A student argues "Why poetry should be seen, not heard"
A site entitled "The Smart Set" features an article by Michael Lind which controversially argues the frustration that can be found when poetry is studied from paper, rather than heard audibly from a speaker.
In this debate I can see the pros and cons of both sides. I love poetry, and I'm sure that it's nice to just enjoy a reading of thought and let your mind go where it wills. Imagination has no limit, and therefore, by hearing poetry, you allow each person in the room to identify and interpret the poem as he pleases.
However, something that Lind could understand a little bit more, is that the author writes the poem thinking about a particular subject, and half of the conversation is about us discovering what the poem truly means. This is why we study on paper, the works of T.S. Eliot, Walt Whitman, and William Blake, etc. so that even though we have our own interpretation, we can understand their original intent, and dig deeper into the lives of these fascinating poets.
Lind continues to blame Kenneth Burke and others for skewing the balance in studying poetry rather than enjoying it, referencing Dana Gioia when she states, "I suspect one thing that hurt poetry was being too well taught."
I do agree with him at some point in that in some of my literature courses in college, instead of enjoying a poem, I found myself frustrated that I wasn't finding the correct interpretation according to my instructor, and so therefore the experience was taken away from me a little bit. Finding the correct balance is hard, as it results in articles such as this one being written.
It is quite a perplexing read, and the article can be found here.