How to interpret poetry – chapter 2 of 2

What are the basic things you can do to make your poetic-comprehension better?

Here are the few basic things that you can try (some poem forms may have strict formats or overtly regularized rules of syllable count or line count, but considering most  poems are written as free verse) –

  1. You may read the poem’s title but don’t try to articulate your understanding of the poem around it. The poet may have variety of reasons for naming it and the fact that the title appears in the last line or is mostly repeated as a word, isn’t a great one to think so.
  1. Unless it’s a story running, there’s no beginning, middle and end-it’s not written like that. If there are five stanzas, each one is good enough to understand the intent of the poetry.
  1. Always try to look for the theme of the poem and try to guess the mood/state-of-wonder of the poet, in which it must have been written. There will always be circumstances that compel and challenge a poet, to sit down and write his verses.  What do you think were for this one?
  1. The most important thing is to understand the comparisons- if the poem is good with metaphors or if the poem is great with simile (because these are the most common & mostly used figure of speeches). If you can get a hang of few comparisons of those many, you can catch the thread of this big-revolving ball, embroiled with thoughts.
  1. If you can sympathize with the poem, that is good but if you see yourself in the poet’s shoes then it’s a great poem.  every poem with an emphatic effect is a master-piece.
  1. Rhyming schemes are not important, some poems may be structured like normal lines broken at random intervals, some with repetition of ‘ if,when,of’-> to start each line of stanza, some poet’s may obviate the breaking into stanzas and are completely obsessed with the momentum of it, the same way it has hit them while writing it. some poems may be decorated with lot of words that are rhyming together, sweet-sounding homophones, some have lot of commas & semicolon usages. some poets address a change or challenge into the society , they take pride in writing long line verses and repetitions that vociferate their idea. some just concentrate on so many multi-level comparisons, that everything else is forgotten.

Hence, it is not important to understand the rhyming scheme or words usage. As you may see, no poem can have all those attributes, if poem lives on one, it sacrifices the other.

It is important to catch the mental tone, in which the poet has written it. The maximum energy of his skills goes where? Find out?- the figure of speeches, the rhyming scheme, the beginning of the line, the momentum. Etc. it’s reverse-engineering. You try to put yourself in his shoes and you get everything as he has painted. You have your ocular device to view it and discuss your image of his vivid description.

 

How does a poet sees his poetry?

A poet sees his poetry as an external sense of his physical self. He takes all the bubbles of his emotional and mental thoughts, his innermost turmoil, he mixes them up and present it on paper via his tools. It is now captured into a static medium of observation from a dynamic, ever-evolving chain of thoughts. It has a specific date & time of birth. It can be spread & shared to others ,who will see it and express themselves too. They might be triggered into a similar state of realization. Hence, the poet’s need of expressing his idea is the fascination of its complexity, his spiritual gratification lies in the accomplishment of this task and the open end to the process is the revolution that it has created for others who read it.

 

What should you never tell a poet about his poem?

  1. Never tell a poet that he has a great vocabulary and that was an awesome word he used. The poet is already in a life-long struggle with himself to find the correct words, which of-course is a learning process and sometimes a frustrating wild-goose chase. He is more interested in the verbiage of the viewer of that poem (the person whose in the poem’s scene or scenario).
  1.  Never conclude a poem or give a linear opinion. Nobody in the poetic brethren will like it.
  1. Never lecture a poet to pick the topics or work on diluting the abstract thoughts to reader’s end. Remember! It’s not in his control! He writes what he experiences. If it’s intentional & topics are chosen to cater the reader, quality & purpose of the poem will suffer.
  1. Don’t give stupid comments that the rhyming is so abab! I like it! Or syllable count is great or its- long or short. These are simply secondary observations. He is more interested in your open-end description or your sympathy/empathy with the state of trance.
  1. At last, if you can suitably suggest an alternate title to the poem or discuss your opinion about a similar poem. It will be work great at both ends.

Where to start now after reading all of this?

The best place to start is with poems that can appeal. Simply, pick up limericks ( these are usually funny), haiku ( relates to idea of a scene) , general free verse poems of comical genres or poems on sarcasm about everyday’s life situation. It will be easier to start with and you can build your interest and dwell into other complicated work as per you discretion.

 

 

 

Good luck reading poems.

being a reader

being a reader

 

Godspeed.

Vishu mishra

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How to interpret poetry – chapter 1 of 2

If you are already an expert in writing poetry. This write-up is not for your read. If your well- versed with your simile, metaphor, other figure of speeches, this is not the article to read. however, if   logical demons of your mind averse you from getting into reading the stanzas, lines that outpour the mental euphoria, beautifully expressed phases of mental trance, moments of wonder that are captured on pages-> this article can give you few tips to open your mind into their acceptance. After-all, if you like reading English and don’t like poetry, there’s a major chunk of expression art you’re missing out while skipping those seemingly abstract phrases of poems.

 

Q: are you a music lover, do you listen to songs, appreciate the lyrics of all kind of music- hip-hop ,top charts, rap songs, trend breaking rhymes etc ? ( everything with melody, rhyme, song ,symmetry, is a poem at its core)

 

What happens when you try to read a poem-?

  1. You look at the title and you try to guess what this poem is all about.
  2. You see the length of the poem & the lines in each stanza with a cursory view.
  3. Mid-way through the poem-> you lose the trail of thought & start feeling that the abstract thought of poet is overdone.
  4. Finally, you pick one or two of your new-found favorite lines from that poem and you appreciate it. You pick few good words and its usage in the poem, praising the novelty of the poet.
  5. You get out of it, do away with formalities of appreciation & make a subconscious-mental note of never visiting that page/poem again.

 

Now a factoid

Perception of Beauty – what is the most common perception of beauty, is it complexity? Is it conspicuous difficulty in creating it? Is it the aesthetic, emotional, personal value connected to it? However, lot of answers may vary from person-to-person, but to a common viewer, the most noticeable perception of beauty is symmetry. It falls equally appealing to the logical mind and the artistic mind.

This is one of the prime reasons that when we look to evaluate something, which is seemingly un-familiar or even vague, our major value points are based on its symmetry.

In context to poetry-> the consistency with lines & syllables in the stanzas, the flow and the rhyming scheme. If any of these-three is distorted, we lose our hope to further familiarize with it.

 

 

 

How do people get into the flow of writing poetry and evolve with it?

I always wanted to know the basic difference between a writer and a poet. I couldn’t guess until I myself started writing articles. If I had two different brains and I begin to vacillate between the flow of a writer and the flow of a poet-

Things that would remain the same

  1. In both minds, I would be in a momentum of rushing thoughts, far more enhanced and over-powering to the body i.e. a psychogenic phenomenon. The control of mind over the body is so strong that it has a visible effect.
  2. Both minds are moody. One day they may work for 14 hrs a day and for others they may simply put you off.
  3. Both minds work dynamically in constructing their expressions, i.e. the idea may be static but its aspects, priority & revelation may keep on changing from one moment to another. For e.g. if I get an idea right now & I start writing an article about it or create a poem about it, something good comes out.

Now, if I keep that idea in mind and I stall its construction say till the evening. It’s revealing to note that the work that was done in the day to the night will have great difference in its structuring.

 

Things that are different in comparison

 

  1. Writing an article may take the most intellectual fodder of your brain & your mind sinks into it completely but good poetry writing is a synergism of- mind, soul & heart. Therefore, it is usually written in complete silence & isolation, where in an article may-be written sipping through you cappuccino in a coffee house, A poem commands the complete support of your emotion, memory, soul, heart & mind. It is as if you’re in a state of wonder. The process is highly metaphysical & super-sophisticated in nature.

 

  1. Both minds may-be moody but if writing is done to recapitulate a larger narration or give a view point, Poetry is done to satiate your need for personal expressions & imitate the beautification of -nature ,thought or a scenery by one’s skill in indirect & direct comparison.

 

  1. Both minds work dynamically, but one works linearly and other (poetic) loves to work in varied- dimensions-> sentences are twisted, phrases are inverted, word forms are changed, everything is done to break the linearity and rules. The language and draft of a writer may-be binding but a poet loves to keep as many open ends as possible, everything is subjective, he will provide you with a view and give you different lenses and ocular devices to view it. He will love to see you notice something further.

 

  1. A writer may love to simplify a scene but a poet will always take pride in its synthesis. It’s like viewing a mountain & a river, the writer writes about his awe of this vivid scenery but a poet might sometime never mention the river & mountain as a separate entity i.e. forming a scene but comparing them to something else. He will even work in creating the un-seen relations between these two- in harmony, different weathers, with the clouds, with the trees, with the animals & all this is being worked at multi- levels in his poetic brain.

 

He might finally come up with an entirely different narration to explain the scenery & the poem’s title will never be about the scene but the innermost revelation in the process. On the other hand, writers tend to give a hook & sneak-peak to intimate about the content in the article. A poet is least bothered about the hook but the joy of his creation & the entire flow of read.

 

 

left over discussion in chaper 2. to be published in 24 hrs.

how to interpret poetry

how to interpret poetry

godspeed.

vishu mishra