Infinite Darkness of the Soul

The ever expanding works of Elizabeth Anne Easter. Poetry and musings of the stark reality of life.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Musings - Interpretation

It has always been my opinion that great poetry is written so that anyone reading it may have a completely different opinion than that of another reader, and that all of these interpretations may be totally different than what the writer had in mind.

Sound complicated? It's not. Forget what you learned in your Intro to Lit class. It is all well and good to analyze great literature, but to assume that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt what the writer was thinking is egotistical. I am not saying that all interpretations of Poe are wrong, or that no one really has a clue what Shakespeare was writing about. What is important is not what interpretations are right or wrong. The importance lies in the individual interpretation. What does this piece say to you? How does it make you feel? If it speaks to you on a personal level, then this is a great piece of literature. And as a reader, you don't need to feel ashamed if a poem mirrors your sadness, or anger. This should bring you joy to know that these feelings are not unusual.

Poetry is all about the interpretation. This is the wonderful thing that sets poetry and prose apart from other types of writing. In other fiction, the writer is holding your hand and walking you through everything. A poet is dropping you off in the middle of the woods and driving away, leaving you to your own devices. Now what could be more intriguing than that?

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