29 March 2006

A question

I'm starting to read and make notes about Jane Hirshfield for Crafted Poetry, and I came across these lines in her poem, "Mathematics."

Does a poem enlarge the world,
or only our idea of the world?

I think it enlarges both. Every time I read a poem, whether a good one or a bad one (and we can argue about those parameters forever), I'm seeing something, someone, or some situation in a different way. I'm outside of my own consciousness, culture, gender, language, time, prejudices... My own world has changed, and therefore, how I behave in, or think about the world has changed.

I believe in the butterfly effect, and therefore I believe in the power of subtle shifts of consciousness. (Incidentally, the story by Ray Bradbury, "A Sound of Thunder," is simultaneously lovely and disturbing, as is most of what Bradbury writes.) Unintended consequences can be good or bad, yes? The consequences of reading poetry (or viewing art, or listening to music) can be either. Beware!


6 comments:

ttbookjunkie said...

Good question... I would agree with you I think it does enlarge both...I know I have read many things not just poetry that introduced me to worlds I never would have known without the piece.

Amanda :)

KSD said...

If your idea of the world is enlarged, then, as far as YOU are concerned, the world just got bigger. The social construction of reality. The Thomas Theorem.

(I'm having to get academic again, as school begins anew Monday.)

Carrie K said...

I don't remember that Ray Bradbury book [adds to list].

Poetry does both. Enlarges the world - I would say that all creativity does - and enlarges our idea of the world. Nothing like getting exposed to more than your comfort zone.

Is there any chance you can post the whole poem? I can't find it online. Or maybe let me know which book of poetry it's in and I'll buy the book? Thanks, teabird! I really like the idea of math and poetry and there are some pretty entertaining online articles when I googled the poem and the poetess.

chittavrtti said...

Since she was discussing mathematics and ideas I would then ask for a definition of world.

If it is the world of ideas, yes. If its is the physical world then no. Matter being neither created not destroyed...:)***CV

It's Me, Maven... said...

I believe every interaction could potentially cause mind expansion or redefinition of our perspectives. I know for myself, my perspective is an ever changing thing, even in the most subtle ways.

Zee said...

I agree... it does a bit of both. It's all about perspective, and how open/willing we are to see things differently at any given moment.