ERIC Number: ED206025
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
The Represented Consciousness in the First Line: A Phenomenological Approach to How a Poem Begins.
Mathis, Jerry W.
The successful oral reading of poetry requires that oral interpreters conduct phenomenological investigations of the first lines of the poems, not merely to make these lines happen properly but to suggest what has preceded the first line. Individual word meanings in the opening lines of a poem establish "structures of intentionality"--the revelation of persona, setting, mood, tone--that the performer must "match" to get the poem started. Included in these structures are (1) the kind of awareness of audience that is inherent in the poem and its persona; (2) how the reader's (and listener's) intentions are directed by the objects, actions, and other things constituting the poetic persona's consciousness; and (3) the "thetic" position of consciousness in the poem (how the objects, actions, and feelings are revealed in the poem). The overriding point for the oral interpreter to realize is that these structures of consciousness and poetic intention are in place before the performer utters the first line; so the hurdle to overcome in plunging into the first line of a poem is the enormous "spot of indeterminacy" that occurs just before the first line. (The first lines of several poems are used to illustrate how oral interpreters can determine the structures of intentionality upon which their performances depend.) (RL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Central States Speech Association (Chicago, IL, April 9-11, 1981).