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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ode on a Grecian Urn Summarized - Desmond Skirrow

Gods chase.
Round vase.
What say?
What play?
Don't know.
Nice, though.


Following last night's satirical poem, I remembered this, a humorous (but provocative) summary of Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn."  In summarizing the most basic elements of the poem (the gods chasing around the round vase), Skirrow then poses questions about the poem itself.  What is Keats saying with his poetic examination of a (likely fictional or idealized) Grecian urn?  What's at play, in the poem itself, or on the vase?  Skirrow comes to the conclusion that he does not know, but still, rather enjoys the poem.

This is the experience many people have with poetry.  It's incomprehensible, and often leaves the reader with very little to say about the poem.  The reader may comment that "it was nice" or that "I liked it" but rarely do we find the words to express that.  Skirrow highlights that incomprehensible nature of poetry in simple language, indicating that Skirrow believes that poetry is not inaccessible, but rather, can express deep ideas and thoughts in a simple and easily accessible manner.  The humor of the poem only bolsters that notion, making the poem pointed and memorable.

Do poems often seem inaccessible to you?  Do you often label them as "nice" and walk away?  Do you think Skirrow is reflecting a larger cultural distance from poems, or is he merely being funny?  Let me know!

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