Is poetry subjective or are we suppose to understand it the way the Poet writ it or come close?

NetherCraft 0

6 Answers

  • Unless you’re in the same room with the poet, and able to ask for clarification, you’re kinda stuck with whatever understanding the words on the page might lend you. That means that you have to make do with the set of understandings you already have to understand any understandings this poem might (or might NOT) contain.

    So, yeah, your understanding of the poem is gonna be subjective. That doesn’t invalidate it, but it does leave the possibility that it isn’t even close to what the poet(ess) had in mind when it was written.

    And you can’t ever be sure that you really took it the way it was hoped to be taken.

    That is the problem, poet and consumer of poetry. But it’s not peculiar to poetry. Words are sometimes—often!—awkward instruments.

    You can’t make what’s on the page before you different from what it is. If it’s opaque to you, it’s not your fault.

    When YOU write a poem, remember that your reader isn’t you.

  • You must mean “wrote” rather than “writ” Certainly poetry can be interpretive, often subjective, and as poets we not only want readers to understand, but possibly relate, even on a personal level.

    One tool I enjoy, I call a “hook” that draws the reader in, well baited, the reader hopefully reads, understands, and finishes.

    That said, I offer a quote, “A poet is a liar who speaks the truth.” Jean Cocteau.

    There are poems which ask questions, or answer them, inviting a reader. There are also poems, with a cliff hanger, perhaps intriguing the reader to want to learn, read more from the author.

    If a poem is difficult to understand, has no meaning to a reader, then the poet has not done an adequate job.

  • In between. Most poems (deliberately) contain some ambiguity and omit some information, and thereby invite the reader to bring his or her own experience and imagination to the understanding of the poem.

    On the other hand, what one critic called “freewheeling interpretation” isn’t valid. There has to be some evidence within the poem for any interpretation you come up with.

    For example, Dante’s “Inferno” can “mean” many different things, but if you interpret it as being a repair manual for a 1999 Toyota Camry, or as advocating a decrease in the U.S. import tariffs on mangoes, then your interpretation is flat-out wrong and you are psychotic. There is absolutely no evidence in the poem to support such an interpretation.

  • Poetry can be subjective because feelings can be subjective. Poetry is about expressing our deepest feelings in a way that the reader can enjoy or more often suffer right along with us. Since we are limited to mere words, getting those exact same feelings to the reader can be more like blowing bubbles in the wind. I think the intention most often is clarity but the effect is most often a door too wide to shut. It seems silly to me to write baseless poetry just for the soul purpose of giving the reader something to play with, but I suppose not everyone likes crossword puzzles.

  • You are supposed to always read the poem,not the writer.

    It is very subjective.Unless it’s plainly stated in every day language,

    without the usage of metaphors,there are different meanings from different readers.Unless you personally ask the poet,sometimes a meaning will be as opinionated as believing in God.

  • Poetry is an art form as as such, is subjective. You can analyze it from the author’s perspective but your own meaning is just as valid.

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