Sunday, September 7, 2014

The mystery of poetry


"How do I explain these poems? Not at all. I quit teaching in colleges because it seemed so criminal to explain works of art. The crisis in my teaching career came, in fact, when I faced an audience which expected me to explain 'Dubliners' by Joyce."
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

 Sometimes I hear people saying that they don't understand poetry.
A poem is not to be understood. It is to be felt, experienced, lived. This is the reason why people can either love a poem or be indifferent to it.
 A poem is an intimate space of possibilities. When you listen to music you don't expect to understand it. You connect to it or you don't.
 Education is deeply concerned with logic and rational thinking, but poetry transcends the boundaries of logic. It is not confined to this type of thinking. The creative process engages an intuitive side that mingles with emotions. Poetry paints music with words. It composes paintings on words; it writes a dance.  It sparks a connection to you... or it doesn't. That is poetry.


14 comments:

  1. Hello Julia:

    We so much concur with everything expressed in this post. Poetry is what you describe and if education is, to a greater or lesser extent, concerned with logic and rational thinking, then poetry becomes a means through which the mind may be allowed to develop creatively and, in so doing, encourage an individual response to, and a personal interpretation of, that which the poet writes. But we should probably argue the same for all literature.

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    1. Yes, of course. It applies to literature and anything artistic.
      "The greatest scientists are also artists," said Albert Einstein.
      Enough said.
      I agree with Einstein.

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  2. Totally agreed! My blogger friend Marty Robin just wrote this aphorism:
    "When I told the rainbow what its colors meant, it laughed."

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    1. How interesting that you wrote this comment.
      I recently had a dream in which everywhere I looked there was a rainbow. Rainbows in the sky, rainbows in the air, rainbows made by artists, rainbows everywhere. A very vivid dream.

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  3. Hi Julia - I really need to spend some time reading different poets and their poems .. I think you recommended a book of poetry - that I bought .. and it's tucked away in here - and I will get to it ..

    I suspect I need to get some works on a podcast and then I can listen and get involved ...

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Reading poetry aloud can be powerful. Listening to it can be powerful too.
      Which book was that Hilary? I'm curious. If you don't connect to those poems, don't give up on poetry. Search, search, search until you find what speaks to your soul... you will not regret it...

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  4. Julia
    I think I'm going crazy. Truthfully I've tried 5 or 6 times to get over here but always get interrupted. It's quite amazing how everyone differs when they process words. I think it's a lot like music, in how and what emotions it leaves with us. My vocabulary is not very extensive and that is why I like writing my rhymes over at Pat's and it can be silly and have made-up words.
    When I dance, I put the beat inside of me and it comes out as an expression of dance. I think you, as a dancer must also do that. I've also noticed that so many people who actually can't move to the music, aren't able to put the music inside of them. So it is with poetry.
    Take care and don't plant any more strawberry seed. :)

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    1. Yes, the creative process is a personal journey that is connected to the cosmos. It is magical and enigmatic.

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  5. Julia, you're so right. I've only recently learned to read poetry (I've always loved it) then just re-read, let it sink in, minister to my subconscious. It helps our writing too.

    As an English teacher I often explain to my students that when living poets read analyses of their work online, their comment is often: Oh, I am so clever. I wish I had thought of that...hahahah...

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    1. Good for you!
      I agree! Analyzing some of my poetry I made some insightful discoveries about myself. Poetry can be a journey of profound introspection.

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  6. Julia, that is the most perfect definition of poetry as I've ever read.

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I appreciate each and every comment. Thank you.