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john k zimmerman

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My Poetics[#13]
by john k zimmerman   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, June 12, 2010
Posted: Saturday, June 12, 2010

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Thinking like a reader can make us better poets.


Elsewhere I have defined poetry as “using the sense and sound words to convey experience". This is in contrast to normal prose that uses words in their and technical meaning describe a process or and he event. These are a writer's definition and it is clear, at least to this writer, that the two creative processes are vastly different. But what about the process of reading these to different uses of words.


To read prose requires the logical and sequential decoding of the words used. In prose words mean what they mean or, if they're being used in a technical sense, the definitions are first established. Much of prose writing is a matter of saying the obvious -- of laboriously tracing the process step by step so the reader is not lost. The reader follows a trail that there writer lays out.


Reading poetry is not quite so direct. There is, of course, the sequence of words to be followed, with the words are used in such a way that mores conveyed then just their dictionary definition. Often the two or more of dictionary definitions apply to the word in the context of the poem.  Then there is the juxtaposition of words, their rhythm, patterns of internal and external rhyme.  All these things affect the experience of reading a poem.


There's that word experience again: The multilevel sharing of reality. A reader of prose might criticize a piece of writing for having lost them, that is for having not clearly marked that trail that the writer wished them to follow. A reader of poetry probably would not criticize a poem for losing the "thread” of argument. A reader of poetry might criticize a poem for being too obvious: That is for not providing a rich experience of the poet's vision. A good poem allows you to in that moment, through those words, I wars therer. I saw, heard, felt. tasted, and smelt all that pertained to that experience...







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