Sunday, 19 September 2004

What about deconstruction, then?

Some people think that when you're interpreting, you're trying to figure out what the poet intended in the poem. Others say that you can't ever be sure what the poet intended. But you can come up with intelligent ways to account for the feelings the poem gives you when you read it. Try to explain what you think the poem is doing and how the poem does it.
When you interpret poetry, you do the same thing you do when you interpret anything:
* Understand the explicit, literal meaning.
* Consider what's implied, unsaid, or suggested
* Build an interpretation based on your speculations about what's implied.
You may not take these steps in this order, and you may do some steps more times and other steps fewer, but all these steps are involved in the interpretation of poetry.
For the bright students in the class, be warned: this is from's Mastering Three Steps to Interpreting Poetry, and for the Rest Of Us.
And for the budding poets, you might also like this one.

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