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ERIC Number: ED144055
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977
Pages: 22
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Why is Poetry Difficult?
Wallenstein, Barry
This paper advises poetry readers to get rid of the inhibitions that the search for conventional meaning creates, by invoking the tenet that "a poem must not mean but be." The paper presents and analyzes several poems, maintaining that good poetry is an honest presentation of real experience that rarely offers information about any short-term solution of problems and thus precludes, in most cases, any reduction to a saying or a single "meaning." The paper also says that poetry, with its highly metaphorical expressions and especially compacted form, is much like scientific language, which uses numbers and symbols as tools to get at some truth that ordinary discourse is unable to do. Such "focused" languages as poetry and science communicate or transmit messages as if incidentally. The paper concludes that understanding and appreciating poetry's special language requires a "suspension of disbelief," whereby readers enter the experience with open minds and ready participation. (RL)
Publication Type: Reference Materials - Bibliographies
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Essay prepared at the City College of The City University of New York