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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Connecting the Dots

The mind is such an incredible device. You are reading along in some other poet’s work and all of a sudden, hum…. You wonder what was going on in the poet’s mind. Well, very likely what was going on in his or her mind is the same thing working in your own mind, logic.

Of course you’ll argue that you certainly don’t see the logic of what you just read, but the fact is, the writer used his mental process and came up with what he did. So your life experiences are different and these two minds take the same things and end up at different points of conclusion. So what! That in fact is one of the very reasons I find poetry so utterly fascinating.

If I say “clock” and you immediately think of your daughter, I might not immediately see how you got daughter out of that. None the less you arrived at point C from point A. There was to you a logical progression. For you, perhaps the word clock reminded you of an appointment time. Those in turn triggered A thought that you were supposed to be somewhere 45 minutes ago. Where? Ah, your daughter’s school to pick her up and take her to the Doctor. So while I am thinking of wristwatch, quitting time at work, going home, etc., I just don’t see your daughter. Still the connection to you was quite logical.

I recall someone once saying ( I think it was Pinsky but don’t hold me to it) that when he reads a poem and is not getting it, he refuses to dismiss it, thinking what a poor job the poet has done. Instead, he figures the problem lies with himself, the reader and that he has to read it again, and again , again until he gets it.

The is the challenge of reading poetry that inspires me. Yes, I too sometimes wonder, “where did that come from?” The fact however, is that it was the product of the logic of another’s mind. There is always a reason, it simply may not be an obvious reason to you. And so with poetry, we get a tiny glimpse inside the workings of another’s mind.


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