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Getting the Message!

If the reader/listener doesn't "get it", is it the poem's fault?
Mon, 9 Apr 2018 10:06 am
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Hi Graham,

I am sure you constructed that question as you did with good reason. I note you ask "Poem" as opposed to "Poet" if the poem is at fault does it not follow that its creator is at fault?

Maybe you were provoking that very question. Either way I would say no. If the poet intends the piece to be interpreted as only he intended then it should be constructed in a way which leaves little to the imagination. If it is still misunderstood then maybe the poet would accept some responsibility for that.

Often it seems to me it is the reader who fails to read what is written or think beyond the text, this is immediately evident in some of the comments people make (which can be seen on this site) whilst it is often amusing, it can be very frustrating.

I have said to people before, it is not the writers duty to please the reader but only to please himself/herself. Art is an indulgent and selfish act.

So I think my answer is no. That said interpretation is everything, and ultimately all that matters to the reader.

Tue, 10 Apr 2018 07:25 am
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The Poet's Message

What sort of message-
what kind of man
comes in a message?

I would
get into a message if I could
and come complete
to where I can see
what's across the park:
and leave my own position
empty for you in its frame.

Roy Fisher
Tue, 10 Apr 2018 10:05 pm
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Thank you Steven.......I think?
Wed, 11 Apr 2018 07:12 am
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Thinking is good.
Wed, 11 Apr 2018 09:16 am
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To clarify:

A poem is not a message. It's a poem. It may contain a message. It may contain contradictory messages. It may have no message, just a form of words, a set of observations of the poet's world, a musing thought or thoughts, a reaction to events.

If you want to send a message, go Western Union (Sam Goldwyn.)
Wed, 11 Apr 2018 11:09 am
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As usual there is no easy answer. Sometimes the omission of a comma changes the meaning therefore you would say it is the writer's fault that the reader doesn't get it. In other cases the writer may intend for a word to be stressed so should highlight or underline the word...though that may not always do it.

Sometimes the writer's sense of humour or angle is not understood by the reader,...this is no-one's fault.

I think in conclusion, provided the writer has used correct spelling and punctuation, and done their best to highlight appropriate words? The onus is on the reader to get it, which may involve several reads.
Wed, 11 Apr 2018 01:46 pm
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A poem has both the meaning of the writer and the meaning of the reader. Being irritated that your intention didn't translate when read is natural if it is very important for you that you be understood, but really, misunderstanding should be a boon. Now your poem has more layers to it. It is open to discussion. You can see it as more than what you wrote.
Consider the process of raising a child. You have all of your intentions, and so obviously, frustrations occur when your child rebels, as they are almost certain of doing. However, you find later that your child did not reject you, but instead, became a person of their own, and that is when you realize that you are proud of them, no matter what.
Poetry is the reader's as well as the writer's. The reader imbibes your words and their own experiences and tendencies are displayed upon your intended meaning, changing it. This only evolves the poem. It creates an individuality. The ability of a reader to relate to your work shows that it goes beyond specifics. It grows, and so will your perception if you can allow all comments at least some consideration.
Fri, 20 Apr 2018 10:06 pm
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