Experience and movement: Reading as interaction
Present studies offer ways to examine reading from the new points of view as a relation in which affects meets cognition. Attention must be paid to the reading as the significant process (see Siltanen also 2014). The reading experience leaves its trace in the writings in which we try to figure out and interpret the texts we read even though the writings do not catch the experience as such. My speech sharpens to two empiric examples: 1) The writings of the participants of the art journalism course in which they point out both enchanting and fascinating, and forbidding reading experiences 2) Several reviews of the present poetry.
In the first case – free writings on some reading experiences – the writers show feelings openly. They have felt excitement, pleasure and disgust, in other words physical reactions. The difference is that the unpleasant and forbidding experiences prove to be more conflicting. Textual feelings cause experiences and emotions which interrelate with the more cognitive interpretations in all the cases. According to Rita Felski (2008, 18): “In the two-way transaction we call reading, texts pass through densely woven filters of interpretation and affective orientation that both enable and limit their impact.”
In turn the reviews published in the papers and internet sites show how the feeling of the poems (“texture”) appeals keenly although it does not always seem to make sense to the critics, or even distracts them. The question is about the physically felt (kinaesthetic) touch of the poems which affects them and the cognitive or rationalized interpretations. You could even say that the interpretation on the reading experience itself plays a remarkable role in the reviews although it is not always conscious. The nearer the poetic text seems to become to the reviewer, the more pleasant it feels and the more willingly it is to be estimated with high values.
Moods of reading (cf. Felski & Fraiman 2012; Fraiman 2012) are important factors working with the texts we read and us, the readers. Texts consist of kinaesthetic features (like rhythm) that effect on and affect the readers corporally. So poems, too, are moving organisms that move the reader in one way or another during the reading process. The interaction between a text and a reader carries out the affective search of the interpretative information. This interaction is not always harmonious or symmetric which concerns communication in whole. Reading can therefore be understood as communication if it is understood not only as mediating or conveying of the semantic message (Kääntä & Haddington 2011; Leskelä & Lindholm 2012.)
The analysis of reading experiences – traced in the writings – shows that the reading is not only individual let alone singular work but multilateral cooperation. The essential point is to see reading as function which brings out the conditions and potential of communication.
Felski, Rita 2008, Uses of Literature.
Felski, Rita & Fraiman, Susan 2012, Introduction. New Literary History 43.
Haavoittuva keskustelu. Keskusteluanalyyttisia tutkimuksia kielellisesti epäsymmetrisestä vuorovaikutuksesta. Toim. Leealaura Leskelä ja Camilla Lindholm 2012.
Kainulainen Siru, Nykyrunon kritiikin tuntutilat. Tulossa oleva artikkeli tekeillä olevaan kirjaan työnimellä ”Kirjallisuus ja tunteet”, toim. Anna Helle (JyY) & Anna Hollsten (HY).
Kieli, keho ja vuorovaikutus. Multimodaalinen näkökulma sosiaaliseen toimintaan, toim. Pentti Haddington, Leila Kääntä 2011.
Siltanen, Elina 2014,Hard work? Reciprocal Communication in Contemporary Amecian Experimental Poetry. Turun yliopisto & Luleå University of Technology.
Taidejournalismin kurssi, järjestäjinä Turun yliopiston Luova kirjoittaminen, Turun Ammattikorkeakoulu (Humak) ja ELY-keskus, 2014 (useita opettajia).