I really enjoyed reading Billy Collins’ description of good poetry on page 66 where he says, “…I do hold up as a standard for assessing a poem its ability to carry me to a place that is dramatically different from the place I was in when I began to read it.” For me, I usually experience that the first time I read a poem, but I tend to lose the experience when I start trying to interpret the poem because I get too hung up on details. I thought that Vendler’s process of interpreting a poem was a great Segway from experiencing the poem in the first read to interpreting the poem. Her method allows the reader to gather information, but is not so formulaic that the joy of reading it is lost. When I used her questions on page 134 to interpret “Nightclub,” I felt like I was actually experiencing the poem on a deeper level as I reread it, rather than creating a distance between myself and the poem by overanalyzing. What do you all think? Did you agree with her thoughts on poetry interpretation? Are there any other techniques you use to explore a poem?
I think Vendler gives us some really great lenses through which to see the poem– Glad you think so, as well, Kristen!
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