Discovering Poems

Over the last few days I have learnt that poetry is actually much more interesting that I thought it was. I never had an aversion to poems, but I have never really ananlysed a poem the way Helen Vendler has. Previously when I ‘analysed’ poems, I always only looked out for hidden meanings where the poet uses different words to create puns and express various tones like sarcasm or some other emotion. Now, I know that there are so many different ways to break a poem up so as to understand it better! I have learnt that one should not analyse a poem but explore it. One can explore the meaning of the words, the antecedent scenario, explore the different ways there are to break a poem up (for example, sentences, change in person, in agency, in tense and in parts of speech), where the climax of the poem is, how the poem is strung, the emotional curve of the poem, as well as the language used.

When looking at a poem, I have learnt that I should read it out loud to experience the emotional ups and downs of the poem, as well as the tone of voice the poet used as these would give me a better insight as to what the poet was possibly thinking and what the poet is possibly trying to tell us, his audience, through the poem. Also, how the poem is strung as well as language used by the poet tells a whole story on its own too. I realized that changing the poem a little, for example from first person to third person, or cancelling seemingly unimportant lines out of the poem can change the impact and effect the poem has on us as readers.

I have learnt to look at poems in a whole new light. I still think it’s difficult to dive into the poets mind and understand everything he intends his audience to understand, but it will definitely be more interesting to do so now.