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

Being a reader- chapter 3/5

Let me tell my story to recapitulate the entire thing

I have a great love for English as a language- idioms, phrases, vocabulary, slangs,different verbiage, linguistics, semantics. one can’t fail to be a good and entertaining conversationalist if you pursue interest in all of these. Along comes a natural flair for good humor, personal observation for people’s behavior, their idiosyncrasies, their accent, their weakling as a recipe for protruding out their animated self & basically a central idea in my mind to create entertainment for people around me.

So often i have tried to engage my mental troubles to writing diary, creating couplets, writing short & long poems, even few articles on random topics. However, I was never a reader. You could ask me about any of the first three questions on world scenario, books, topics & I would give a nay shrug with personalized cussing tone & move towards outdoor. It is because I was possessed with the idea of real time engagement for e.g. sports, biking, running, hanging out with people etc. I could look at a book shelf for ages and still not get one familiar name from the shelf.

I was neither a voracious reader nor an omnivorous reader nor could I simulate myself and dabble around with a book. I gained my expertise by being out and living & everything written in books seemed second class. However, my only hook was my interest in writing and my love for the language, for which I miserably looked for self-help books on vocabulary, phrases, idioms, all those –‘how to?’ books.

As mentioned above, I had an acute problem with my concentration and passing the bookish books of college was itself a daunting task altogether. So, there was no shelf for other books. Now here’s an an interesting dichotomy, There are two kinds of people, first ones are runners and second are readers. Life needs a balance of both R’S, without which your overall development won’t suffice. I rated myself at 1 out of 10 on reading habits on the above (considering it an evaluation from my past).

Now the embarrassing part of the story
In College I could read nothing without great efforts, so I wasn’t reading at all with no efforts .To be in this position, you will feel that life turns stagnant in every-way. Your awareness of the world is through tv-news , which already morphs the real meat & present their meager work of self-cultivated reality-scenario for the medium class people. Your information is only through other people which to say the least, is again second hand & lacks credibility. Which finally means, if you haven’t read about anything nor known it from the source, how can you ever be sure of what you’re stating to other people.

In such a case, you will always hustle, you will give poker faces while asserting, you will try to master the art of word mincing, you will turn a consummate liar at points & an unabashed ego-debater with no grounds or substance. So, in a longer term, it knocks out your outdoor activities too. Therefore, talking about latest trends, technologies, and upcoming things is out of the window. You now depend on another person in the group to give some information & then you can add your worthless repetitions & junky variations to engage In a hollow conversation,which has no merits & rewards at its end. Therefore, you can’t belong to this category as well.

Finally, ideas maybe abstract but they are inspired from the working world, the simplest practical realities, you need to know the world in current age to evolve an idea that changes it. Therefore, you cannot belong to this section as well. So in the end, you are left & cornered in the first kind of people- you will talk about the gossip in college, neighbourhood, about people, about day’s events, about sensationalism, about scandals, which is to a lot of people on the acceptable terms. However, you are not even remotely on the refreshing talk, ever-growing personality, emotional growth, spurring ideas or even showing a fair level of intellect.

You are full of cliché’, borrowed phraseology, your bromide conversations put people to deep-sleep. Your platitudinous statements turn people flabbergasted to your audacious attempt at coolness. if you could guess it, these people are the average IQ people of the society, the ones who discuss ongoing scenarios are above average,very good and smart, the ones who engage in ideas and changes in the world are atop superior & even genius. If you adhere to the idea of IQ being an asset in life. It’s high time you jump to the second bracket & ‘being a good reader’ is the only hope.

Here are some tips that will surely help you in your reading

But before that, I have a word of wisdom for all the writer brethren. After all this radical transformation, I have had a revelation that has broken my solid foundations of negligence, it is a simple resolved notion that writing and reading go together. You must be a good reader to become a good writer. If you’re not ill-struck by god, with a disease causing bad concentration & still don’t get into any reading habit -then I can only sympathize with your ambitions to become a good writer, or your aspirations to develop an intellect or even possessing a great vocabulary for word usage. It is like a self inflicted wound, like a self- imposed curse to life.

For writers->always remember! That Grammar is the backbone of all expressions, so get it right, not the pedantic or puristic right but on a fairly acceptable & necessary terms. After that comes the connecting strokes & conjunctional patterns in your writing. Subsequently, your vocabulary & your style. So, reading can take care of a major part of it but don’t try to hold your nose the other way round. I have had lot of trouble in improving upon my grammar & connecting strokes because I learned my English without reading good stuff. So I was habitual in making very complicated mistakes – of grammar & connections. Such things can only go away with voracious, omnivorous & variety reading

being a reader

being a reader


godspeed.
vishu mishra

Being a reader- chapter 2/5

Anyways! coming out of that bookish discussion, let’s try something else. Let us try to introspect about other traits of your outward personality.

1. Are you a kind of person who likes discussions about science-fiction, sports strategies, futuristic trends, latest fashion- & it’s cool and clumsy quotients, or how the next sequel of that movie should or shouldn’t have been made, a complete-critique of your activities.

2. Are you a gregarious person, do you like to engage in an interesting discussion with an old or new group & “talks about what you think?”

3. Are you an active netizen– do you like to write your experiences, express your opinions on social forums, be vocal of your stand and Get verbal on your thinking.

4. Are you an intellectual egoist– who despite all ignorance to reading & knowing defends his opinions on a choice of subjectivity i.e. your opinion is yours and you stick to it? Do you try a lot harder to always at par your intellect with the others on almost anything put to discussion.

5. Are you a special case like me who likes writing, knowing good & difficult words, using good & smart phrases but doesn’t like reading other people’s stuff! Well, it is true that everybody wants his stuff to be read and be given a fair opinion or peripheral critique, if allowed!. Somebody once told me, “you can’t be a good writer unless you read what others have written”. My reply- “why? What about the first painting in the early man caves or first manuscript on ancient culture, proves a point doesn’t it?”

Here’s an interesting factoid about intellect, English and ideas

ENGLISH– The backbone of English i.e. grammar is inconsistent with time; it changes unlike the spelling of words. The usage of English & phrases ,are defined in a society according to the trend set by the most educated people i.e. writers, opinion makers etc. there is always a class of people in the society that will earmark a word or phrase as cliché, an idiom as old & an adjective as over-used. They might rescue the old lost verbiage & put it into the modern usage and they might bag-pack few of those currently in use, to old graves.

IDEAS
Some wise man said- “ideas are like sperms, only few make it”. I guess its befitting to identify those few who make it and not let a modicum of useful thought & effort be wasted in harnessing the others , right?
Another school of thought says– it is a continuing and frustrating process of churning & repetition that ensures the consistency of productive & worthier output (not in terms of volume). Which means, irrespective of thinking about the desired output and working on all the output ,of which a few maybe desirable. Hence, whether any field- it’s your pursuit that matter. If you like ideas, then your days and night should be engaged in thinking, spend your time in discussing and engaging with new & fresh ideas, if you’re an artist, a painter, a humorist, so should be the case. Interaction spurs interest, which is the core of all excellence. If Sachin Tendulkar din’t have undying & unparallel interest in cricket, not even god’s all talent could have made him accomplished half of where he stands. if Da Vinci dint like the idea of the new world,there won’t have been a blueprint book, which contained basis for over 100 great inventions. Therefore,interest & ideas go back to back.

Here’s another interesting thing about vocabulary
A table of comparison with your age & words learned per year.

Age v/s known words
By 4 yrs 500 words
7 yrs 20,000 words
10 years 35,000 words
……..20 years onwards …100 words/year

Now let me connect all the dots in a simple way. You were learning words at a faster pace when you were a little kid than as an adult today. Looking at later years, it shows that your vocab. Growth is snail paced right now. Words are said to be the symbol of ideas, every word is derived from some symbol, it even has a word-root, a story or even a belief behind it. Hence, not knowing them will create a blind spot on your mental window of ideas. So ideas and words go together like thread & needle. If you’re looking for new ideas, or you wish to engage into higher dimensions of your mind. It is important that you lose your ignorance to the world of words. Further, it is also interesting to note that your IQ scores and your vocab. scores are very similar i.e. if you score in a higher bracket in one, you will end up in the same in other.

So, your intelligence, your intellect, your mental keenness & sharpness, your refreshing attitude towards ideas and their engagement with the world, & finally your English- they are all pieces of the same boggling puzzle, like small parts of a larger machine that runs your brain, feeds you knowledge & awareness, a feeling of freshness & a presence of being in the current age. So, if you are an intellectual egoist, you would always want to feel the rush of mental euphoria, being sweetly-struck with your abstract theory which sounds so fantastic. It can be your brilliant idea that seems so plausible or your original views on a subject that are out of the book. All such things not borrowed but cooked in your own cauldron of mind ,under the fuel of passion & aired by a brainstorm of original thinking.

being a reader

being a reader

godspeed.
vishu mishra