Kirby writes about his interactions with teachers that use his poetry in the classroom. He states, “The teachers thought that my poem said one thing but meant another, and that it’s the reader’s job to figure out what the poet is really saying. No wonder poetry doesn’t have a bigger audience. All that code cracking. Who has the time?“
This reminds me of one of the questions I asked scrapbookers when doing my dissertation research. I asked them:
“On your scrapbook pages, how do you make sure the viewer gets the same message from the page that you intend? For example, if somebody were to look at your album in a hundred years, how do you arrange the page to make sure the viewer receives the message you want him or her to receive? What role does journaling and titles play?”
I followed this up by actually reviewing a selection of their layouts with one of their family members or friends. What I found is that most scrapbookers don’t care if anyone else really understands the story. What other viewers understand may or may not be the same story. Might poetry be like scrapbooking? Perhaps there really is no code to crack. You either get it or you don’t. What do you think? Do you care if other people understand the story you are sharing in your scrapbook? Do you care?