Abstract Meaning

After being asked to think of what readers should glean from reading our work, I began to think that I am one of those obnoxious writers who wants my readers to pull apart my work, and find all the hidden nuances that I hid within the words. I’m comfortable with eccentric format and strange phrases as long as they mean something.

This seems to be a tragic flaw, not just in my writing, but in reading. I thought I read for pleasure until I began to think how frustrated I get when someone says “Why does the poem have to mean something?” My frustration stems from the writing process itself. In poetry, every word must mean something; there is no where to hide on the page. It makes perfect sense that a poet would take time to choose the word or phrase that means something to the poem. And yet, there are poems that are too abstract to begin to understand. e.e. cummings is one of those poets that cause me to make grand assumptions when searching for meaning (which I search for in the capitilized words). I think it shortens my ability as a writer to not be able to simply appreciate poems that are based solely on sound, image, or experimental techniques. It’s something that I’m working to understand, and maybe one day enjoy.

One Reply to “Abstract Meaning”

  1. Gabby,
    That’s so interesting that I just wrote a similar blog post about word choice right before I read yours!

    I too struggle with just sitting back and enjoying a poem. I always feel like I need to rip it apart and find its inner meaning.

    But on the topic of word choice, I think every word means something. A poem with “fluff” may not draw their reader in, and sometimes poems with such abstract concepts lack an inner meaning, and maybe that’s something us “pick apart readers” just have to accept. :/

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