“the answer to the war between the reader and the poet

…is not less poetry, but more poetry. I think that for every poem that we have to say the meaning of, we must read and simply read ten poems without discussing their meaning. I think that we should be allowed to say, “I don’t know what this means,” and just move on to another poem.”

Pet theory of the moment: There are only two things in all of poetry and in all poems and in all poets – story-telling and/or mood-making. Some poets are master story tellers. Some are master mood-makers. Some poems tell stories to make moods. Some make moods to tell stories.

Pet counter (kinda)-theory of the moment: maybe all poets and poems are telling stories whatever they do and the over-arching definitional problem is that we tend to think of stories as linear things with a beginning, a middle and an end. Which starts when we are tiny, sitting cross-legged on the carpet in preschool listening to once upon a time/happy ever after fairy tales.

Someone should, unless someone (apart from small children because in fact that’s what they already do in their teeming flashing little amazon jungle heads before linear fairy-tales-in-books mess them up) already has, start writing non-linear, impressionistic, mood-ist preschool fairy tales.

Published by

Nic Sebastian

Nic is the author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark And Like A Web. She founded the now-archived Whale Sound site and is co-founder of The Poetry Storehouse. Nic blogs at Very Like A Whale and Voice Alpha.

3 thoughts on ““the answer to the war between the reader and the poet”

  1. Hi Nic, on reading poetry, sometimes its good to read ONE poem, MANY times. Poets such as Seamus Heaney, Mary Oliver, and others can rewrite a poem hundreds of times. And often such poems reward multiplereadings- spread out over the course of a few months, years, a life-time. After many readings, you can recite it by heart and it (the poem) becomes a part of you. And. after a time, you may come to learn not only what it means but rather you learn its many layers and types (intellectual, visceral, emotional etc) meanings.

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