Most of us watch movies all the time. And most of us are terrified of mannequins. There’s something about distortions of the natural human figure that stir, within most of us, an instinctual fear. I won’t begin to try explaining this.
On the contrary, I find that, while a bit off-putting, most mannequins are quite friendly and no less intriguing as character studies.
When we think of a poem, no doubt there is one specific poem stereotype that surfaces in our mind. Perhaps Louis-Stevenson’s “whose woods are these, I think I know,” or the over-used “roses are red, violets are blue,” or something of the sort. Some may think poetry is merely any combination of rhyming words.
Oh, but poetry can take on an infinite array of formations. Oxford Languages put it well, defining poetry as a “literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm.” No mention of rhyming, or repeating patterns, or certain number of syllables. A poem is a poem for its expression of feelings and ideas in which there is marked style and rhythm. What that style and rhythm you use, as the poet, it completely up to you.
Remember high school English class? I’m sure we’ve all had that high school (or college) experience of being assigned schoolwork that consisted of reading a work of literature and then analyzing it. “What does this chapter say about the role of women in society during the 1940’s?” and perhaps “what is the author saying about capitalism here?” (Fun side-note for literature peeps: if you want to read a short story through a Marxist lens, try my short story on Amazon).
When assigned these questions for homework, where to begin searching for answers? We can’t ask Victor Hugo or Herman Melville what they were trying to say about gender roles or the working class, because they aren’t around anymore. And, a lot of the time, I’m sure many of us would say it felt like we were making things up just to get the homework out of the way. It begs the question – for analysis, is there really a CORRECT analysis for any given project? Or is it fine to stop at mere speculation, as long as we provide the correct number of citations to back our claim?