I'm sure you don't believe poetry should omit ambiguities. There are
those like Bakhtin and Derrida, not to mention the psychoanalytically-
oriented commentators like Kristeva and Lacan who maintain that no
definitive reading of a text is possible due to multiple
intentionalities in it, many of which the author is unaware.
Sent from my iPod
On Jan 25, 2010, at 4:09 PM, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Diana Manister wrote:
>> It makes sense to me that "we" here is both intra- and
>> inter-, within emotional conflict and interpersonal.
>> Settling on any single meaning is reductive.
> And then went down to the ship
> Set keel to breakers
> Forth on the godly sea
> (quoted from memory)
> What you lay down as a somewhat arbitrary & universal law covers (with
> some quaolificatio) all three of these lines as a unit: It is both
> Odysseus setting forth in the Odysey; it is the poet declaring that
> poem is related in some way to the Odyssy; it invokes the sea as
> though godly, something which in itsle wil (perhaps) develop multiple
> meanings in retrospect as the pom continues), voyage as intllectual
> voyage after knowledge (of woaht?), and so forth.
> But there are 16 words here; 8 pairs of words; 5 triplets plus a
> rmainder; t w sets of 8 w ords each, any one of which arbitrary
> groupings may have a meaning in itself which is a necessary part of
> meaning of the whole, and some at least of those sets of words may
> demand single meanign or it won't contibute to the multiple meanings
> the whole. "Ship" has no multiple meanings, though "went down to the
> shp" does. And so forth. In many instances (there are a hell of a
> lot of
> poems out there) it may be units of 10 or20 lines for which finding
> multiple meanings would crea te only jumbles, obscuring all meaning,
> multiple or all, in the whole. And this is particularly apt to be the
> case when the word appears in a metaphor or simile. I imagine "like a
> patient etherized upon a table" has been written about a good deal. I
> would also suppose that explication of its (possible) multiple meanngs
> would depend on taking both "like" and "patient" quite straight:
> multiple meanings assigned to "patient" (prior to any expansion the
> gives it in retrospect, would produce only muddle. And when Donne says
> "Busy old sun" I think we had better equate "sun" with that thing in
> sky, not any of the other million things it may mean and has menat in
> various other texts. It needs to be dully literal to be fit for the
> games the speaker wants to play with it.
> These universal rules that you keep throwing at us out of the blue
> really don't help a lot.