Poetry in Turbulence

To many non-specialists of literature, poetry is deeply unsatisfying. There are several reasons for this, but two in particular come to mind. The first is that most poetry is overly descriptive, leaving little to the imagination; the second is that the rest of it is abstruse. This presents the non-specialist with a dilemma: either to persevere in the thankless task of attempting to unravel an increasingly unrewarding literary crossword; or to make do with the superficialities of descriptive verse and the resultant ennui. Both projects would presumably confirm any prejudices that these readers entertained about the relevancy of poetry to their lives. In circumstances such as these, I think it would be appropriate to introduce a method of poetic appreciation, which, although unorthodox, would encourage the non-specialist to revise any negative opinion of poetry held.

The first thing that has to be drawn to the attention of these readers is the fact that it is up to them to come to an understanding of the poem. The poem is unlikely to facilitate such a response without this active participation on their part. The main thing to point out to them is that valuable time and effort would be wasted in attempting to look for the poem's intended meaning. Rather, a more helpful course would be to encourage readers to actively engage in their own particular and personal exegetical responses to the text - however idiosyncratic or perverse the results of this may appear.

It is of minor importance whether the commonly received meaning of the poem is discerned by the reader or not, as the ultimate aim of such a personal response is to enhance the enjoyment value of the work as opposed to engaging in a scholastic deciphering of its hermetic aspects. What the poem is meant to mean should not be of paramount concern for readers wishing to gain satisfaction and enjoyment from the work. On the contrary, surface meaning can sometimes be more of a disadvantage than a blessing, as in such instances the poem disallows the mind an active part in the creative process that the enjoyment of art requires.

A satisfying poem is one that enters the reader's mind and turns the key to his or her imagination. It enables them to find meanings and emotions that hold a particular significance and relevance to their experience. A poem that fails to satisfy does the opposite: it tells you what it is about, the emotions you are to feel and the understanding you are to have.

Each reader should be permitted the fundamental privilege of formulating a meaning which would (for that reader) be the quintessence of the poem's significance. The words and images of a poem should be looked upon as devices that the reader can solicit to paraphrase their own experiences. Such an approach to reading poetry, if widely understood and accepted, could possibly restore poetry to its status as an important and popular art form.

Jeffrey Side has had poetry published in various magazines including: T.O.P.S., The White Rose, Poetry Salzburg Review, ism, Sphinx and Homeground. And his poems have appeared on various poetry web sites such as Poethia, nthposition, Ancient Heart Magazine, Blazevox, hutt and Cybpher Anthology.

He has reviewed poetry for New Hope International, Stride Magazine, Acumen and Shearsman Magazine. From 1996 to 2000 he was the assistant editor of The Argotist magazine. He now runs The Argotist Online web site:

http://www.argotistonline.co.uk/index.html

In The News:


pen paper and inkwell


cat break through


A Hundred and Fifty Dead [Korean War--l952]

There I sat, ninety-five degree weatherOutside; the bookstore café, was... Read More

I Hate The Wait (Weight)

I get up in the morningAnd want to stay in... Read More

Four Poems: Two for the Devil, Two for Peru

Here is some witty poetry (not sure if that is... Read More

Storm Rising along the Lima Coast

Storm Rising along the Lima Coast [Summer of 2002]?wind was... Read More

A Different Place...

I wish we had met 20 years ago... A different... Read More

Hindu Poet - Kamalakanta

Kamalakanta was born in Burdwan India in the late 18th... Read More

Publishing Your Poetry

If you are serious about seeing your work published by... Read More

Joined

JOINEDHeart beat of man pounding - yet unheard joined... Read More

I Shall Wait...

I Shall Wait..On all the new mornings, and every singking... Read More

Way of Life: Rhymes of the Inca [four poems: see in Spanish and English NOW!]

Way of Life: Rhymes of the IncaPizarro (Spanish conquistador ((1525))The... Read More

In The Midst Of All

In the midst of darkness, there is light. In... Read More

My hero, my best friend, my Grannio (a.k.a my Grandmother)

She raised me like I was her own daughter from... Read More

A Case of The Fears

Chicken Soup is good for a coldSleep is good for... Read More

Song of the Great Zimbabwe, and Silver and Inca Blood [Poems and notes]

"Song of the Great Zimbabwe"Across the African, winter's skyIn the... Read More

Become A Poet In Ten Minutes

Have you ever sat there staring at the paper, ready... Read More

Biography of Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte (1816 ?1855) Novelist and Poet.Charlotte was the daughter... Read More

Barriers

There are many times I set up barriers and walls,... Read More

My Grannio

I never thought I would have to say GOODBYE to... Read More

Poetry ?Reborn? Emerges In Thriller Mystery Novel

Since Mohamed Ali?then Cassius Clay?announced that he had written "The... Read More

Burning Autumn Leaves [a poem in Spanish and English]

Burning Autumn Leaves [1950s in St. Paul, Minnesota]My long steel... Read More

Ballade of an Inca King

Ah! Leave the gold, wealth and landSays the Inca King?;... Read More

Preserving Dignity

No one should have to beg or crawl before humanity.... Read More

THe Monster Mash, A Graveyard SMASH (short story I wrote when I was 11)

The Monster Mash The Graveyard SmashHave you heard of the... Read More

Two Poems and a Short Story

1)dying in the bar [sluggishly]yet, I would crawl too upto... Read More

Beautiful Dreamer, Stephen Foster, Americas First Folk Song Writer

"Beautiful Dreamer" was written by Stephen Foster just before his... Read More

Ambiguity and Abstraction in Bob Dylan?s Lyrics

To many people contemporary poetry is a turn-off. The reason... Read More

A Happiness Poem

If a happiness poem could bring forth a smile, Then... Read More

Three Love Poems [all wicked]

Advance: Mr. Dennis Siluk's poetry can have its fire-hearted twists:... Read More

Three Poems: Liberty, Death, and a Frog [with Commentary on Liberty]

Frog SummerSummer grows hot, for the New-blooded frogs; The bugs... Read More

Lord Byrons She Walks in Beauty

Lord Byron's opening couplet to "She Walks In Beauty" is... Read More

Uamaks Aquatic [suspense: now in Spanish and English]

Delicately, my mind was selecting a muffled tune, out of... Read More

Poetry in a Nutshell

Poetry is more than just rhyming and prose that is... Read More

Farewell to Lester Graybill

I never met a man, who could shake my hand,... Read More