Rita Proffitt wrote:
> I began to paraphrase the poem today - but found it difficult to do
> each line. I guess this is a usual assignment for students new to the
> study of poetry.
Did your professor say what value there might be in the assignment?
I can imagine be being used to ensure that you read the poem or to make
sure that you pay attention to the surface. Beyond those goals (which
can be reached in other ways), I'm not sure why a paraphrase has been
assigned. It seems to me a terrible thing to ask, wiping out the
techniques that go into the making of a poem. The value of prose
translations of poetry is an acknowledgment that lines are one of
poetry's fundamental techniques and that there is no use (and actual
distortion) to keep them if the translation isn't itself an artistic
response to the original. So, too, a word-by-word (thus line-by-line)
trot makes no attempt at explanation, serving really as a glossary.
Let us know how you find the exercise and what your professor has to
say about paraphrase.