Why do you read poetry?

Discussion in 'Poetry' started by badgerjelly, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Active Member

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    I can't make heads or tails out of those three lines. That's not saying much though, as that's how most poetry strikes me.
     
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  2. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    I love poetry, but it's the same for me. I truly am as blind as a bat when it comes to deciphering / analysing poetry. A lot of it sounds like gobbledegook to me.

    Which is precisely why you'll not find any hidden meanings or symbolism in my stuff. The odd metaphor or simile is about as far as my talents will allow.
     
  3. dbesim

    dbesim Contributor Contributor

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    Poetry doesn’t have to be overtly coded or complicated. The best poems are the simplest ones that communicate a pure message that people can relate to. Most people aren’t given the opportunity to explain what their poems really mean but it could make all the difference.
     
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  4. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    OK, I'll explain:

    "When you see through true love's illusions

    He's talking about how we tend to see what we want to see in a love interest, and not what is really there.

    And your perfect lover just looks like a perfect fool

    The "perfect lover" is the ideal lover, the one without faults; the "perfect fool" is the complete fool, the total fool. Maybe that's an American idiom that you're not acquainted with. (Perhaps one of the other Brits on the forum will enlighten us.) Most of us who initially have found the "perfect lover" discover their imperfections by and by, and wonder how we ever missed these flaws in the first place.

    So you go off in search of a perfect stranger ..."

    Is he talking about this stranger who is ideal, without faults, or is he talking about a complete stranger, about which he knows absolutely nothing? It can be taken either way, which is the point. He's looking for the ideal lover, and also one on which he can blithely project his own fantasies without knowing anything about the stranger's true personality. That's a lot of compression in ten words.
     
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  5. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Active Member

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    Why would uncovering a lover's imperfections makes us view them as complete and total fools? That doesn't ring true to me at all.

    If that's the case the point does nothing for me. Neither does message compression.
     
  6. dbesim

    dbesim Contributor Contributor

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    I think the line is more about seeing through illusions rather than noticing imperfections. It also probably reflects more on the person who’s creating these illusions because they feel a bit deceived for having illusions about this person and they end up feeling like a fool themself.
     
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  7. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Active Member

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    I agree it speaks more to the person swallowing the fantasy. Unfortunately the wording doesn't reflect that.
     
  8. dbesim

    dbesim Contributor Contributor

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    You’re quite right. The wording doesn’t really reflect that but as a piece of writing it could inspire all sorts of interpretations... like sometimes when you read a short story and imagine things about that world that the writer hasn’t specifically described. It’s not always literal. In this case it’s the object of affection described as ‘the perfect fool’ instead of the person with the illusions.
     
  9. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    Bingo.
     
  10. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Active Member

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    Refer to post #32
     
  11. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    Thank you. I'm curious ... are there any particular turns of phrase that you are fond of, or that you could cite as examples of the type of poetry and word play that you like? I think that much of what I like might leave you cold, but surely there are things that you could share with us.
     
  12. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Active Member

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    Yes, I imagine much of the poetry you like would leave me cold. That's no slight against you of course, it just is what it is.

    I'm rarely moved by what I would consider traditional poetry. It doesn't touch me in the way music, films, novels, and short stories do—not even close. That's not to say I don't appreciate some (depending on how it's applied) poetic prose is my fiction. I often do. In fact, my favorite novel was written by a poet. But in those cases the poetry serves the story. It adds something elegant, powerful, or haunting to it.

    Because you asked for something I'm fond of here's a passage from Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine. I don't know if it's poetry, but I know I love it.
    Dandelion wine.

    The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered. And now that Douglas knew, he really knew he was alive, and moved turning through the world to touch and see it all, it was only right and proper that some of his new knowledge, some of this special vintage day would be sealed away for opening on a January day with snow falling fast and the sun unseen for weeks or months and perhaps some of the miracle by then forgotten and in need of renewal. Since this was going to be a summer of unguessed wonders, he wanted it all salvaged and labeled so that anytime he wished, he might tiptoe down in this dank twilight and reach up his fingertips.

    And there, row upon row, with the soft gleam of flowers opened at morning, with the light of this June sun glowing through a faint skin of dust, would stand the dandelion wine. Peer through it at the wintry day—the snow melted to grass, the trees were reinhabited with bird, leaf, and blossoms like a continent of butterflies breathing on the wind. And peering through, color sky from iron to blue.

    Hold summer in your hand, pour summer in a glass, a tiny glass of course, the smallest tingling sip for children; change the season in your veins by raising glass to lip and tilting summer in.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
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  13. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Contributor Contributor

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    Like you and others on here, I am very picky with poetry. I love to read things that impress me. I like to pick up a book and go Wow, I wish I came up with that line.

    Other times, I'd like the ideas and mood of the poetry. I enjoy Christian themed poetry and philosophical poetry.

    There is a correlation to why I read things and why I write things. I read for a different reason than why I write though. Certain things I read doesn't make me want to write while other things I read inspire me plenty.
     
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  14. EBohio

    EBohio Member

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    I don't really read poetry but when I do it's because the first sentence gets me.

    A friend of mine is a College Teacher and writes poetry on the side. We once had an interesting discussion when I said that James Dickey didn't look like a poet.

    He asked me, "What does a poet look like"? I told him I don't know but not like that Sheriff in "Deliverance". (James Dickey made a cameo in his own "Deliverance").

    I then saw an interview with James Dickey on You Tube and he said one word made him want to become a poet, "shivered".

    He said he was reading a poem and then the line was (paraphrased by me) "he looked at...and then the flowers shivered into islands..."

    He said, "shivered, how brillant, who would think of this. I want to be a part of this". So, that's how he became a poet.
     
  15. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale hostis humani generis Contributor

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    Saw this on the main page and I just wanted to say that I rarely do. It's not that I don't enjoy poetry, but when I try to read it to myself, I just don't "get" it usually. I find it hard to find the rhythm the poet intended, land my beats (musically or whatever) on all the wrong places, and just generally end up like Charlie the Iceman singing along with Heart of Gold. Listening to poetry, on the other hand, is something I enjoy, when I hear someone who understands the poet's audio intentions it's quite a pleasant experience. When I was in high school, my English class went to see Howard Nemerov do a reading of some of his stuff, and it was fucking sublime even for a teenage punk.

     
  16. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    It's true that much poetry is meant to be heard, not read. Most of Shakespeare falls into that category, as does this work by Roger McGough:

     
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  17. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale hostis humani generis Contributor

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    That was surreal, thanks!
     
  18. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Active Member

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    I like reading SOME poetry. Not all. I definitely dont seek it out... but there have been a few writers I've come across in undergrad that I like, and in finding more of their work, I find similar authors. I also like poetic prose, like Khalil Gibran's The Prophet. Why? because its pretty. I'm not a religious person, but his words speak to me more than the Bible (boy did I get an earful when I said that to my grandma....)

    In terms of why? Its thought provoking and relatable. For example, "We Wear The Masks" by Paul Laurence Dunbar and "I am nobody" by Emily Dickinson are 2 of my favorite poems because, from my point of view, its talking about outcasts and how the world views us and how we view ourselves.
    I like a few of Shakespeare's poetry and Poe as well. They are fun to read out loud. As a stutterer, rhythm and rhyme just comes out easier. I can read a poem like "Annabelle Lee" out loud with no problems, but read a short paragraph of prose, and I am winded, anxious, sweaty, and wanting to crawl under a rock.
     

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