“It is interesting to read [these] poems over the course of a lifetime, because, as with paintings, one’s perception of them changes with time.
When we superimpose our successive impressions of works of art or poems, we can see them as geological strata. Drilling down through the layers, we extract a core sample that can tell us something about the life of the work, not as an isolated impression or phenomenon linked to the past but as a living being, which has preserved a record of its inner history and evolution.
We can also interpret the phenomenon in another way, namely, as a simple transformation of the work of art over time, with nothing added or subtracted.
This phenomenon is related to cross-mapping, which ones does by arranging maps one on top of another in order to detect differences between them – the differences wherein I believe truth lies.
If we superimpose geological maps, we can observe the coming and going of ice ages. Similarly, historical maps can tell us about the drastic changes brought by the conquests of Alexander the Great or by political changes in the Fertile Crescent over a period of 10,000 years.
With these examples in mind, it is not hard to accept that our perception of a poem or work of art might actually be a composite of the various interpretations that we make of it at different stages of our lives.”
Anselm Kiefer, Marine (trans. Arthur Goldhammer)