ENGLISH 1A03 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Ambergris, Fun Things
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Fun Things We Believe About Poetry
●Poems are make-believe. They don't have to do with the real world.
○It's not about the real world.
●Poems are subjective experiences. My interpretation is an opinion and therefore valid in its own
right. All interpretations are relative and there are as many of them as there are readers.
○We are in a class where there will be some type of evaluation. Poems, right? We have our
own individual opinion towards what we are reading.
Poems Are Made Up
●They have little to do with our daily lives.
○Is an activity irrelevant when it seems to be in some way removed from our daily lives.
●There are no second basemen in the world. Why should we have baseball games then?
○Because as humans, we like to make our own stories. We understand that immediately,
that that is a story is about something. Critics take it apart and help us understand what a
poem AND baseball game might embody.
○We can often feel that it would be easier if the instructor just told us what a poem meant.
○Why does the sports world not simply involve the reporting of scores on games that no
A Bridge is a Lie
●Why don't we say that engineers are bold faced liars?
○That bridge does not follow the contours of the land. Why do we allow it? It makes our
lives easier. Can that be translated over to literature?
■Poems and literature helps us expand our minds. What that bridge is telling us is
that the planet we were born on doesn't entirely suit our needs. In order for us to
have the world we want, we have to move a certain way.
Poems Are Subjective Experiences
●My interpretation is an opinion. All interpretations are relative and there are many of them as
there are readers.
○Reader's anxiety about being "right" in relation to an experience he or she has no
○An often appropriate investment in one's own tastes, thoughts, and beliefs.
○But, does that mean that anything goes?
○How do we solve a crime?
■If you walk into a messy room, can you know what happened here? In the same
way that the instructor told you when you picked up this poem, that something is
happening there. Let's say you're a detective and you see a lamp that has fallen on
the floor. You scratch your head and say, "obviously this person is a general
electric". Nuh-uh... Why do you say that? Well, you could say it can work, you
cannot prove me wrong.
■A new poem is like a crime scene: you know that something has happened there;
you're just not sure what.
■You consider all the evidences in relation to one another, with the assumption
that all the bits and pieces will fit together to make a kind of unified picture.
It is shy as a gathered eyelet
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