I have a philosophy about poetry. This philosophy informs a lot of my views about writing and the arts and, despite its simplicity, it took me a while to figure out exactly what it was that made me like some genres of art and not others. In turn, it’s helped me deconstruct those genre prejudices and figure out what it is that I truly like and dislike, irrespective of labels. Being an architecture graduate, I’ll use an example below of poetry in architecture, but other art forms can share this philosophy too. It goes something a little like this:
Art has to look good on the surface before it can have a deeper meaning.
As I said: simple. It even has a flaw, like so many great philosophies – what looks good on the surface is entirely subjective anyway. And likewise, what people take from art, whatever metaphor they unearth from behind its exterior, is also a personal interpretation. That’s what poetry is all about. But let me explain with an example: in this case, using architecture.