Monday, September 6, 2010

Perrine's Poetry Perspective

As I read through Perrine's article for the first time, I was definitely intrigued by his thoughts. In "The Nature of Proof in the Interpretation of Poetry", he makes several bold statements that made me stop and think about how I analyze poetry myself. Quite honestly, I'm usually not very skilled at determining the meaning of poetry, and more often then not, I end up way off-target. I agree with Perrine's statement that "there are no correct or incorrect readings [of poetry]: there are only readings which differ more or less widely from a statistical norm." This makes sense, and I like how he emphasized that there is technically no "wrong" way to interpret a poem. As for his approach to determining "correct" interpretations, I would have to say that I agree with him. It is a logical method and I cannot think of another way which satisfies the process in a better form. According to Perrine, the meaning discerned must account for every detail in the poem and must also rely on the fewest assumptions made outside the text. If one were to figure out what the author originally meant to express in their poetry, then both of these circumstances would apply.
A concept that stuck with with me after reading this article was how a poet never likes to be asked to explain his own poems. Although I had never stopped to think about it before, that is an incredibly true statement. Whenever ones are asked about the meaning of their works, they find a way to avoid answering. This is because knowing the real purpose behind a poem can diminish its value afterward. In addition, the real meaning may come across as much less than what the poem said itself. Since this point has been brought to my attention, I can now see why they leave it for their readers to interpret alone. Another aspect I agreed with Perrine upon was his discussion of symbols. I liked how he stated that two symbols cannot mean just anything, they must represent something that specifically applies to the work at hand. Because a symbol is an increased area of meaning, it must stay within boundaries that apply to the poem being discussed. Every symbol must have a logical interpretation that falls within the limits of those boundaries.
From now on, I will keep Perrine's tactics in mind while analyzing poetry. Hopefully it will help me out a little!

1 comment:

  1. so no places of disagreement between you and Perrine?