doing. "This time I took a chance . . .and paid the price. Thanks.
 
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