Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A New Place to Comment on/Discuss Pocketful of Poesy

Hi! Please feel free to post your comments about my poetry blog, "A Pocketful Of Poesy" in this post's comments queue. You can post about the poems in general, or certain poems in particular, or poetry itself, and I'll be happy to respond and discuss.

However, I also have an announcement! After years of heel-dragging, and minutes of post-epiphany deliberation, I decided to enable the comments right there on A Pocketful Of Poesy. In the past I have kept the comments turned off, and provided a separate thread (the old thread) for comments.

The reason I never enabled comments before was that I was uncomfortable having discussion right underneath the poem, that would tend to circumscribe its interpretation. It just gave me the heeby-jeebies, the very idea of that. And so, I didn't enable comments.

But it suddenly just occurred to me that other peoples' comments were not the problem. Comments from me would be the only problem!

See, I am pretty responsive to comments in general, and I have a sincere tendency to bolster what truth I see in what someone says (which nicely complements my wicked devil's advocate habit). Now that serves me fine for most purposes, but me chiming in supporting various interpretations for a poem is only going to give people the wrong idea: that other interpretations might not also be valid. For some reason, people think the writer's remarks on something they've written are more authoritative than other valid interpretations that can be supported from within the text. That's a fallacy I have no wish to shore up!

Solution: keep myself out of the comments. As long as I do that, I don't have a worry about any aspect of the process. So: comments are now open! Right under the poems! Or, for those who wish to leave a comment that I might respond to, you can use this thread just as many had used the old thread.

My thanks to those of you who have repeatedly requested I turn on the comments, only to be rebuffed because I couldn't find a way to make it comfortable. I'm as sensitive about my poems as a peacock about its tail, to paraphrase Flannery O'Connor, who raised peacocks, but was not talking about poems.


tattytiara said...

I know what you're saying. If people comment on my blog I always check their blog out, mostly as a form of acknowledging that they'd addressed something I'd written and of course let them know I appreciated it. I really shy away from addressing the comments directly, though. Done it a couple of times and it was like standing on slippery ground. I just didn't feel like I belonged there.

dogimo said...

Thanks for the reinforcement, there tattytiara. I'm glad I'm not the only one! Though I'm fine commenting in "regular" blog posts. I guess I'm just a little sensitive and self-conscious, when it comes to the more lyrical fruits of the muse.

blue said...

Wow! No taking it back now, especially after a special announcement and all. ;)

I think it will be something you enjoy. I think you've only gotten compliments anyway. I don't think you'll feel much change in it.

dogimo said...

You've nailed the purpose of the special announcement!

So I wouldn't be tempted to take it back. :-)

Honestly, I don't mind negative criticism or criticism of any kind - at the bottom of it all was just unease over the prospect of me weighing in on it. I'd rather leave all legitimate interpretations open - that's between the interp and the text, not the interp and the author!

But you know how I feel on that though.

blue said...

I still think it's a pity you won't be giving out awards when someone's comment beeps your intent right on the nose. I mean in the case of the poetry blog. You should really say you won't post reply comments unless someone hits your nail on the head, in which case you'll comment with some unexpected award or title for them.

Who's doing these kind of "guess the poem's intent" in comments, anyway? That sounds more like a lit crit class. Even then I think you have to be able to apply comments and criticism based on what you get from the poem as reader vs. just what you think the author was trying to say. It either effectively conveys the author's intent to you, in which case your reactions are referring to that, or it doesn't effectively convey what the author had hoped it would, in which case . . . well, too bad for the author, because no conveying extras through conversation afterward!

Of course, sometimes author commentary can function the same way as reader commentary. Different readers can convince each other of different facets/discoveries in an author's works. So too can an author's commentary help readers perceive more in his/her work. In some cases, the author may only be doing the job an as-yet absent reader might do. I know in some creative writing classes I took, I'd sit there horrified and crestfallen that not a soul understood what I'd been attempting, but then one or two people would speak up and they'd got it exactly. So it wasn't that I wasn't conveying what I'd hoped, it was just that most of the class was stupid, you see.

Ahem. :)

But seriously, If not for those one or two, I may have thought my work failed to say what I wanted. If not for them, I'd be the only one who could point out what I meant. It wouldn't mean that I'd failed, it would just mean that there didn't happen to be people who could perfectly tune into what I was saying in that particular class, reading that particular work.

I don't quite know what I'm trying to persuade anyone to believe here. I just wish you'd reply in your comments. I also have a fever.

dogimo said...

I love the idea of giving out nose-beep awards! But I'm at a loss how to do that - I don't call myself competent to judge. I don't want anyone to think there's a "right" interpretation - I certainly don't want to come in and declare there is. I've had times, with songs usually, where someone says something to me ("Hey, is that about doot doot doot...?") and I just LOVE what they came up with - and it fits perfectly, better than anything I'd have come up with if asked! And as far as I'm concerned, that makes them right - righter than me. For me at least, reader commentary usually helps the author perceive more.

But if I'd said beforehand, "this is a song about dot dot dot...", they'd have never given me their doot doot doot alternative. I'd have shut off that better interpretation. That's why I don't want to come in and "stamp" any given interpretation as "the right one." I want to hear anything people might have to say!

I do agree wholeheartedly with your casual analysis of literary criticism. I especially agree that if the author isn't able to successfully embody their intent in the piece, then the author's intent doesn't matter. If the author's intent is important to the author, it's the author's job to make the piece embody that.

Having said all that, I have no problem talking about my poems! Just as long as it's not right under the poem.

I just need that separation.

dogimo said...

Arg. I feel foolish with everything I'm saying trying to explain this. It doesn't explain anything. It may be it's not amenable to explanation - it is just gut discomfort!

Honestly, I have no idea why or how I am ever able to write anything that I love. When I do make something that I love, I am humiliated by that. In the older sense of the word. It makes me feel very small, and very grateful, and I don't know where it is coming from (I'm talking more about songs than poems I guess).

It just doesn't seem true or honest for me to come in all "taking charge" right there under the poem - telling it what it does and doesn't mean. It seems wrong to me. It seems untrue in some way. I don't feel I can do it.

I probably can't explain it sensibly - it's not to do with sensible.

I just need that little bit of distance - for me. But everybody else is free to make any critique they wish!

Maybe I'll post the nose-beeps in here. ;-D

Hey Blue - I hope you feel better. Fever-wise. It doesn't seem to affect your always lucid prose.

dogimo said...

DAMN this Boont Amber Ale is good!!!!

Ice cold. Wow.

dogimo said...

So anyway, heck. Sadly, in 2013 I just fell so far off pace I couldn't get back on. I concede defeat: we are no longer a Poem-a-Day(-on-Average) Blog.

I wonder how many I end up with this year with no prompt. Bah.