Tangia--discussion   (part 1)

This page 1 is a continuation of   page 0.


Poem "when I was..." by LeeAnn Heringer

You'll read a longer definition of poetry later. Now let's recall the short definition: a poem is a sensual report which induces in reader reflections which go far beyond the literal meaning of the text. Let's see an example:

when I was old enough
to put myself to bed

        I would pick my way
        through shards of broken dishes      
        that lined the floor and lie down
        between my parents,
        hoping the alcohol
        singing in their blood
        would seep beneath my skin
        and I would sleep
        rocked by the temporary truce
        of their steady snores

LeeAnn Heringer ©,

The title implies that the lyrical subject is a small child. Knowing that the author is a woman I imagine a small girl. (here imagining a small boy would feel essentially about the same). The first three lines present an image of a small child whose world is so close to the floor. The poem is very specific, very sensual.

The shard that lined the floor and the child lying down, including her parents in the bed, it's all the same horizontal world--that's the poetic vision, the poetic reality, and the poetic truth of this poem. It exists in the atmosphere of the parents' steady snores.

We have nothing but a report by senses. But the impact of the poem goes far beyond a simple report. Without any explicit spelling of any extremal emotions the poem is very dramatic. It's even depressing but it does have certain uplifting message too. The child despite the harsh circumstances finds security. A very moving poem. In its modest way, without imposing on a reader anything by force (in your face), this poem makes readers feel so much.

Definition of Tangia (two-pronged)

Poetry, like most everything, admits two views: external and internal. They harmonize and complement each other.

The external view

Poetry exists completely within the following three premises:

  1. Foundation:   man is but a particle of Nature.
  2. Aim:   the impact of a poem should go far beyond its direct meaning.
  3. Ethical commandment:   every element of a poem must serve poetry.

The internal view

Poetry is the art of words.