Edward Carson.ca

A Poem Has No Choice But To Avoid Itself

To get at the centre of a poem, you first have to get very far away from it, so time and distance need to be constantly in play.


The experience and interpretation of a poem is not entirely cumulative, but cyclical, and, to a certain degree, repetitive and recursive; it is repeatedly interrupted and rearranged by new, iconoclastic diction and syntax.

A poem acts as a kind of social substitute; it is a mediated world in which our comprehension and emotional attachments are remade, re-formed, and integrated into a new perception of our world and our place in it. In uncovering thoughtful meaning in the obvious, a poem needs clear communication as well as distortion and deception; it is also seductive in that it reaches out to those things we fear and crave the most: loneliness and intimacy.

In the end, a poem is never present in itself, but always at large in the mind of the reader.

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