Poems that simply confound you?I always tell my students at the beginning of the poetry genre section in my freshmen comp. course that I, too, do not "get" all poetry and that it is OK to...

Poems that simply confound you?

I always tell my students at the beginning of the poetry genre section in my freshmen comp. course that I, too, do not "get" all poetry and that it is OK to not be able to "get" it all!

My question to all of you is what is a poem that you simply don't "get"? 

 

Expert Answers
kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I've always wanted to see an in-depth analysis of e.e. cummings "anyone lived in a pretty how town."  I get the basic purpose, the commentary on individuality and conformity, but I'd love to see a careful breakdown of how he uses repetition and imagery to reinforce his theme.

Interesting, sullymonster!  e.e. cummings frustrates me already because of his lack of capital letters LOL (I'm an English professor).

I, for the life of me, cannot understand what in the world "The Red Wheelbarrow" is about *sigh*.  I want to make it about something deep and meaningful, but perhaps it is only about a wheelbarrow that is slickened with rain and that has a chicken near it LOL!

cybil eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although I definitely enjoy explicating poetry--even difficult, challenging poetry--"Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" makes my head hurt. On several occasions I've wanted to use it to show multiple points of view, but I don't feel secure enough in my interpretation to do so. Maybe it's that number 13? : )

sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I've always wanted to see an in-depth analysis of e.e. cummings "anyone lived in a pretty how town."  I get the basic purpose, the commentary on individuality and conformity, but I'd love to see a careful breakdown of how he uses repetition and imagery to reinforce his theme.

lequam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As much as I love the flow and the sound of the poem "The Emperor of Ice-Cream" by Wallace Stevens, I'm still confused by the deeper meaning of the poem.  What was Stevens trying to say by the poem.  Many interpretations exist, but none of them satisfy me completely. 

cutipie | Student
Poems that simply confound you?

I always tell my students at the beginning of the poetry genre section in my freshmen comp. course that I, too, do not "get" all poetry and that it is OK to not be able to "get" it all!

My question to all of you is what is a poem that you simply don't "get"? 

 

among crumbling people by E.ECumming

epollock | Student

Milton's Paradise Lost is one of the most troubling poems.  Scholars have even debated on the syntax of his lines. Ask any student where the subject is in the first line and you find it around line 20.

kc4u | Student

Yes indeed, the 'gettability' of a poem is almost always a difficult and doubtful proposition. There are many poems in all languages, poems old and new, which we don't really get through. Poems tend to tantalize lexically, syntactically, semantically. Sometimes poems leave us with a sense of genuine discomfort. Good poetry is not translatable, paraphrasable, not even understandable as a whole. It is invariably deviant, and seems to go beyond the denotative to some twilight zone of intricate connotations, over-determination, imaginative visualisation. For me, reading a poem is an expedition in which the journey matters more than the destination to reach.