Monday, February 2, 2015

Snowflakes and Poetry

Wimsatt and Bardsley's "The Intentional Fallacy" tells readers that authors, specifically of poetry, have no authority over their work after it has been completed and/or published. Authors lack the omnipotent power to determine the meaning possessed by the poem upon it's publishing. The piece is meant to speak for itself once the author has completed it. Therefore, the poem should not need an author's note or context clues, it should be what it is without the aid of any other device. The author has never owned the poem in terms of meaning. Readers own the poem in possessing the ability to create their own context. "A poem should not mean, but be." (469). However, there is nothing accidental about a poem. The author had intention while writing, but no ownership otherwise. The author is the facilitator of the poem. If the poem was a Socratic Seminar, the author would be the leader but not the end all-say all. 

I drew inspiration for my artwork from my meteorological surroundings: snow. Poems, to me are like snowflakes. No two poems are alike because the intent for each poem by any given author is significantly different from poem to poem. Furthermore, since we know that authors do not own the poems which they create, if an author continued to write the same poem over and over with different words, there is no unique value. We know that no two snowflakes are alike, but since we don't have time to examine every single snowflake's detail, we accept the sentiment to be true. As readers and writers we have to accept and understand that while we may not read every poem ever published by one single author, each poem is unique to The author's intent. 

Why can't authors have more authority on their works? The Intentional Fallacy says that we relinquish this power as soon as we publish, but why? It's like when the snowflakes hit the ground and we can no longer tell one from the other because it is one of the crowd. When an author publishes, do they lose authority solely because it is not in their singular possesion? 

1 comment:

  1. The middle part kind of worried me here when you were talking about how each poem is unique to the author's intent, but the end kind of rescues it: that the author's intent probably matters a lot to the CREATION of a poem, but it matters NOT AT ALL (in W&B's minds) to the analysis or interpretation or meaning of a poem...

    A lovely artwork. Filled with positive Meghanesque vibes! :)