On Poetic Interpretation

a writing by John Starks

Even the interpretation of poetry should be poetic. By that I mean: it should first rely on artistry. Art trumps all else. The decoding of art results in science: knowledge. Science is static until some artistic look uncovers new realities. Art is related to intuition, i.e. a hunch. We are better served in the process of literary interpretation should we approach it intuitively, i.e., by the feel of it. The art must be artistically sensed so that a doorway of entry may be found. You may have noted William's response in which he made some petition for help in decoding a recent poem that I wrote. That poem is "Enough Is Said". I shall endeavor to reveal some ways of accessing it. I shan't fully decode it, for that remains the responsibility of any reader who wants to know. A vulture upon finding a dead animal, should it be recently relegated to this state, begins firstly at some vulnerable point e.g. the eye or some orifice. So it is, too, with poetry. We must find that vulnerable point should the skin be too tough to pierce. Further, poets who are highly productive may, even as I, leave cryptic clues. Further, extensive reading of that poet inures the reader of that author to his style. Learning his style enables the reader to intuitively sense his import. By no means am I suggesting that you or anyone else study my work to that degree; however, any poet deemed worthy of knowing may require this type of study and commitment. A clue to "Enough Is Said" is found in a poem that I posted on 11/23/2015, namely: "A Note To Seekers"; the title is indicative. I shall not be exhaustive, but brief, as I have a tough schedule at this time.
In the poem: "Enough Is Said" lines 5 through 8, we find a point of entry. Lines 5 and 6 introduce it, but are giving us little to go on, except wild speculation. However line 7, when looked at in terms of continuity of thought, gives us something to go on. The full sense is as follows: "Its import may blast what, from perfect, left in place, would mar those implications now exceeding vast." The :what" is not defined explicitly, but it is abstrusely suggested. Further, the "what" is left in place, BUT it has the power to mar "Those implications". Here is the critical part: the "what" is from "perfect". ONE MUST LOOK UP THE WORD: "perfect" to get into the poem! One of the definitions of "perfect" is Legally Valid! Other definitions,too, may get you into the poem. At this juncture, I juxtapose what I referred to earlier: the other poem that carries a hint; that poem is "A Note To Seekers". In line 3 of "A Note To Seekers" we find "As tweaking implications may be tough." Therefore, one must tweak the implications of the word "perfect" in the poem of interest to William. Understanding what that alluded-to-component of "perfect" is, allows us to begin. As you may see, Challenging poetry is painfully difficult to comprehend. Experts today are still looking at Shakespeare's sonnets with interpretation as their objective. Many of my poems are accessible, at least at face value. Even then, their symbolic application may not be fully ferreted out. Sometimes, processing less challenging poems increases our ability to tackle the more challenging ones successfully. Dig in! I am not implicitly suggesting that I'm Shakespeare's peer. You may place me where you will, nonetheless the principles of interpretation remain the same. I may seek to simplify this material at some future time.

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