Here you will find my daily journal of small stones and inspiration!
|Monday, June 15, 2015: Every individual who reads, writes, or listens to poetry has his or her own concept of a poet's work. According to Salman Rushdie "A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep." How would you describe a poet's work?
A poet's work can only be defined by the individual reader at that moment in time when the reader hears or reads the piece. My definition will not be your definition and my definition today will not be my definition tomorrow. I can read a happy poem today and because I am in a good mood I will interpret the piece as a happy poem but later, if my mood changes that poem may become an ironic sad piece, throwing me into a deeper depression. Certainly, the poet's interpretation, at the time the piece is written, is important, but only if he or she can convey that interpretation clearly enough that the reader sees that interpretation as their on.
This prompt reminds me of a Lit class I took in college. We were to choose a poem and write a paper on our interpretation of that poem. I chose 'Portrait d'Une Femme' by Ezra Pound. I wrote what I thought was a wonderfully thought-out and researched paper, what the instructor read was rubbish. I wrote my paper based on the premise that Ezra Pound was writing a poem about a prostitute. I backed up my opinion with lines from the poem. Some of what I used was "and bright ships left you this or that in fee" , ships being men. Another line I used was "Great minds have sought you - lacking someone else" and "You have been second always. Tragical? No. You preferred it to the usual thing.", I interpreted these lines as describing men seeking her for sex, and she was not ashamed by this and preferred it to marriage. I went on and on with this. I remember I got a "B" for my effort in the research but I was told that my interpretation was wrong. Now, how can my opinion and interpretation be wrong? It CAN be different than what the poet intended but was I really wrong?