Print

Print


Dunja Seselja wrote:
> 
> 
> But that doesn't mean interpretations are senseless.
> They help us to shed a new light on the very
> experience of a poem, and if put in appropriate
> language-form, they might sometimes hit the point
> (with the same experience-feeling one might have when
> reading them).

Interpretations may be of particular importance in poems that may _not_
be all that important to interpret. How can you know whether the
interpretation of the poem is important or senseless until you have
worked out a number of the more likely interpretations and examined what
they do or don't do for the poem? (When infants are overstimulated they
go to sleep as protection against the overload. Peter has bombarded is
with so many posts in so short a time that I've had to leave them
unread, so I don't know what his objections to interpretation of this
poem are.)

There is one thing to be said for not letting interpretation be too
overbearing >here. If we set to one side concern over how profound it is
or isn't or what great message it offers, the way is clearer perhaps to
what kindled Pound to considerable passion in respect to it. It's been
over 40 years since I read his letters to Harriet Monroe on the poem,
but I think the general drift was something like, "God damn it print the
fucking thing and stop this yammering when you have a chance to make
history. PRINT THE GOD DAMN POEM." What got Pound so excited, and what
made Monroe dither a bit about it?

The language. The cadences. The showing forth of possible new ways to
organize a poem. As abrupt a shift from run-of-the-mill poems of the day
as Wordsworth's Lucy poems had been a century before. One probably needs
an interpretation or two as one's scaffolding from which to read it (an
old new-critical image, sort of appropriate here I think), but it is I
think quite inappropriate to look at Eliot's first major poem, and one
of the earliest instances of what came to be called "modern poetry"
(whatever exactly that means) in quite the same way we are apt to look
at 4Q. How wonderful to use the rhyme of peach and beach! Or to bring
white flannel trousers into a poem.

Carrol