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Choisya
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Re: Interpreting poetry

[ Edited ]
Thankyou for your response Kathy. I do not think there is any point in pursuing these things further. We are, as you say, very different, with entirely different points of view.



KathyS wrote:
Choisya, You see and read in a totally different dimension from the way I do. I would never ask you to take my poem apart, here and now, on this board. That application is for you to do, if or when you want to, in the privacy of your own home. I'll try to explain this. I don't want to hear your personal, internal dialogue. Just because I give mine, doesn't mean I'm going to ask you to do it, because you've already told me you can't. I respect your feelings and your opinions. I wanted to show you, and everyone, that you can introduce something as simple as my poem, and show that it can apply to anyone, at any time. It's what I tried to explain in my previous post.

I can read my own words and *see into it* one thing, you can read it and *see into it* one thing, or anyone of these people on these boards can read it and *see into* whatever they want. My point is, the author, and the author, alone, is the only one that, when written, knows for sure what it means....even if there are underlying hidden meanings, which *only* someone with an analytical mind, or background can see, it still ultimately *belongs*, (as with any author) to the author themselves. Belonging only means it was an internal feeling at one time, for that one person. It doesn't mean it can't be shared, sold, or given away to the masses. That's the bottom line with any author, once it's put out there, it can become anyones internal property, but will always stay within the heart of the writer, as theirs.

There are all kinds of citics, and all ways to critique something. I think I mentioned this before. I've sat and witnessed my own peices of art taken apart, piece by piece. It's not a fun place to be sitting, but if I hadn't have had this done, I would not have learned what it is the instructor was trying to get across to me and all of us. I've been set up in front of my peers, and gotten their opinions. But it was all done with kindness, only discussing the technical points which had to be seen by everyone in the room. As artists, this is how we each learn from each other.

As far as a book discussion, the art in this is, you take characters apart, the motives behind them, within the places in which these characters are set. How do they think, live and breath within these settings? And you apply all of this to your own life. This may be the difficult part for you, because you have to ultimately apply what they are feeling, to your own feelings. And you have to do it in writing, in front of everyone. You have to apply their actions to your own. You have to get into their heads and apply their thinking and motives. These discussions have nothing to do with the author's writing styles. They are not dead authors' books we discuss, so it wouldn't be, and it can't be, a taking apart of who the author is. But you can ask them why they wrote the things they wrote. their motives behind their thinking and feelings. You can ask them about some of their personal feelings, as they wrote, if they are willing to share them with you, but respect is always given to them, and you always ask first.

If I'm invited to dinner to a friend's house, I don't tell them their food is lousy or it's too salty, or lacks something, or give my opinion if it is hurtful....because it just isn't done. And author's have critics, and people who review them constantly. If I don't like a book, I try not to get on a discussion, unless it's to understand it more completely, so I can apply whatever it is I couldn't understand, to my own thoughts about it. But I never go after an author for writing the words they've written. It becomes a personal attack on them. It's not objective then. You are used to talking about books that have no author present. That's the difference between us, I'm used to having a friend sitting beside me when I'm talking about their book. It's not any different than having a friend sit beside me and talk about every known topic we can dream up.

These boards should never become a grounds to attack, or badger or rip another *person* apart. Opinions can differ, and they do all the time, which makes for an interesting and exciting discussion. If we all agreed, nothing would be learned from it. I would never attack someones differences of opinion, I only try to make mine as clear as humanly possible, to create a better understand between us, and hopefully show that we *are* all different in the way we think and view things.

Kathy S.



Message Edited by Choisya on 07-11-2007 12:26 PM
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Dinner

Kathy, this explains my previous reading group experiences. My "dinners" were books and authors I loved. I think authors who are absent deserve the same respect as authors who are present!


KathyS wrote:

If I'm invited to dinner to a friend's house, I don't tell them their food is lousy or it's too salty, or lacks something, or give my opinion if it is hurtful....because it just isn't done.
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KathyS
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Re: Dinner

Amen!
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Choisya
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Re: Respect for authors

[ Edited ]
Prof & KathyS:Does this mean that we can never critique authors (or rather their books)? What do you mean by 'respect'? Surely we can criticise something without being disrespectful? Criticising in the literary sense means 'analysing, classifying, or interpreting literary or other artistic works' and I thought that this is what we joined book clubs to do. Quite a lot of the time we may not have read an author's work before so do not know whether or not we love or hate it.

The 'dinner' analogy does not work for me if you mean that we are invited to discuss a work with an author here in the sense of being a guest at their table. B&N have invited authors to our mutual dinner table to discuss books with us and it may be that some folks are critical of some aspect of their works. If an author that someone loves has an anti-semitic point of view, for instance, are we not to voice our disquiet out of 'respect' for the author and those who love him/her? If they 'trash' one religion in favour of another, are we not permitted to voice our objections for fear of upsetting them? Where does respect end and 'kowtowing' begin?





Prof wrote:
Kathy, this explains my previous reading group experiences. My "dinners" were books and authors I loved. I think authors who are absent deserve the same respect as authors who are present!


KathyS wrote:

If I'm invited to dinner to a friend's house, I don't tell them their food is lousy or it's too salty, or lacks something, or give my opinion if it is hurtful....because it just isn't done.




Message Edited by Choisya on 07-11-2007 01:05 PM
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Time

I try to understand what an author is telling me. If they're available to answer questions, they can speed things along, but if they're not, I read the book again and ask other people what they think. I think books are often read hastily, and judgments pronounced on them just as hastily.


Choisya wrote:

What do you mean by 'respect'?

Prof wrote:

I think authors who are absent deserve the same respect as authors who are present!

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Choisya
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Re: Time

What if an author has written something with which you disagree or which you find abhorrent, even upon re-reading and/or discussion with the author?




Prof wrote:
I try to understand what an author is telling me. If they're available to answer questions, they can speed things along, but if they're not, I read the book again and ask other people what they think. I think books are often read hastily, and judgments pronounced on them just as hastily.


Choisya wrote:

What do you mean by 'respect'?

Prof wrote:

I think authors who are absent deserve the same respect as authors who are present!




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Understanding

I read it again! Remember our discussion of Americans in Possession? I was stymied until I finally realized that Ms. Byatt was just affectionately teasing her American colleagues and friends, and now I laugh right along with her.


Choisya wrote:

What if an author has written something with which you disagree or which you find abhorrent, even upon re-reading and/or discussion with the author?

Prof wrote:

I try to understand what an author is telling me. If they're available to answer questions, they can speed things along, but if they're not, I read the book again and ask other people what they think. I think books are often read hastily, and judgments pronounced on them just as hastily.

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Choisya
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Re: Understanding

[ Edited ]
And supposing B&N invited David Irving, the holocaust denier, to discuss one of his books, would you just read that again and again until you 'understood' and agreed with what it was he was trying to say? Or supposing that A S Byatt was anti-American and was trying to insult them through her characters? How far does one take trying to understand an author?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Irving





Prof wrote:
I read it again! Remember our discussion of Americans in Possession? I was stymied until I finally realized that Ms. Byatt was just affectionately teasing her American colleagues and friends, and now I laugh right along with her.


Choisya wrote:

What if an author has written something with which you disagree or which you find abhorrent, even upon re-reading and/or discussion with the author?

Prof wrote:

I try to understand what an author is telling me. If they're available to answer questions, they can speed things along, but if they're not, I read the book again and ask other people what they think. I think books are often read hastily, and judgments pronounced on them just as hastily.





Message Edited by Choisya on 07-11-2007 02:54 PM
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Choice

[ Edited ]
I only read books by authors I want to understand.


Choisya wrote:

How far does one take trying to understand an author?


Message Edited by Prof on 07-11-2007 04:07 PM
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Choisya
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Re: Choice

How do you know that when you read a new author?




Prof wrote:
I only read books by authors I want to understand.


Choisya wrote:

How far does one take trying to understand an author?


Message Edited by Prof on 07-11-2007 04:07 PM


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Reviews

You read reviews!


Choisya wrote:

How do you know that when you read a new author?

Prof wrote:

I only read books by authors I want to understand.

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Choisya
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Re: Reviews

I read lots of reviews but I have also read reviews of books I thought I would like and then I didn't - including on these boards. Have you never read an author whose work you found you didn't like? At school I think we are often made to read things we didn't like:smileysad:.



Prof wrote:
You read reviews!


Choisya wrote:

How do you know that when you read a new author?

Prof wrote:

I only read books by authors I want to understand.




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KathyS
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Re: Interpreting poetry/diariest

[ Edited ]

IlanaSimons wrote:


KathyS wrote:
To look back and read what I've written, it's like looking back at my own history.



I very much agree with this sentence. I think diaries are amazing records of our changes.



This is funny. I've never kept a diary, or a journal, per se....I never wanted someone to find that *daily* recording of my inner more secretive thoughts! Hah! What's so funny, is, when I think about writing poetry, or anything for that matter; creating art, etc.... that's exactly what it becomes, a diary/log of who you are, exposing your changes along the way....even here! I looked up the word, *diary*, thinking I new what the word meant, and found the word diarist. It said: someone who records his life. Pretty simple, huh? I guess that could mean a diary can come in any form, couldn't it?

I'll share something more with everyone. There was a time when I wrote a lot of poems. I didn't want to, they just come into my head like an out of control freight train. I had to write them down, just to get them out of my head. And with each one, they had to be read aloud! It was part of a program of therapy.

After I read each poem, I had to explain every line...taking every word apart, every feeling, every meaning, and analyze the minute details to death. Do you know what the word, *smelting* means?...I was that metel that was melted and separated, and scattered out there to see which ore was precious, to be saved, and which was the slag to be thrown away.... And then I had to pick up the precious pieces and apply all of them back to myself. Has anyone tried to do that? You've become pieces to a puzzle. It feels like you've just picked up a boning knife, and filleted yourself! Fun? No? So if I seem a little blase about having my own poems read at the moment, it's already been done.

Message Edited by KathyS on 07-11-2007 05:23 PM
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Liking Books

If I don't like a good book, it usually means I don't understand it. I liked everything I had to read in school!


Choisya wrote:

I read lots of reviews but I have also read reviews of books I thought I would like and then I didn't - including on these boards. Have you never read an author whose work you found you didn't like? At school I think we are often made to read things we didn't like:smileysad:.
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Re: Interpreting poetry

True. And nuclear scientists come from within the general population who have taken science classes in school, but I like to think they have a bit more expertise in designing nuclear power plants than I do.


Choisya wrote:
Yes, of course but they come from within the general reading population nvertheless.



Everyman wrote:
Critics are only readers/viewers who also write

One would like to think that critics have spent a bit more time studying critical theories and styles than the average reader.





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Re: Interpreting words



Choisya wrote:
(However, I have not found BNU or B&N a supportive community - on the contrary, I find it a harsh and difficult environment.)

I'm sorry you feel that way. There are occasional spats, of course, but in general I find it a quite friendly and upbeat place.
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Re: Time



Prof wrote:
...I think books are often read hastily, and judgments pronounced on them just as hastily.

I agree completely. And often they aren't read at all, but skimmed, or "read" by reading the Cliff Notes and a few critics.

In the old BNU, where there was more focus on study and less just on loose discussion, I was a strong advocate (in the face of considerable opposition) for providing specific quotes or references for points made, rather than just the general "I think..." sort of "analysis." But that no longer seems to be a viable general expectation here.
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Re: Interpreting poetry/diariest



KathyS wrote:
... I've never kept a diary, or a journal, per se....I never wanted someone to find that *daily* recording of my inner more secretive thoughts!

I'm leaving off the excellent remainder of your post just to note here that I've never kept a diary, either, but what is perhaps amusing is that there are some diaries that I find to be among the most interesting and informative reading. Pepys is of course a classic example, but there are many others.

And then there is the diary form; Diary of a Provincial Lady is a riot and delight!
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Re: Interpreting poetry/diariest

[ Edited ]
E - I'll have to read these....a little *riot and delight* sounds good about now! LOL Have you ever kept anything that would remind you of your past history?
Kathy

Everyman wrote:


KathyS wrote:
... I've never kept a diary, or a journal, per se....I never wanted someone to find that *daily* recording of my inner more secretive thoughts!

I'm leaving off the excellent remainder of your post just to note here that I've never kept a diary, either, but what is perhaps amusing is that there are some diaries that I find to be among the most interesting and informative reading. Pepys is of course a classic example, but there are many others.

And then there is the diary form; Diary of a Provincial Lady is a riot and delight!



Message Edited by KathyS on 07-11-2007 09:42 PM
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Choisya
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Re: Liking Books

There are a a couple of genres I do not like, irrespective of my understanding of them or them being 'good' - I never read anything about violence or which extols war, for instance, and I do not like the mystery/detective genre. And I would not read anti-semitic or racist books on principle, no matter how good they were supposed to be. I liked everything I read at school too but folks here often complain that they didn't, although I don't think it has anything to do with understanding. I well understand 'romances' but dislike them nevertheless.




Prof wrote:
If I don't like a good book, it usually means I don't understand it. I liked everything I had to read in school!


Choisya wrote:

I read lots of reviews but I have also read reviews of books I thought I would like and then I didn't - including on these boards. Have you never read an author whose work you found you didn't like? At school I think we are often made to read things we didn't like:smileysad:.