Trust and the Poetic Form

Trust and the Poetic Form

Trust is such an important concept. I couldn’t get by without the trust I have in my wife to handle certain aspects of my life. And trust extends to the readers I have here: I trust you to interpret what I write in the way I intended it.

That goes especially for my poetry (not that I have a particularly high opinion of my scribblings, as I’ve mentioned before). But still, I use poetry to capture images in my mind and can only hope that some echo of what I see id transferred to my readers. Some thoughts are easier to represent in a form other than prose. Poetry provides the means to stimulate a reader into an expectation of an interpretation beyond the literal.

This strikes me as ironic given my own literal inclination. The strange thing is that to me what I write in poetic form is literal. It’s a translation of what I see in my mind’s eye into words.

The potential problem is that it might be too dependent on my own experiences, my own response to particular words and phrases. But I persist because I trust that my readers will understand my meanings. After all, I believe that we have more in common than not.

8 thoughts on “Trust and the Poetic Form

  1. The neurotypical world sees us as computer geeks, which is a compliment because the world is pretty much dominated by computer geeks nowadays, and some of us really are computer geeks.
    Yet it amazes me how many aspies are authors and poets. I asked this question on an aspie forum, how many have written something, and so many had responded that they’ve written a book or poems, although most were unpublished.
    If one writes stories/poems, that should mean the right side of his brain is developed, which means in many cases the left side isn’t, which means he’s probably not the stereotype computer genuis the world believes us to be.
    And you seem to be a visual thinker, seeing in pictures. Me, too.


    1. I’d better fess up: I am a computer geek. My visual cognitive style is of benefit in this, as it being literal. But then, on the other hand, it limits me when it comes to imaginative writing. The most effective strategy is to play to your individual strengths as far as you are able.


  2. Alex, this is something that troubles me a great deal, the interpretation of poetry. I am such a literal thinker as well, and very often cannot figure out what is meant in poetry, even that which appeals to me. I may love the interplay of words or the images it conjures up for me, but I HAVE been caught out to have misinterpretted some, to my mind, beautifully written stuff too!

    And then I wondered if, in the end, it mattered. Clearly the author would want to be HEARD though? But what if that which was written is too far from a reader’s framework, but spoke to her anyway?

    IF, on the otherhand, unintentional negative, and potentially harmful interpretations are forthcoming, is that not the reader’s problem? It happens even in simple daily conversations anyway, open to all sorts of reactions, often way off the mark!


    1. That is something I’ve thought about a lot; how do I know that I’m responding the right way to a poem? And like you I wonder if there even is a right way.

      Unlike certain forms of writing such as technical or legal documents where clarity and lack of ambiguity are required, artistic writing including poetry intentionally conjures impressions in the reader’s mind. This does require a degree of common experience whether that is a shared culture or a particular historical context.

      In a way the images in poetry are an idiomatic language, and idioms are a particularly troublesome concept for those of us who are literal minded.

      I’ve sometimes been tempted to write a commentary alongside my poems, explaining my though processes during writing. But I decided not to since it would be overly prescriptive of the interpretation. I enjoy it when my words speak to somebody on their own terms, inspiring thoughts and feelings that are beyond what I could imagine. That is the wonder of art.


      1. I had not even considered shared experience before, which certainly IS a necessity if even a semblance of understanding is to ensue, but in the absence thereof, the art of writing, then, allows for a wider interpretation.
        The wonder of art indeed! I have to add though, that I hopelessly failed art history; it was impossible to memorise all the interpretations, and I could never find words for another artist’s experience, even if the artwork resonated with me. Perhaps as a visual thinker, seeing in itself excites those neurons, bypassing meaning altogether.
        I am happy to read, however, that you sometimes feel the need to explain your thought processes 🙂 Perhaps then, it won’t be amiss to ask if, try as I may, the words simply won’t piece together for me?xx


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