Feelings of reading poetry

Summary: Using neuroscience concepts, researchers evaluate the emotional sensation and analytic representations that occur while reading poetry.

source: Tallinn University

In addition to searching for the meaning of poems, they can also often be described by the feelings the reader feels while reading them.

Kristian Kekas, a doctoral student at the Faculty of Humanities at Tallinn University, has studied what other sensations arise during reading poetry and how they affect the understanding of poems.

The aim of the doctoral thesis was to study the possibility of touching language, that is, sensory saturation, which has not yet found adequate analysis and application.

Kicas describes the perspective of her thesis: “In my research, I see reading as an impersonal process, in the sense that the sensations that arise do not seem to belong to the reader or to poetry, but to both at the same time.”

In general, the language of poetry is studied figuratively, in order to try to understand the meaning of the word either directly or figuratively. A different perspective called the “emotional perspective” usually studies the effects of pre-linguistic motives or motives that are not related to the meaning of the word on the reader.

However, Kikas viewed language as a simultaneous suggestion and flow of consciousness, that is, discussion that moves from one phrase to another as well as connections that seem to occur intuitively during reading.

They sought to identify ways of dealing with verbal language, which are particularly stimulating to analytical thinking, in a way that would help open up sensory saturation and put their observation in poetic analysis to the fore along with other modes of study of poetry.

To achieve its goals, Kicas applied Gilles Deleuze’s radical empirical method and compared several other approaches with it: semiotics, biology, anthropology, modern psychoanalysis and cognitive science.

Kikas describes reading in her doctoral thesis as a constant presence in verbal language, which is sometimes more explicit and sometimes less conspicuous. This type of presence can be felt such as color, position, or the sounds of birdsong.

“Following the neuroscientific origins of metaphors, I have used the human being’s tendency to perceive language at the sensorimotor level in my near reading to help replay it using body memory. This trait allows us to physically experience the words we read,” explains Keikas.

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In general, the language of poetry is studied figuratively, in order to try to understand the meaning of the word either directly or figuratively. The image is in the public domain

According to her, the feelings stored in the body evoked by words can be considered the oneness of the reader and the words, or the reader becomes the words. Kikas asserts that this can only happen if the multiplicity of sensations and meanings that arise during reading are recognized.

“Although the study showed that the saturation associated with verbal language cannot be linked to a broader literary discourse without representational and analytical thinking, the conclusion is that its observation and recognition are important in the experience and interpretation of the poem,” Kikas summarizes her doctoral thesis.

Since her research was only the first attempt to examine sensations in hair, Kikas hopes to provide material for further discussion.

Above all, it encourages readers in their attempts to understand poetry to notice and trust even the slightest sensations and impulses aroused during reading, for this is the beginning of even the most abstract of meanings.

About this passion and hair research news

author: Kristen Kekas
source: Tallinn University
Contact: Christian Kekas – University of Tallinn
picture: The image is in the public domain