Poetry is meant to be interpreted in many different ways. This is what makes poetry so diverse when compare to other writings. The many interpretations of poetry is a good thing, but also a bad. Too much interpretation can destroy the true meaning of the poem. This can happen with all kinds of poetry, but it is more likely to happen with children’s poetry. Jack Pressures is a famous children’s poet. Pressures was named the first Children’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation in 2006. He spends much of his time presenting poetry to children, and sometimes even sings out his poetry.
However this doesn’t mean his poetry is only intended for children. Persecutes poetry does have meaning towards an older audience. His poetry has a wide range of audiences, and with all these ranges of audiences. There will be a wide range of interpretation of his poems. With so much different interpretations of the poem, the true meaning of the poem is mask behind the hundreds, and even thousands of other meanings we put in. One of the most widely interpreted poems by Pressures is “Bleeder’s Ice Cream”. The poem is about a person name Benzene Bleeder, and this person owns n ice cream shop with 28 unique divine flavors.
As a child, they will only understand the silliness off the poem. As they will compare to walking into an ice cream store with unique flavors, but an adult will interpret this much more differently. In the first stanza the name Benzene as interpreted by an adult would mean the helping stone. In the book of Samuel Benzene meant, thus far the lord has help me, but most commonly referred to as the helping stone. As in the fifth line of the first stanza “28 divine creations” is well connected to the biblical meaning of Benzene.
While an dull would call say the twenty eight divine creations are human beings, on the other hand children would consider these creations as unique flavors of ice cream. The two meanings are so widely interpreted it destroys the meaning of the poem. If the meaning of the poem is gone, then there is no valid meaning to the poem. If this is so the poem would no longer be consider a poem, but rather words on paper. Truth is there is meaning, and that meaning comes from the author. The modern critic has faithfully and closely examined the text to its independent meaning instead of its supposed significance to the author’s life (2).
The person who wrote the poem gave it its meaning, and those who interpret it cannot give the poem meaning, because they are not the author of the poem. Many interpreters use logic or history, such as the history of the author to draw its meaning. However this does not always mean the meaning of the poem is right. The interpreters have no way of knowing what the author is feeling as he writes the poem, and also how he feels when revising it. Readers maybe believe they have the right meaning of the poem, but in fact this also causes false interpretations and leads to false meanings of the memo.
With so much false interpretations of poetry we almost mistrust any kind of meaning towards a poem. All meanings of the poem are then seen as people’s opinions, even the authors own meaning. In “Plat’s Banishment to Poetry’ by Morris Henry Parted, an assistant professor at University of California, stated “Plat’s consistent mistrust of art in his explicit consideration of art must take his tacit enjoyment and his use of poetry’ (209). Therefore we mistrust poetry because we know poetry is a kind of art. Knowing this, we then get the notion that art is interpreted in different ways.
This leads to why we misinterpret poetry the way we do. The opinions of these people which led to misinterpretation of the poem, are their feelings towards the type of poetry. Joan Peskiness of University of Toronto said “Taken to an extreme, an assumption that poetry reading is personal and natural would blur any distinction between an experience or inexperienced reader” (236). No matter how experience you are at reading poetry, there is always the chance that you let your feelings take over. When that happens, we lose all sight of what the true meaning of the poem is. Instead we let our emotions analyze the meaning of the memo.
Our emotions only see what it wants to see, and this can misinterpret poetry to a great extent. We don’t truly analyze the words, and try to understand what it meaner. Rather we read the poem, and we gave it meanings which coincide with what we feel. Everybody feels differently, and if one person feels it this way, it doesn’t mean the other person will too. We see poetry as art, and art is form by using pictures. Pressures is an imagery poet, his poems paints pictures in our heads. Persecutes poem “as soon as Fred gets out of bed”, in the first stanza fourth, and fifth line it states “a head’s no lace for underwear!
But near his ears, above his brains”. We can picture a child who has an underwear on his head, but since art is interpreted in many ways. We find another meaning for what this meaner. An adult would interpret this as someone who is finishing up unfinished work. If the underwear was on his head, then he would be in over his head. Someone has dump too much on the person. This is not so as he lift the underwear over his head, and doing so he lift the heavy load off of him. Another example would be from the second stanza where it states “At night hen Fred goes back to bed, he deftly plucks it off his head”.
As a child they would picture a boy who takes his underwear of his head. While an adult would interpret it as Fred has had a long day, and by plucking it off his head he takes the weight of the long day off him before going to bed. If imagery really set us up for misinterpreting poems, then why does the author do this? The truth is imagery actually lessens the effects of misinterpretations of the poem. S. L. Bethel said in his lecture Shakespeare Imagery “Unfortunately without them (imagery) the story itself is liable to misinterpretation” (71). We all heard the saying a picture is worth a thousand words.
Meaning a picture can be described in a thousand ways. It’s true that imagery can make us misinterpret poems, but the effects of the misinterpretations are much bigger. We can visualize what is going on in the poem, but we only see one picture. Then we use that picture to describe the meaning of the poem. The images we picture in our minds we give it only one meaning. While others also have the same picture in their minds, and creates their own meaning. Adding it all together a picture which has thousands of meaning, escalates to many more different meanings.
The deterrence in meaning can come trot the tort to poetry, and now it is presented to the reader. Pressures uses a lot of rhyme schemes in his poem, which are directed at children. In his poem “Dora Dilled”, which is a four line poem, and a rhyme scheme of ABA. In this traditional rhyme scheme we look for meaning between the two Ass, and the two Bi’s. According to A. C Bradley who is a professor of poetry at University of Oxford said in his Journal “Poetry for Poetry’s Sake” claimed “There is no such thing as mere form in poetry. All form is expression” (9).
The form of poetry is how it is presented to our eyes. According to Bradley, the form of poetry is not a factor when it comes to finding meaning within a poem. Literary theorist Jonathan Culler stated that reading poetry is not a natural activity but is charged with artifice, that is, assimilated by a special set of expectations that the reader assimilated (238). We as a reader come into poetry expecting to find some kind of meaning. This according to Culler is a way we deceive ourselves, and find false meaning too poem. If we expect to find meaning in a poem before we read it.
Then it would be very easy to find a false meaning, because we are so sure that there is a true meaning. We overlook the possibility that the meaning we found can mean something else. Another possibility according to Culler is that inexperience poetry readers find it difficult to construct a meaning when reading poetry (239). We think that since children’s poetry is meant for children, we overlook the fact that the meaning should be easy to locate. Persecutes poetry is not only intended for children, but also adults. The inexperience readers will have a hard time finding the meaning to a children’s otter.
Then they will make up a meaning based on what they thought the poem meant. The meaning does not coincide with the true meaning of the poem, and therefore this is a misinterpretation of the poem. All in all analyzing poetry is different for everyone, and we all interpret it different ways. Children’s poetry is more vulnerable to misinterpretation due to its wide range of audiences. The readers have different ways of interpreting poetry, but most of these interpretations are false. They give meaning where there isn’t one, and some even make up their own meaning.
The meaning of poetry only comes from the author, and since the reader did not write the work. They would not know what the true meaning of the poem is, and even though they are free to make interpretations. These interpretations are mostly misinterpreted. With so much misinterpretation the true meaning of a poem is masked within these interpretations. Just like a needle in a hay stack, we have to continuously search for that true meaning. At the same time we have to understand other readers will create new meanings.