Anthony Tan, a poet and the new writing associate of the Edilberto and Edith Tiempo Creative Writing Center, shared the keys to understanding poetry last Aug. 3 at the Science Complex room 110.
In his lecture entitled “What to Look for in Poetry,” Tan said that one should know that there is always a speaker in the poem aside from the author who wrote the poem to understand a poem better.
“The poet, of course, wrote the poem but the speaker is not always the poet,” Tan said.
He said that subjects of poetry are difficult to understand, the procedure of poetry is not straightforward, and poets may be using a persona.
He added that the identifiable audience of the poem, summarizing the events, understanding the kind and structure of imagery used, explaining the symbols, and pointing out devices used by the poet can also help in understanding poetry.
“The [symbols and figures of speech] are very important. It’s good to understand the symbols and what they mean because sometimes the symbols carry the meaning,” Tan said.
Tan added that finding the tone of the poem is the most difficult part or aspect of understanding poetry. The speaker’s speaking tone is an attitude, and the poem’s content can clarify an attitude to readers.
He also pointed out that even if all of these devices can be used by a poet all at once in a poem, studying them can aid in understanding poetry better.
By Jann Viansee O. Cardenas