Searching abent-mindedly today for a theory of poetry that will narrow down the focus, shut out so much extraneous para-poetic noise.

Is it only me that hears this? Is it because I'm over 50 & no longer open to new experiences (ala the NPR program on this yesterday)?

My new experiences happen in the process of improvisation within my own way of writing. Pretty narrow, I guess.

My theory may go back to Michael Riffaterre's book, Semiotics of Poetry. By defining poetry as "that which means something other than what it says" (my paraphrase), the theory allows for both 1) a serious motivation to communicate something particular, and 2) a very roundabout and various way of doing it.

Riffaterre opens his book by explaining that this is how poetry achieves its unity : by emphasizing the distinction between significance (the underlying singular communication being made) and meaning (the various mimetic representations the poem provides).

Poetry, for Riffaterre, differs from prose etc. by not trying to be mimetic - in fact "threatening" mimesis. & yet it remains a very intense form of communication : like a code.

This seems like an appropriately narrow "definition" of poetry. & suits my Rest Note Read-Alongs...

No comments: