I always felt that explaining one’s poetry to readers was a mistake, for both the poet and the reader it was necessary to allow the veil of interpretation to stay in place. Whatever my intention it remained for the reader to complete the poem, thus putting the “co” in communication.
Many times the reaction to a poem leads me to believe the reader has interpreted a poem as a journal or diary entry, that the emotions evoked in reading it have led the reader to believe that those emotions are the ones experienced by me at the time. Sometimes this is true and sometimes not, but with each moment that passes after having written a poem, it becomes more difficult for even me to tell.
To paraphrase a famous poet, whose name I forget and can’t find with Google, at the time of its conception there are two who are absolutely sure of the poem’s meaning, God and me. Once the poem is finished and put out there, there is only the one who is sure of its meaning.
I like to believe that when I write a poem well, not necessarily from a technical, poetic form, standpoint, but from the standpoint of the expression of some truth about life as I see it, that many meanings are there within that poem. That the poem is incomplete until you bring your filters to the piece and pan, hopefully, for the gold in the silt. Your experiences and your truths giving completely unforeseen, by me at the time of writing, meaning to the poem and enriching it, making it more than I ever could have without you.
Many of you who are gracious enough to read my poetry are accomplished and talented poets yourselves, and some of those who do not write poetry, have the soul of a poet. So, what you read, when you read, is my attempt at reaching across space and time to touch you where the true You lives, in the privacy of your thoughts and feelings, the little conversation that is always taking place in your head. And while I don’t always comment on the blogs I read, I always make a point to peruse the poetry of the other fine poets here at WordPress. That sometimes works to my disadvantage because I am constantly humbled by the talented writing and beautiful expressions of the very truths I seek in my own writing. I try my best not to compare myself to all of you, but that can be very difficult when the first thing I think/feel in that most private little conversation in my head is, “damn, I wish I could write like that.”
All this to say, thank you. Thank you for visiting my blog and taking time to read and comment. Perhaps I have given the impression of being aloof when I do not engage as much as maybe I should, but for me, my poetry is a full investment in that engagement. While the poems are not, I repeat, not, always soul baring in nature, I certainly can’t divorce myself from my writing. Thank you for sharing your time, thoughts, and words of encouragement, all of them are very appreciated.
The poet is in the end probably more afraid of the dogmatist who wants to extract the message from the poem and throw the poem away than he is of the sentimentalist who says, “Oh, just let me enjoy the poem.” ~Robert Penn Warren, “The Themes of Robert Frost,” Hopwood Lecture, 1947
M. Zane McClellan
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