Poetry Overlords Mk III


This’ll probably be the last bout of words spewed out of my fingertips on this subject. I feel the discussion and philosophy could go on for ages. If you want to continue the discussion, leave a message here or follow me on the Twitter machine. Let’s recap:

The TL;DR from the first two blogs:
Poetry Overlords: Reading poetry out loud is a lot like performing music.
Poetry Overlords Mk II: Music is more universally accepted than poetry because of rules imposed on language.

And Now!

What else am I going to babble on about? A recent study by a McGill University neuroscientist suggests there’s a group of people out there who have the inability to enjoy music.

As I’ve stated previously, unlike poetry, I feel music is a universal language. However, as shown above, there are some people who are not moved by this universal language. It’s interesting to me because music is a great way to express oneself to someone who may struggle to understand what is being said.

For example, if I told you something positive and happy in Russian and you didn’t speak Russian, you would not understand me.

If I played something in a major scale, no matter what culture or background you have, you would feel the positive energy exerted from the music.

Unless you have an inability to.

You’re Not Making Sense

Well I’m trying, damn it!

With both poetry and music also considered forms of art, it can be understandable when someone does not “get” something. Not everyone would “get” classical music or “get” country music. However, one could still feel something from music. Whether or not you “get” classical music, you still get an grand, epic feeling when hearing Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. Even with the music being written in the late 1800’s, it still feels grand and current. It does not feel dated.

Poetry, however, has a different hurdle when trying to feel it. Choosing particular words can make your work sound dated. Using a different language makes it non-universal. Sure, using cacophonous words or alliteration can help try and evoke some sort of audible sympathy for the listener. But if the message is not understood, then is that not a problem?

The Half-Assed Conclusion

As you can tell, there’s a lot of discussion to be had with these ideas. Performing poetry should just be as important as having the right words and language in the poem itself. The main problem I’m finding is that not everyone will “get” it because it is not properly understood.

Going back to the first blog on this subject, I had to explain why I was reading and performing Robert Herrick’s “To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time.” Will there ever be a time where I would not have to explain myself?

So I’m left to ask: where does poetry stand in the world of language? Will it never be truly understood?

Or am I just wasting my time on this?

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2 thoughts on “Poetry Overlords Mk III

  1. “Performing poetry should just be as important as having the right words and language in the poem itself. The main problem I’m finding is that not everyone will “get” it because it is not properly understood”.

    I totally share your point of view… But just would like to add that maybe being understood is not the purpose of poetry.. Great poets such as Arthur Rimabud and Paul Valéry are god examples in this sense. Even a more realistic kind of poetry , like Shakespeare´s sonnets have different layers, levels of readings and readers and of course interpretations…

    A very provoking and interesting post. Best regards, Aquileana 😛

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Aquileana!

      I also share your opinion. Perhaps poetry could never be understood? With newer forms of poetry being created, it would be near-impossible for everyone to understand everything, for sure.

      But now I pose the rhetorical question: what is the point of creating poetry if it is never to be understood?

      More and more ideas to sit on.

      Thanks again!

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