An Introduction to Introduction to Poetry
As part of our (frankly non-existent) poetry unit, our English class chose a poem to either analyze or recite. It’s our first and final poetry assignment. Yes, the entire unit lasts a week. Anywho, not being a literary person myself, I chose the traditional method: recitation.
What poem? Well, our only options came from this site, Poetry in Voice. (I think it’s part of a communist conspiracy between teachers to create a fake monopoly on poems.) The first poem I chose/am choosing is entitled ‘Introduction to Poetry’. Click on that link to read it (it’s literally a hundred words long).
There’s a second poem I’m choosing as a backup in case anybody recites this first, and I’ll talk about its overanalysis in tomorrow’s essay. But today, I’d like to ask: what do you guys think about poetic analysis?
This poem is ironic in itself: it cautions against overanalysis, yet people are still overanalyzing it. For example, this first guest analysis is simply wonderful. Thank god we have Google to let me understand how “the American world failed, so his culture. America is now melting or returning to his mother europe to cry together, those days.”
(Really, that comment is worth a read. I think it might be a copypasta, though.)
But really, come on. Six pages of analysis. The prime suspect of overanalysis is lengthiness; poetry majors just don’t understand brevity! Consider said link’s first page. A terse summary could be: “Collins teaches poetry reading. Every line begins with a different word.”
Consider this analysis. Poetry analysis isn’t actually deep. It’s trying to flesh out the simplest concepts as tortuously as possible. What did you think when you read the poem? You thought, “Wow, this guy really is frustrated with his students’ overanalysis.” That’s all the link above writes, but with a thousand more words.
What would happen with briefer poetic analysis? Or less nitpicky ones (sometimes, alliteration and assonance are accidental, as in all my articles)?
On one hand, we have this attitude. On the other hand, prose is shorter than verse, and thus, poets actually do have to mull over every single word! But does that mean every single word has meaning?
Twitter shows that the opinions on this run the gamut, and I guess it’s a fitting (no, not really) topic to reignite O-New’s lagging literary impact. Thoughts?
P.S. Obligatory f-bomb-laced video with the same poem title.