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Friday, February 08, 2008

What the poem wants

"The poem is sad because it wants to be yours, and cannot be." - John Ashbery
Have you ever stopped for a moment to ask yourself what the poem wants? Ok, chuckle if you want, but people are always trying to force something out of a poem that they believe is secretly hidden by the poet. Something he or she hopes you'll look for, but never find. I know this because more than one person has suggested the same.

When I write a poem, I may well have something in mind, but I may not. For the most part what I have in mind is of lesser significance that what the reader finds in the poem. By that I don't mean what I've hidden and they have decoded, but rather what that poem speaks to them in their own voice.

When someone tries to discern what I am saying in poetry, they may well become befuddled. My advise to readers of poetry is to let the poem become yours. Once that has happened, you'll know what it is telling you.
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