Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On Poetry

The act of poetry is always ultimately rooted in our behavior. To try to separate them completely--to keep poetry confined within the realms of emotions and images--in the end, would be to kill poetry, the fundamental goal of which is to translate our behavior into an insight, which can change the original behavior.

There are steps that must come in between, however. The complete process is:
1. Behavior to Emotions
2. Emotions to Images
3. Images to Thought / insight

Analysis of Sylvia Plath's poem, "Daddy":

"You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe"

This line is about emotions to images. Sylvia feels the black shoe formality of business and economics is wrong for her.

"In which I have lived like a foot For thirty years, poor and white, Barely daring to breathe or Achoo."
Behavior to emotion. feeling Suffocated.

"At twenty I tried to die And get back, back, back to you. I thought even the bones would do. But they pulled me out of the sack, And they stuck me together with glue."
Behavior to emotion. Why did she try to die? Because of nostalgia for her father. To get a response--any response--from him.

"And then I knew what to do. I made a model of you, A man in black with a Meinkampf look And a love of the rack and the screw. And I said I do, I do."
Insight leads to behavior. But this section is really about translating that behavior into emotion and image. "Meinkampf look and a love of the rack and the screw--pretty much says all you need to know about how she felt about her husband.

"So daddy, I'm finally through. The black telephone's off at the root, The voices just can't worm through. If I've killed one man, I've killed two."
Here we have images into thought. Slvia has killed the internal images of the men in her life. They no longer own her.

"There's a stake in your fat black heart And the villagers never liked you. They are dancing and stamping on you. They always knew it was you. Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through."
Back to emotion into images. Sylvia's life is a village, that had been ruled by her father until the villagers ended his tyranny.

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