Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Second Language of Poetry

Reading Donald Hall's essay Goatfoot, Milktounge, Twinbird - infantile origins of poetic form is loaded with interesting insights that I feel are truisms and while I could not have articulated them as well, I believe in some strange way I've known these things all along. Perhaps they have simply been lost among too much other mind clutter and by reading this, it allowed me to skim some of it off the top of that murky pool.

Discovery & Recovery - That is what poetry is about. It is the poet pulling from within and getting it on paper which allows a reader to process it. Hall says it is one inside talking to another inside. For the reader, it is a process of recovery.

I have long held that poetry is really a collaborative between reader and writer. What Hall describes here confirms this. What the writer and the reader have is something in common, but different (usually). The writer relates something that the reader identifies with from their own life experiences. Since each of us has different life experiences their discovery and recall may be similar, but not identical. This constitutes the second language of poetry. Speaking through the second language of poetry, can be clearly different from a more obvious message or story line of a poem. When such a connection (second language) is made, this becomes the sensual body of the poem or where some connection between reader and writer occurs.

There is more to this essay, but I will tackle that another day.
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