Warning! By the end of this post you may not have understood anything more than the meaning you have given to it.
I hold the view that very few things in life are concrete and real. By that I mean we cannot objectively say ‘this is an x’ because different people will have a different interpretation of what ‘x’ is. In my MSc I used hermeneutics (for one view of hermeneutics look at http://mc2.vicnet.net.au/home/chunter/web/phenom.html). In researching how people make ethical decisions I realised that what is ‘ethical’ can be defined in many different ways.
Recently in my poetry group I allowed one of my poems to be the subject of a ‘Poetry Surgery’. I read my poem twice and then shut up for 15 minutes while the group discussed it, what they thought it meant and what they liked/disliked. I wasn’t allowed to say anything till afterwards. I found it fascinating as a way of showing how different people interpret and define the same thing, even down to the need for punctuation or not.
At the weekend I started reading an essay by Don Paterson in the Poetry Society’s Poetry Review (The Domain of the Poem 1), in which he considers interpretation and themes. I really liked his line “The poem, let us never forget, is just a couple of monkeys talking to each other.” The meaning I took from this is that ‘x’ is merely a product of a conversation and in and of itself does not exist as a concrete entity. And in particular, we should not see it as something to venerate. Well, that’s how I understood it. You might have a different perspective………
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Email: alison @ growinginsights.co.uk
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