Sorry, couldn't resist joining the discussion although it is (as I have seen
from the last day*s posts), pretty far advanced ...
>When I was at Michigan a very long time ago, I took intro to lit with X. J.
>Kennedy. He used to read TWL and Sweeney Agonistes to us in jazz
>rhythm (or at least that is how I heard it). I have been reading it ever
>and doing all kinds of "intellectual" analysis of it, but I think I have
>much of my life studying Eliot because I heard it first as a rhythm and as
>voices really saying things and not as an intellectual's crossword puzzle.
After having read some (by no means not all) of this discussion, I must
admit that Nancy's above statement (imho) summarizes best the approach I
deem right for reading as well as teaching poetry. I really doubt that I
would have become interested in poetry at all, especially in my youth, if
poems had not touched me on an emotional level. An this still often happens
when I hear poetry being read. (I never forget when I first heard Pound
chanting his own stuff, or, for that matter, Gottfied Benn, who was also
incredible great in reciting his own poetry.)
This is by no means an argument against analyzing poetry. But if someone had
told me in order to like poetry one has to analyze it and not, as for
instance by mother has done, invited my to enjoy poetry on an emotional
level, I really doubt whether I would today love this stuff the way I
do.(And this love created, in the end, my academic interest in poetry).
I think that choosing pound Canto's for arguing against an emotional
assessment of poetry is a bit unfair.
The Cantos were _expressis verbis_ written in a way that they were difficult
to access, in fact impossible to access if you are no literary scholar. But
there has been some debate if this is appropriate for poetry. (I remember
Williams scoffing about giving poetry back to the academics, though this was
in a different context.)
>And doesn't that sharing require something more than looking
>them in the eye and saying, "That makes me vibrate"?
Yes. But, but, but: I never managed to communicate why a poem makes me
vibrate to anyone who was not affected in the same way. Of course I am (and
as a teacher / scholar should be) able to make people understand why I think
a poem is well written, beautiful, etc And this requires analyzing a poem.
But I would consider it a great loss, if there weren't once in a while
people who _feel_ the same as I do about a poem and I deeply enjoy if other
people tell me a poem makes them vibrate.
(there was a German Romantic poem that used the Idea of creating vibration
as essential for a poem, but I getting so forgetful with my 33 years of age