Poems and figurative/non-literal language

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teksla
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11 May 2017, 9:03 am

Today in school we worked with poems. I dislike poems since i do not understand them. It was not until we had started that i understood how little of the poetic meaning and meaning behind the poem i understood and "got".

I was very stressed and anxious since i couldn't decipher the "hidden meaning" behind the poem.

Any one relate, or have similar issues?


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kicker
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11 May 2017, 9:49 am

In 9th grade we were discussing "The Raven" by Poe. I normally kept my mouth shut during such discussions, however this particular time I was called upon and asked what I thought about it. I relayed my thoughts that Poe was a sad individual whom through an inebriated mind set, probably Absinthe induced hallucinations, looked around his den and imagined a taxidermy raven was stalking him as he wallowed in self pity over the death or rejection of someone he cared for.

Needless to say I was alone in that opinion. So yes, I can relate to not getting "it". Still don't.



DanielH
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11 May 2017, 10:26 am

kicker wrote:
In 9th grade we were discussing "The Raven" by Poe. I normally kept my mouth shut during such discussions, however this particular time I was called upon and asked what I thought about it. I relayed my thoughts that Poe was a sad individual whom through an inebriated mind set, probably Absinthe induced hallucinations, looked around his den and imagined a taxidermy raven was stalking him as he wallowed in self pity over the death or rejection of someone he cared for.

Needless to say I was alone in that opinion. So yes, I can relate to not getting "it". Still don't.


I love your interpretation of Poe as that is precisely the sort of answer I would naturally give.

To the OP,

Poetry is difficult to understand - even for some NT people. I compare some poetry to looking at an abstract work of art. There is no factual or logical meaning and, often, there isn't intended to be any. Sometimes, what is written is only meant to be pondered so the observer can extract some personal meaning from it. Don't worry if you don't "get" it.



pasty
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11 May 2017, 10:42 am

I have never understood poetry either, because they generally don't come out and say what they mean. They use superfluous, vague, and ambiguous language and descriptions. However, I did like The Raven by Poe. It made sense. A crazy depressed man saw a hallucination of a bird, and his hallucinations fed his craziness, which fed his hallucinations. I actually understood that one and was relieved.



BetwixtBetween
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11 May 2017, 10:44 am

I kept my mouth shut for years during such discussions except to mention imagery. Eventually, I had a teacher explain some of the non-literal stuff in a book, and it clicked. I listened to the class discussion to be sure, but by the end of class, I had a smile on my face because I finally "got it" about figurative/non-literal language in books and poems. It was such a great feeling. I think I was in high school. It was the nick of time, too. High school and college classes involving poetry/literature loved to focus on that stuff.



naturalplastic
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11 May 2017, 10:51 am

On one hand - reading poetry is a great excercise for autistics to learn non literal thinking. If it could be done in a non stressful way for autistics it would be theraputic.

But on the other hand -that particular poem "the Raven"...I dont think that ANY one has EVER understood it.

Had a speech teacher in high shool ( who also worked as an English teacher, but I never had him for English) who just flat out said "its not a great poem". He then recited the poem in front of class. He launched into the usual dark dramatic way its usually recited, up until the words "quoth the Raven...", and then he suddenly put on a high pitched "polly wanna cracker" type parrot voice, and then said "never more!" (the way a bird would really say it). After going through the poem with the "never more" refrain being delivered in the parrot voice he had us all falling on the floor laughing.



EzraS
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11 May 2017, 11:34 am

I can only understand that stuff after it is explained to me and it isn't too complected and or abstract.



Anon_92
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13 May 2017, 12:58 am

I'd rather see word salads here than what you guys are saying.



Darmok
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13 May 2017, 1:09 am

Poetry is my favorite type of non-fiction literature -- I pretty much have no interest in novels or short stories, but read (and have memorized) a fair amount of poetry.

Poetry is abysmally taught at the school level, especially for aspie/analytical type people. Many people here might enjoy it more if they set aside the whole issue of "meaning" and "symbols" (which is all high school teachers seem to care about), and instead looked at structure and language. That's what's great about great poems: they are highly structured, patterned, and intricate.

Forget symbols, and look at iambs and trochees, trimeters and hexameters, masculine rhymes and feminine rhymes, sestinas and enjambment and terza rima, and all the good technical stuff. If it was taught that way, aspies might like poetry a lot more. (Maybe we should start a Poetry-for-Aspies class. :D

BTW: "The Raven" is mostly trochaic octameter, a pretty rare meter -- did your teacher tell you that? (Better yet, ask the teacher what the meter is, and see if he/she can answer.)


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quaker
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13 May 2017, 1:37 am

I can relate to what most are saying. However, is it not equally true that most aspies can convey their interior world in equally obscure and idiosyncratic ways? So much so that it can be equally challenging - if not more - for even others in the spectrum to understand.

Most aspies I know are of the artistic mindset, their use of metaphor and language is amazingly fluid. Anyone read Emily Dickinson? Clearly she was in the spectrum, and her use of linguistic acrobatics and metaphor is typical of many in the autistic spectrum.



teksla
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13 May 2017, 3:15 am

Anon_92 wrote:
I'd rather see word salads here than what you guys are saying.

What is a word salad? And what does your sentance mean?


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quaker
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13 May 2017, 3:19 am

This is exactly the point I am making. People in the spectrum or out of it are completely capable of using metaphor.



Kiriae
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13 May 2017, 9:11 am

teksla wrote:
Anon_92 wrote:
I'd rather see word salads here than what you guys are saying.

What is a word salad? And what does your sentance mean?


I am not sure if thats what he meant but for me "word salad" is a bunch of random words mixed together like vegetables in a salad. Pretty literal. You can even imagine it. A bowl containing printed words all mixed together and covered with some dressing. :D

BTW. I see poems like this too. They never made sense to me unless they were pretty literal, such as: http://www.babelmatrix.org/works/pl/Szymborska,_Wisława/Kot_w_pustym_mieszkaniu/en/1433-A_Cat_in_an_Empty_Apartment



teksla
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13 May 2017, 9:13 am

Kiriae wrote:
teksla wrote:
Anon_92 wrote:
I'd rather see word salads here than what you guys are saying.

What is a word salad? And what does your sentance mean?


I am not sure if thats what he meant but for me "word salad" is a bunch of random words mixed together like vegetables in a salad. Pretty literal. You can even imagine it. A bowl containing printed words all mixed together and covered with some dressing. :D

So it means that he would rather see just random words here instead of what we are saying?
If he doesnt want to read this, he shouldnt. Seems like a rude thing to say, unless i am missing something?


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Kiriae
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13 May 2017, 1:25 pm

teksla wrote:
Kiriae wrote:
teksla wrote:
Anon_92 wrote:
I'd rather see word salads here than what you guys are saying.

What is a word salad? And what does your sentance mean?


I am not sure if thats what he meant but for me "word salad" is a bunch of random words mixed together like vegetables in a salad. Pretty literal. You can even imagine it. A bowl containing printed words all mixed together and covered with some dressing. :D

So it means that he would rather see just random words here instead of what we are saying?
If he doesnt want to read this, he shouldnt. Seems like a rude thing to say, unless i am missing something?

I think he meant the poems are word salads. But I could be wrong.