Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reading Poetry

Found this presentation that analyzes the meaning of some of very popular Seamus Heaney poems. I can't decide if I love Personal Helicon any more than I did before now that I have its underlying meaning explained and have its provenance traced back to figures from Greek Mythology. In his article Why Read Poetry ? Kenneth Lyen gets its exactly right. He says :

Poetry is a bit like music. Something draws you to it. You just enjoy it. No need to find out why it affects you. And no need to analyse it. The very act of analysis can either enhance your enjoyment or destroy it. For me, when I studied music academically, it ruined the pleasure of listening to it. The same with poetry. I don’t like to dissect my poems too much. I like to read them aloud in a relaxed state of mind, and allow their meaning to waft over me.

He goes on to list excerpts from some of his favorite poetry and I find myself nodding in agreement. Apparently, the punditry call these easy to love and appreciate pieces "pop poetry". Not unlike music or art - anything that appeals to the untrained, everyday person is generally considered infra dig.

The connoisseurs stay away from that stuff to lavish their praise and attention on more obscure and inaccessible works. However, it is the common, every day person who cares passionately about "pop" poetry, music or art that gives it is enduring quality, it is the reason the creators of these works survive the test of time. If it had been up to the experts, most of them would have never found their place in the sun.

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