To Explicate or Not to Explicate, That is the Question

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Billy Collins' poem, "Introduction to Poetry," describes how a poem is torn apart to extract the true meaning.  I remember when I was first asked to explicate a poem.  Why does it matter what a poem truly means?  The poet obviously intended readers to interpret the poem, but if they really wanted us to know what it means, then they would have told us in the first place.  Explicating can be fun because I can make up my own interpretation, but I wonder does it offend some poets when we get the interpretation wrong.  Is Collins really saying that all poems are torn apart or is he saying something else in "Introduction to Poetry?"  For all I know he could actually be talking about lab mice that are being tortured through scientific experiments.

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Oh the Trickery

When first reading An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce, I figured this would be another one of those depressing stories.  Well, it actually was, but the mood was happy through the middle. Bierce used extremely descriptive language that kept me involved throughout the story.  What bothered me a little was the changing of perspectives and settings.  One minute I was reading through the narrators' eyes, then I was seeing through Peyton Farquhar.  I actually thought that I was being told about two different people.  Now I am not implying that this is bad and that I did not enjoy it, it just made it a little more difficult.  However, it helped me slightly because I was forced to go back and read it again. 

I enjoyed this story so much becuase it is not typical.  In the middle when the readers are being told of his "escape," I figured it was going to be another happy ending.  Then, alas, his neck is broken and he is dead.  The end.  It may not have been a happy ending, but I sure enjoyed it.

To Explicate or Not to Explicate, That is the Question

Billy Collins' poem, "Introduction to Poetry," describes how a poem is torn apart to extract the true meaning.  I remember when I was first asked to explicate a poem.  Why does it matter what a poem truly means?  The poet obviously intended readers to interpret the poem, but if they really wanted us to know what it means, then they would have told us in the first place.  Explicating can be fun because I can make up my own interpretation, but I wonder does it offend some poets when we get the interpretation wrong.  Is Collins really saying that all poems are torn apart or is he saying something else in "Introduction to Poetry?"  For all I know he could actually be talking about lab mice that are being tortured through scientific experiments.

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