Thoughts on art, Part 2 – Poetry


Another old notebook entry. From August 17, 2013:

I used to think poetry was just sub-par philosophy. But I am beginning to know better. The goal of philosophy is to convey the truth in the most clear and distinct way, logically and rationally. One must choose one’s words very carefully so as to make exactly the right distinctions and not confuse terms or concepts. The poet must also choose just the right words so as to both convey/evoke the truth and to form aesthetically pleasing (or at least powerful) phrasing. And not only this, but I think that the conveying of truth is principally done through the aesthetics of the words, sounds, and images rather than through the literal meanings of the words themselves, as is the case in philosophy. Whereas in philosophy each word should have only one precise definition so as to avoid equivocation and misunderstanding, sometimes in poetry it is these double-meanings or a word’s relation to the other words that give a line a richer meaning.

Since I am a philosopher and a left-brainer by nature, I think I will always read poetry through these eyes. I don’t think I will ever understand people who have a mostly poetic/artistic understanding of the world. However, I think I should try harder to appreciate poetry and maybe try to express myself through that medium as it will most likely broaden my perception and experience and understanding of the world.

I think the best poets are also (good) philosophers, just aesthetically-minded ones. Choosing words: very important. Why haven’t I thought of this before? Forcing myself to express myself through poetry might help me be a better conversationalist. I don’t force myself to find the right words very often. My powers of description have waned…I should try to get them back. I may have been led astray when being taught about poetry in high school. I was told the “what’s” but not the “why’s.” That’s such a cliche, but it’s true. I know poets use metaphors and similes, etc., but I never had a real understanding of why that was such a common characteristic of poetry. I am beginning to understand.

Sorry for the ramblings into which my notebook entries inevitably devolve. Hopefully something I said in here was worthwhile. We’ll see…


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