Seeing and Reading (converting pictures into words)

According to some, the work of writers is to convert what they see, think and hear into words in such a way that the reader can recreate from the page what the writers "saw" in their minds' eyes. People think that reading and seeing are 2 very different activities - that reading is sequential but a picture is instantly taken in. This isn't true. Isherwood wrote a novel called "I am a Camera" but our eyesight is best in an area as small as a thumbnail at arm's length, so our eyes jump around, often returning to objects for another look. Some think that "in each visual configuration, be it simple or complex, there exists a built-in trajectory for the observer's gaze." [Gan91, p.25]. Certainly our eyes look at faces, bright colours, doors and vanishing points before exploring the peripheries. Even when we're staring at something our eyes are never still - saccadic movements keep the image fresh upon the retina.

Sometimes poets try to help the reader share the original sensations by

Things to do

References


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Tim Love, April 1996.
tpl@eng.cam.ac.uk