The battle against abstractions: Round 2

I've noticed that when my students switch from writing poetry to the fiction unit, they feel more compelled to describe and provide detail when they write stories than when they write poems.

My first thought is that they see poems as compressed language. Because of that compression, they need to use shorthand (abstraction), in order to say what they want to say.

My second thought is that they view poetry as closely in league with philosophy. A poem is about ideas first and not about image.

Finally, as was stated in the previous post, the abstract language will allow the readers to interpret the poem in whatever way that reader wishes. It's the idea that the poem allows the writer AND the reader freedom. However, the reader is empowered in this model and ultimately, it's the reader who's writing the poem, it seems.

So . . . what to do? More in a few. I've got to teach in ten minutes. ;-)

Oliver de la Paz