Opinion~ Deep Waters

by Michael Yost

I’ve been noticing lately that a few poets here and there have started to leave little notes or explanations at the end of their poems. I believe this helps the reader to better understand what they were going through when they wrote the poem.  I find this helps when the poet has written a surreal or abstract piece.

I know that some would argue that our interpretation is the only real one and that the poet shouldn’t have to explain their intent; that it’s really up to us the reader to decide.  There are also the poems that aren’t meant to be understood and finally there are the poets that are searching for the right combinations of words or a sentence that grabs the reader.

I’m sure there is a word for describing a poem that reads like a one way cell phone conversation but I don’t know it off hand.  I was on the train this afternoon and there was this rather boisterous man that was describing in detail the results of some surgery he just had done.  The topic really isn’t important, (unless you were there) but if you have to sit through a conversation at least have it on speaker phone.

I put the definition of opine at the bottom to make sure that the reader knows what I’m trying to say in case someone takes it personally.

So if you know your poem is being written for somebody other than yourself, you may want to ask yourself will the reader understand it, are you assuming too much of the reader, and finally does it matter or do you care?

Let’s define opine just as a verb:  To form a judgment on grounds insufficient for positive proof; to hold an opinion, or to hold one’s opinion; to think, suppose.

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3 thoughts on “Opinion~ Deep Waters

  1. I did a course as part of my university course on writing for an audience, always used poetry as a form of self-healing, and reading some older poems I find myself asking “what the hell was that all about”. I like when authors write about their traditions adding words in their own languages etc, but I question long afterthoughts telling the reader why the poem was written. Interesting piece of opinion Michael!

  2. Michael, been meaning to comment sooner, but I do agree with you. Some poems I write, that are near and dear to my heart, I feel compelled to let people know that…others, written on the fly, with no secrets being shared, I will leave wide open, and often enjoy a good dialogue about the varied meanings. It can actually prove quite comical! When reading or reviewing, I tend to tread very lightly, for I would not want to be the one that would belittle someone’s heartfelt write by “getting it all wrong”. I know all to well what that feels like too! IMHO…give us a good leadin less your intent be misconstrued! 🙂

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