Sunday, September 26, 2004

Intrigued by this Thing Called "Poetry"

Poetry has never been a strong suit of mine--"the red bird sitting on the blue fence represents WHAT?" I never did seem to understand how we could truly comprehend the intent of a poet when all we had to look at was the poem itself. As an historian at heart, I've always been taught that you need more than one source to come up with theories and conclusions about a particular past or document. So, when I am told to analyze a poem and come up with a meaning for the author's choice of words, strictly based on the words and punctuation that it is made up of, I feel as if I am at a loss for what to do. For me, there is a security in knowing that I don't have to be creative in history, because there is always an answer waiting for me, I just have to do some research to find it. My fear of creativity aside, perhaps another reason I have lacked an interest in the subject has had to do with the fact that there was never much of a desire to teach poetry during my highschool years. I can clearly remember one of my teachers telling his entire class that his least favourite aspect of teaching English was, yes you guessed it, poetry! I don’t believe that that is the best motivation for a 16 year-old to enjoy poetry–I could be wrong, but goodness knows it didn’t work for me!

Now that I’m in such a drastically different environment, however, where poetry is appreciated, I find that I’m very willing to be more open about this genre of literary scholarship. I can even safely say that after just a few classes and tutorials, I've come to learn some interesting things about poetry, and I have come to understand it as an art form, an expression, a passion and a liberating way to express one's self through language. And if I might say, I truly am excited about jumping in feet first and learning about all that poetry has to offer.

I think that I will close this blog with an interesting quotation I found comparing poetry and prose, for I think it truly identifies the beauty of poetry, "poetry is the most direct and simple means of expressing oneself in words: the most primitive nations have poetry, but only quite well developed civilizations can produce good prose. So don’t think of poetry as a perverse and unnatural way of distorting ordinary prose statements: prose is a much less natural way of speaking than poetry is. If you listen to small children, and to the amount of chanting and singsong in their speech, you’ll see what I mean," (Northrop Frye, “Verticals of Adam,” The Educated Imagination, Indiana University Press, 1964), from Perhaps if I had considered poetry in this way when I was in highschool, my appreciation for it would have begun long ago.


Blogger chriscouto said...

i think its really cool that you're ready to jump in "feet first" and experience poetry. just the fact that you're going in strong, confident and without hesitation instead of going in cautiously and questioning everything means you're ambitious, excited and curious for whatever comes your way.....kinda makes me think that how we should do everything, "feet first"

September 30, 2004 at 1:22 PM  

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