I don’t remember when I started liking poetry. Probably I was born with it or was fascinated by the lyrics of Mother Nature.
When I walk down my memory lane, one image looms large and that is how much effort one of our English professors used to put into explaining the poetry of Tennyson and Wordsworth. While the latter was relatively easier to understand, the former much more complex and obviously we didn’t like the one who was more challenging.
The real challenges came my way when ‘Paradise Lost,’ an epic poem by John Milton was not taught in the class (or if it was, I must be mentally absent) and even when it was discussed, it didn’t evoke any interest!
While prose can be an effortless reading unless it is stream of consciousness writing, poetry can become quite boring if we are not familiar with its techniques and tones.
Despite the tests and trails, I continued to like poetry and slowly discovered that it is a genre par excellence. It can say a lot through literary techniques, which only an admirer of Literature can understand. I still struggle to understand some subtle messages conveyed through simple words.
I have to read my blogger friend Bela’s poems thrice to understand the undertones that appear enigmatic initially. They also inspire ideas to compose another poem.
Ambiguous ideas in a poem provide a food for thought and chisel your creative skills.
Who has the time and the inclination to read and re-read a poem in this fast-paced world? Only poetry lovers do!
Another lovely friend Sue, who is a poet and a prolific blogger of amazing eminence inspires with her poetry.
Most of my blogger friends are elaborative when they share their reflections on my post. Whenever I post a poem, I get a lukewarm response and I often wonder – is it because of poetry?
Quickly my mind hurtles back, my interactions with teenagers get refreshed, all their expressions, yawns and glances stand before me, bringing those lovely memories of hate-love relationship we had with poetry…when we would try to convince each other why poetry is good or bad and how we could understand it better.
I am not an expert but I have figured out a few ways to understand poetry.
How to understand a poem:
All readers have their own approach and interpretation but how imagery is used defines a poem. Can you read between those special words to fathom their depth?
It is better to read slowly. Stop and ponder over at the word that seems simple but abstruse.
“If you’re curious, there is always something new to be discovered in the backdrop of your daily life,” says Roy T. Bennett. Be curious. Inquisitiveness and interest are two important elements that lead to our understanding of a poem.
Poetry can’t be scanned and understood like prose as the former demands concentration, attention and gentle reading.
If you read a poem in a hurry, you would miss the real meaning. Many times words are used as metaphors.
You have to be familiar with most common literary techniques like simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification, alliteration and assonance.
Imaginative flights of poets can’t be predicted, we have to fly with them to figure out their proficiencies.
Critical analysis of a poem reveals the nuances of its theme, undertones and other signals, which remain hidden to a scanner.
Some poems are ambiguous. Probably they relate to the poet’s past or buried memory, which he wouldn’t like to reveal yet, give a vent to his emotions through writing.
“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” – Leonard Cohen
Do you like poetry? Do you read a poem slowly?
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