My Writers Circle

Poets Corner => Review My Poetry => Topic started by: heidi52 on February 17, 2014, 09:22:12 AM

Title: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on February 17, 2014, 09:22:12 AM
I’m starting this thread in the hopes of giving the poets, and anyone interested in poetry, a place to come and discuss anything and everything having to do with poetry.

Want to talk about form, what you like what you don’t? How about rhymes and what you think of them? Feel free to bring up any topic, ask any question, and post your own opinions. All I ask is that we keep it civil.

I’m going to start the discussion with something that comes up frequently. Is it wrong to offer an explanation for our poems? We all know that people interpret what we write through their own internal filter and often a reader’s interpretation can be vastly different from the poet’s original intention.

So, how important is it for you, as a poet, for people to understand your poem? On the same token when you read poetry, how important is it for you to understand the poem?
 
And, if an explanation is either included originally or given later how do you feel about that?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: duck on February 17, 2014, 09:54:00 AM
Hi heidi
Then let me quickly add a comment. For me it is absolutely unimportant if the reader understands what I understand. I am happy if they do understand that the poem expresses something and I love it to have the various interpretations the readers may have. At the same time if the poem seems to make little or no sense this just wastes time. nor do I see the point in a reader rejecting a sense the poem has because they are unable themselves to grasp it or don't like it. there is a tendency to believe the reader must be right if she/he does not understand.
Duck
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on February 17, 2014, 10:46:43 AM
I don't think any of it is a question of right or wrong.

If a reader doesn't understand something, they aren't doing it deliberately. And you certainly can't write to the lowest common denominator. But how else does a reader decide if they like or don't? Or do you feel poetry as art s/b just accepted and not judged at all?

is the main goal of your poems to impart a just a 'sense' and not a concrete image?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Amie on February 17, 2014, 11:23:12 AM
Generally, I think an explanation should not be required to enjoy the poem - and if it is, then the author should publish the explanation along with the poem. Since that tends not to happen, I think it follows that if the poem isn't enjoyable without an explanation, and an explanation won't be available when it is finally ready, then something is missing....
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: midnight candle on February 17, 2014, 11:49:02 AM
i'd agree about the explanation. i like it when a reader has a totally different interpretation from the one i intended. so rather than give an explanation, i agree with amie that something is not working in the first place.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on February 17, 2014, 11:54:48 AM
This is a great idea Heidi, thanks for launching it.  And you’ve started it off with quite a topic, or series of topics.  I’m going to have to put in my two cents a little at a time.

How much explanation should be shared when discussing a poem with folks who read and review is a big topic. 

A small part of the topic is the matter of what explanation should accompany the original posting of a poem.  I say none, nothing, nada – a writer should never include a preamble or introduction with the initial posting of a poem.   That pollutes the neutral frame of mind for the first reading.  A reader needs to have a clean slate.  If you want me approach the poem without any preconceptions, don’t tell me you just got dumped by the three-week love of your life, or that you are so deeply in love your eyes are swimming backwards, or you wrote this twenty years ago.  Don’t tell me you’ve posted the poem three times before or that its been published twice.  And especially don’t tell me you don’t care much about the poem or you just whipped it out of nowhere in 5 minutes.  If you don’t care about it, I won’t, and if you spent 5 minutes writing it, I’ll be damned if I’m spending more reviewing it.

And finally, don’t say this is your first poem, or that you are new or the mind-numbing “I’m not a poet.”   You wrote and posted a poem – that’s an act of courage.  Don’t back-pedal on it.   

Proviso: if there is some particularized situation, local custom, special jargon or something like that of which you are pretty certain the reader will be unaware, then it might be fair to consider a footnote type informatory entry- brief and concise. Still, it will color in some way the first impression of readers so do it only sparingly.

Back soon with more. 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Vienna on February 17, 2014, 12:01:03 PM
well I was like broken-hearted when I like wrote this lurv poem to my ex (the b*s*a*d) and I like wrote  it in like about like 5 minutes............

no personally I don't think this kind of "explanation" before a poem is neccessary.................
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on February 17, 2014, 12:01:43 PM
It kills a fair reading, right?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: cmb on February 17, 2014, 12:05:18 PM
I think, if a poem needs an explanation, it needs to be revised. Or binned - depending on how good/bad it was to begin with.

Sure, I don't mind if my readers don't understand exactly what I mean, or maybe even interpret my poem completely different from how I intended it to be. But it has to make sense to my readers of I haven't done my job.

It's that simple. And that hard.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: midnight candle on February 17, 2014, 12:50:08 PM
I think, if a poem needs an explanation, it needs to be revised. Or binned - depending on how good/bad it was to begin with.

Sure, I don't mind if my readers don't understand exactly what I mean, or maybe even interpret my poem completely different from how I intended it to be. But it has to make sense to my readers of I haven't done my job.

It's that simple. And that hard.

i remember a poem of yours that had so many things in it that i didn't understand, so i googled for info. for me that was entertaining and made the poem understandable. if you'd have told me, i may have just passed it by. so the fruits of research were rewarding.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on February 17, 2014, 12:57:49 PM
That's certainly a point, Candle -- what kind of knowledge base should the writer assume of his reader?  What is fair?  How much research by the reader should be expected as a matter of course?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: cmb on February 17, 2014, 01:05:14 PM
i remember a poem of yours that had so many things in it that i didn't understand, so i googled for info. for me that was entertaining and made the poem understandable. if you'd have told me, i may have just passed it by. so the fruits of research were rewarding.

Thanks, MC.  :)
I'm glad your research was rewarding.

Having said that, I think that is a bit of a flaw of mine. I tend to write about things that pretty uncommon. Mental illness, medical stuff, other shit that most ordinary people don't encounter on a daily basis, and I tend to forget that most of my readers don't have that kind of knowledge that I think is common - but really isn't.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on February 17, 2014, 01:37:36 PM
Sometimes the right title can help to put a complex piece in context upfront. Poems with blurb - I usually just pass without reading or maybe skim. MWC is readership based so there is a responsibility not to write and post here while doing LSD but no matter how carefully crafted, each reader will take something a little different out of it and some won't understand all of it. It's word-graffitti, ponder or hurry on by.    
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Vienna on February 17, 2014, 02:30:36 PM
If we all got the same meaning from the same piece of writing, it would be quite boring, don't you think? Wouldn't be anything to discuss.........
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on February 17, 2014, 03:20:27 PM
If we all got the same meaning from the same piece of writing, it would be quite boring, don't you think? Wouldn't be anything to discuss.........

It would be like. . . prose :o :o
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on February 17, 2014, 03:24:03 PM
It would be like. . . prose :o :o


You utter, utter . . . expletive deleted. :D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: midnight candle on February 17, 2014, 03:50:05 PM
what kind of knowledge base should the writer assume of his reader?

for me - anything goes. i've read poems on here that left me scratching my head, but at the same time the audible sound when i read it was just beautiful. so i'll do any amount of research if it opens it up a bit more. i'd rather do that for my own benefit than see a post clogged up with explanations that might kill it for me.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: cmb on February 17, 2014, 03:50:11 PM
If we all got the same meaning from the same piece of writing, it would be quite boring, don't you think? Wouldn't be anything to discuss.........

It would be like. . . prose :o :o

What's wrong with prose now?  ::)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: duck on February 17, 2014, 03:53:03 PM
If somethings has to be binned because the readers don't understand it, then much of great literature would never have seen the light of day - Joyce for example, who I loath, yet many consider him great. TS Eliot another. In writing a poem as in any art you need to know the audience you are aiming for and assume they will gain sense of it. That the broad mass might not get it can easily be assumed. Other good poetry might be just the ticket for a mass audience.
Duck
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Vienna on February 17, 2014, 04:06:09 PM
could be worse.could be verse.........although I am not averse to a bit of verse.or prose.I supprose...........
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Pale Writer on February 17, 2014, 04:06:53 PM
For me poetry has more freedom of movement. It is not only the words and their meanings which hold me, but their flow, rhythm and play on words. So I learn to appreciate all that. Of course the writing is important, the expanse of emotions. I can't compare it to prose, nor would I ever want to. Poetry is something I've always wanted to write well but my mind does not work well that way. I choose prose, but admire poetry.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on February 18, 2014, 09:15:59 AM
What's wrong with prose now?  ::)

Absolutely nothing, except, you know. . . it has cooties 8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: cmb on February 18, 2014, 01:33:11 PM
Cooties?  ::)

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on February 18, 2014, 01:50:07 PM
Cooties?  ::)



It's an advanced poetic term.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: cmb on February 18, 2014, 02:33:23 PM
It's an advanced poetic term.

Ah, thanks for enlightening me.  ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: intercat on February 18, 2014, 05:07:17 PM
I like explanations of poems (giving of my own or reading of others) after they've been initially posted and are in the editing stages, though sometimes it can be a fine line between explaining and defending.  I don't think it's necessary that either reader or writer is right or wrong, but say I read a poem and I just don't understand what the author is talking about, it can be hard to offer any actually constructive feedback, whereas with a bit of explanation it's easier for me to pinpoint what did or did not work for me personally and why.

Definitely agree that it should initially be presented alone -- giving preemptive explanations is a habit I broke myself of back in college classes, but it's been so many years since those classes, the insidious tendency to do so creeps back in.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on February 20, 2014, 06:19:40 AM
"Is it wrong to offer an explanation for our poems?"

 Wrong? No. But a poem should stand on is own, without gloss. As mentioned, I think we get a bit of wiggle room with the title. I've sometimes felt guilty for taking even that too far.

So, how important is it for you, as a poet, for people to understand your poem?

I want them to "get it". Understanding is a part. If a metaphor doesn't resound and an allusions is too arcane or specialized, then I failed. I already know what I'm going for. This is true for the structure, the sound, and the sense. It's not meaning alone that I'm trying to communicate, but I am certainly trying to communicate.

On the same token when you read poetry, how important is it for you to understand the poem?

Same boat here. I want to get what the poet was going for. that does not mean I can't appreciate elements in isolation, but I love it when a poem hits on all points and is musical, meaningful, and skillfully wrought.
 
And, if an explanation is either included originally or given later how do you feel about that?

I don't like it up front. It colors the initial read too much. I do enjoy it once I think I know the poem. But at that stage I would hope the conversation is akin to friends discussing an event they both experienced, or great movie they watched together. It shouldn't add to the poem itself. I just enjoy it.

Summing up, I don't think a poem should be accessible to everyone, but it should be accessible to someone. Otherwise, why bother.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on February 20, 2014, 06:42:49 AM

CP, that's well put and will surely resonate with many observers. Thanks for your contribution.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: leilani on February 27, 2014, 05:54:14 PM
 I don't think preambles to poetry are useful, unless absolutely necessary to the understanding of a word or phrase used. However, just about every writer's conference I've been to has the readers introducing their poems or what they're about to read and where it came from. I've appreciated this at times just to get a sense of the poet themselves but it does interfere with my ability to take my own sense and feel of the piece alone. I personally want to feel some impact from the poem, something strikes emotion or thoughts in myself about it. For me it isn't necessary that poetry has to be understood to be heard.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on February 27, 2014, 06:02:00 PM
I don't think preambles to poetry are useful, unless absolutely necessary to the understanding of a word or phrase used. However, just about every writer's conference I've been to has the readers introducing their poems or what they're about to read and where it came from. I've appreciated this at times just to get a sense of the poet themselves but it does interfere with my ability to take my own sense and feel of the piece alone. I personally want to feel some impact from the poem, something strikes emotion or thoughts in myself about it. For me it isn't necessary that poetry has to be understood to be heard.

Yep . . . and often in the introduction to poetry collections you come across the same thing. ::)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: drab on February 27, 2014, 09:43:38 PM
Here's a can of worms...don't rhyme.   :o
Us here only have so many words to do the things we want to do and get across the things we want to get across.
That's what I observe with rhyme. It restricts your vocabulary, and turns potentially wonderful poems into appallingly predictable....
 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on February 27, 2014, 10:19:56 PM
You may want to consider posting some sort of manifesto. It would prevent others who love the art and do not share your narrow and extremely restrictive view of what it is from wasting their limited time and words. Some are interested more in poetry than in being part of 'Us Here'.

You do younger writers a great disservice by presenting a single facet, no matter how beautiful, as the whole. To do so is to fail as mentor for the art you profess to love.

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: InterestedNewbie on February 27, 2014, 11:19:34 PM
Could you outline the importance of form and meter?
Does having a meter improve the poem?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on February 28, 2014, 11:49:21 AM
Drab didn't say you couldn't rhyme he just said what he himself has observed. If you stick around long enough you'll see it too.  ;)

Can contemporary rhyming poem be good? Sure they can, just look at some of Dylan di Vilde's poems in the Gallery. However it is really hard to do well. And when it's not done well it can be awful to read.

So often what the poet is trying to say gets lost because the lines get mangled, and new ideas fall victim to predictable word choices for no other reason than they have to rhyme.

If you want to write beautiful rhyming poetry, I applaud you, go for it. But that doesn't discount what drab said.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on February 28, 2014, 12:24:24 PM
In my view poetry that rhymes can be incredible.  Poetry written to traditional forms can be absolutely beautiful and unforgettable.  But the same goes for free verse. 

Its not the rhymes that make poems breathtaking.  Its great writing -- the ability to tell a story in a compelling manner, to convey an experience, to share a feeling, and to handle a metaphor, a simile, to speak symbolically, and perhaps to speak with some measure of sonic pleasantness, and maybe in a gentle rhythm.  If a writer can do that, and add internal rhymes, partial rhymes, slant rhymes, and vowel repeats, the narration can start to sound and feel a little like music.  For example, read some of Frost's blank verse - Birches would be a good start. 

Some of Frost's rhyming poems are incredible, my only point is that its the highly developed craft of writing that makes them incredible, not the end-rhymes.

Trying to do couplets and hit hard end-rhymes for them every time is the last place to start in trying to write poetry.  Us beginning writers need to learn the tools of writing poetry, and putting end-rhymes first is a wrong road.   
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on February 28, 2014, 07:48:50 PM
Could you outline the importance of form and meter?
Does having a meter improve the poem?

Let me answer your questions in reverse order.

Does having a meter improve the poem?

It depends on the poem. If your goal is a metrical poem then of course. If free verse, no, but it both case it is critical that you remain conscious of the syllabic arrangement of the words you are using and the impact on not only the music, but the meaning, and the emotional effect of your poem.

The effect of a series of unaccented followed by accented syllables is the same regardless of form. The same with successive accented ones. The former has a lazy almost conversational tone and the later communicates urgency, sometimes frivolity. This is true no matter of form. Thats only two examples, but I hope you see where it's going.

In traditional metrical verse there are standard patterns governing the effective use of these sound patterns. These patterns evolved as poets explored the most effective means of conveying their intention in pleasing manner. As rigid as these forms can seem, the best practitioners often deviate from the pattern at key points for effect. Think of accidentals in music.

Could you outline the importance of form and meter?

No. Not without writing a book. I will try and illustrate. First with a metrical poem:

Quote
No Bird - Theodore Roethke

Now here is peace for one who knew
The secret heart of sound.
The ear so delicate and true
Is pressed to noiseless ground.

Slow swings the breeze above her head,
The grasses whitely stir;
But in this forest of the dead
No bird awakens her.

Can you hear how the music has a delicacy that fits perfectly with the imagery and the theme of poem?  Its opens in iambic tetrameter,  followed by a trimeter. The pattern then repeats. It culminates in a sense of extreme gravity by the time we get to the last line where "No Bird" can almost be read as a spondee and then the 3 syllables of "awakens" rush to finality of "her".  Which is fitting since the poem is about the finality of her, the subject of the poem.

This is a very cursory look at a great poem deserves much better treatment, but I hope it helps.

Now for something completely different:

Quote
This is Just to Say - William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

This poem has been analyzed a bunch of ways. Some that  make it out to be some obscure reference to man's fall, or some form of repression. The whole forbidden fruit thing. I take it on face value. It's delightful. Everything does not have to be deep. But in any case, its structure an tone are whimsical.

This is no accident. Dr. Williams' use of line breaks and accents are brilliant. If you just beat the syllables out on a table they are a joy. Combine the sound and the form and it's easy to picture a man playfully teasing his wife about eating her plums. So again the words and the structure combine perfectly to convey the authors intent.

So at long last my point: Both of these poem are excellent examples of completely different styles. If you really want to understand the importance of the forms involved, try to apply their styles to each other:

Here peace is
For one
that loved
some music

or

As for the plums that were for you
I ate them and was feed
you planned to eat them very true
Once risen from your bed.

It really is about picking the style that best fits your voice or your intent at the time. Please forgive any technical inaccuracies, etc. I think the point should still be clear and its the best I can do without actually have to put work into it :P

If you are real interested:

http://www.amazon.com/Poetry-Handbook-Mary-Oliver/dp/0156724006/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393634775&sr=1-5&keywords=by+mary+oliver
http://www.amazon.com/Rules-Dance-Handbook-Writing-Metrical/dp/039585086X/ref=la_B000APELGO_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393634800&sr=1-9
http://www.amazon.com/Free-Verse-Charles-O-Hartman/dp/0810113163/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393634833&sr=1-1&keywords=free+verse+hartman
http://www.amazon.com/Poetic-Meter-Form-Paul-Fussell/dp/0075536064/ref=pd_sim_b_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=00C2J2P32Q7QH78QQ0QE

I can't believe that last one is $60. I bought mine for $5.25 25 years ago :P

 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on February 28, 2014, 07:54:25 PM
Good to see you still posting CP. B
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on February 28, 2014, 07:58:11 PM
I apologize for my earlier outburst. I rely have no agenda. I like this stuff. All of it. and it saddens me to see some of it summarily dismissed as useless.  
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on February 28, 2014, 07:59:44 PM
Holy crap CP!  That's a university level semester of poetry instruction!!

I'm working my way through Rules for the Dance currently, along with a couple of others.  I have a harder time with Mary Oliver's prosody essays than her splendid free verse.  But, such it is.

Anyone interested in the subject of this would do well to read it a couple of times, and then come back to it.

Well said.

T
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on February 28, 2014, 08:00:31 PM
Welcome back, now put some clothes on your avatar! :o :o :o :o :o :o
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on February 28, 2014, 08:07:24 PM
That little guy was going to star in a children's book of verse, but I kept getting all dark and broody.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: irallan on February 28, 2014, 08:20:45 PM
Thanks Heidi , as a total newbie to the world of poetry this has been helpful. I really enjoy poetry, though confess to understanding little of the complexities. I found myself needing to over explain and hence give more of myself than I would have liked. Perhaps here for instructional purposes a new poet may need to explain more so as to get proper feedback as to where they are coming from and what they want to achieve, but out in the public forum the poem I believe should stand alone without explanation. Most poetry ive seen unless your familiar with the poets life and history you don't get this insight. Remember many an argument with my English Lit teacher many years ago because I never got the sense of a poem as he did.

Iain
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on February 28, 2014, 09:29:07 PM
...
I'm working my way through Rules for the Dance currently, along with a couple of others.  I have a harder time with Mary Oliver's prosody essays than her splendid free verse.  But, such it is.

Anyone interested in the subject of this would do well to read it a couple of times, and then come back to it...

I'm not familiar with her poetry. I should kick myself. Going to correct ASAP.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: drab on February 28, 2014, 09:32:20 PM
Impressively argued. And yes, there are exceptional rhyming poems, but most of them send me to sleep. I dislike any form of imposed structure. Haiku is another form that leaves me cold. I could go on. But I'll end up insulting people who enjoy the disciplines and challenges involved in constructing them. I understand that art can be contemporary, and as such a particular form (like cubism) can appear to be like 'painting by numbers', but it is an evolution. When an ancient form like rhyme 'evolves' into a 'school', and countless books are written telling people how to create art I have to take exception. When any structure is imposed on art it becomes a craft. Of course there are certain restrictions in poetry; words should be used (not always) and an attempt to communicate is preferable.
Some might argue that by communicating within the constraints of poetry (words/lines/stanzas) I've already bought into the 'imposed structure' thing.
A painter needs a medium and something to adhere it to. After that he can decide to copy the past masters, or explore the possibilities. To me, free form poetry is a blank canvas; structured poetry is a canvas with shapes designed by others you are required to fill in. Poetry by numbers.
Just my opinion.  
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on February 28, 2014, 10:03:48 PM
Impressively argued. And yes, there are exceptional rhyming poems, but most of them send me to sleep. I dislike any form of imposed structure. Haiku is another form that leaves me cold. I could go on. But I'll end up insulting people who enjoy the disciplines and challenges involved in constructing them. I understand that art can be contemporary, and as such a particular form (like cubism) can appear to be like 'painting by numbers', but it is an evolution. When an ancient form like rhyme 'evolves' into a 'school', and countless books are written telling people how to create art I have to take exception. When any structure is imposed on art it becomes a craft. Of course there are certain restrictions in poetry; words should be used (not always) and an attempt to communicate is preferable.
Some might argue that by communicating within the constraints of poetry (words/lines/stanzas) I've already bought into the 'imposed structure' thing.
A painter needs a medium and something to adhere it to. After that he can decide to copy the past masters, or explore the possibilities. To me, free form poetry is a blank canvas; structured poetry is a canvas with shapes designed by others you are required to fill in. Poetry by numbers.
Just my opinion.  

Thanks drab. I actually agree in terms of preference. I like reading well crafted metered verse, but when I write I prefer free verse. I'm doing a little personal project and meter fits these little four liners nicely. That Faith thingy was a total reach for me. Anyway, most of stuff I really feel is free form.

I will say sometimes the exercise of trying to conform to a form forces some ingenuity that can turn out remarkably pleasing. This is essentially nerding out, but it's fun.
 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on February 28, 2014, 10:08:57 PM
Welcome back, now put some clothes on your avatar! :o :o :o :o :o :o

<---- Better?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on February 28, 2014, 11:43:30 PM
shirt, no pants? 8) 8)

silver pants?  That works ::)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on March 01, 2014, 05:21:48 AM
Interesting points raised and discussed. But I'm afraid you're all deceived. 'Rhyme,' especially of the 'hallmarked' (Hm) type, is 'the new way.' To be an excellent poet, (like what I are) you have to incorporate rhyme. Sorry but it had to be sed.  ;D


Great thread, Heidi. x
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 01, 2014, 08:38:21 AM
Rhyme time said the mime, and this:
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on March 01, 2014, 08:43:56 AM
 ;D@Tom
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on March 01, 2014, 05:58:19 PM
CorneliusPoe, most excellent explanation.  ;D

I think it would be great if other poets would post samples/examples of poetry they like (or not) to illustrate what they are discussing. Just be sure to credit the poet.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on March 06, 2014, 04:15:25 PM
This seemed like a likely place for these.

Below is a handful of links to freely available audio of poems and discussions of poetry. Much of it is poets reading their own works. It is by no means exhaustive, but definitely some good stuff.

http://hcl.harvard.edu/poetryroom/listeningbooth/index.cfm#
http://www.loc.gov/poetry/media/poetpoem.html
http://www.poets.org/audio.php
http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/home.do
http://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/listen-to-poetry
https://archive.org/details/audio_poetry
http://www.learnoutloud.com/Free-Audio-Video/Literature/Poetry

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 06, 2014, 04:33:50 PM
 Nice addition, CP.  Its too easy to forget that the heart of poetry has been its oral tradition.  I look forward to checking these out.

Here are my favorite poetic audios:


Gerard Manly Hopkins, I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHjvlauLrk8

Richard Burton, The Greatest Poem in the English Language
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDNCEp8Utjo


William Stafford, Scars:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYeoZ_9tMcQ



 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on March 06, 2014, 04:49:23 PM
Nice addition, CP.  Its too easy to forget that the heart of poetry has been its oral tradition.  I look forward to checking these out.

Here are my favorite poetic audios:


Gerard Manly Hopkins, I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHjvlauLrk8

Richard Burton, The Greatest Poem in the English Language
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDNCEp8Utjo


William Stafford, Scars:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYeoZ_9tMcQ



 

Thanks T. - I Just checked them out. Great stuff. I'm such an idiot. It never occurred to me that YouTube would be a resource. :P
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 06, 2014, 04:57:18 PM
Yeah, and I never thought of looking elsewhere.  Thanks for the list of so many places.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on March 08, 2014, 05:14:30 PM
I attended Purely Poetry's open mic night last night, very relaxed, informal affair where poets get a chance to do readings. Super supportive and responsive audience.

What struck me was how oral delivery can affect appreciation for the listener. Some were over performed [this wasn't a slam] and all the gesture distracted from the words. Others delivered their poems in a strange monotone I've often heard -- as if this is the way to read a poem. It was horrible and sucked the life from the words. I know using mic can be difficult, but even those who weren't close enough for the mic to impact on their delivery either read too fast or in the strange 'style' I've mentioned.

Others read work aloud which had never been voiced before -- fair enough we don't always have an audience, but a little rehearsal will let you hear where the sounds work or not, whether the run on, rather than the visual line break is more effective.

Just some thoughts. :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on March 19, 2014, 05:23:02 PM
Where do your poems come from?

Bri raised a question in one of the review threads that got me thinking. I had a recent family event and he ask if it sparked anything "poetic". Sadly It didn't, at least not yet. I'm wondering how others come to their poems. Do they spring to your mind whole or close to it? Do you plan them and set about work? I imagine each one is different.

Most of mine start with a line. I get it almost for free. I then set about trying to give it a home. Not a very poetic approach. I will say the end result sometimes leaves the original line off altogether. I also notice that these come mostly in the early AM when sleep is a little closer than rising.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on March 19, 2014, 05:28:13 PM
I'm just a dork. I don't know where the poems come from. I suspect they're usually the result of pondering whilst driving but how or why I feel the subject is worthy of a poem -- who knows? ::) It is worrying . . .  :-[
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on March 19, 2014, 05:33:37 PM
I'm just a dork. I don't know where the poems come from. I suspect they're usually the result of pondering whilst driving but how or why I feel the subject is worthy of a poem -- who knows? ::) It is worrying . . .  :-[

Damn it! I was hoping you were going to revel some secret. Here's to hoping someone else will give up their mojo. :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on March 19, 2014, 05:36:52 PM
Any time of the day or night, a phrase will come to me, and I'm compelled to ask its friends to accompany it. As I was just explaining to a friend in pm, I'll have the phrase buzzing in my head, until I get somewhere, that I can write it down. Then I start looking for something suitable to go with it. But sometimes (and these are rare) I'll be watching something on tv, and the words will come thick and fast, so I have to jot the words as soon as poss. This happened with The Jet-Set, and another (but I can't remember which one?).  Bri.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on March 19, 2014, 05:39:20 PM
Damn it! I was hoping you were going to revel some secret. Here's to hoping someone else will give up their mojo. :)

Like I've admitted before  . . . I'm really a prose writer who abuses the comforts of RMP to bounce ideas, find a way to create a more succinct image or to clear my head of 'stuff' which isn't appropriate for my novel but insists on bugging me and demands an outlet. ::)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on March 19, 2014, 05:42:02 PM
Billy Connolly said something similar.

Quote

" I don't know where the comedy comes from. I'm just happy to be here when it shows up."

unquote.

It's the same with the poetry, I feel. Bri.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on March 19, 2014, 06:01:14 PM
I get an idea of something and think of how I want to say it. Then I just play with words, letting them play, with my tongue or with each other or sometimes with themselves.  :o

Often they suggest others who want to join the party. My job is like a bouncer at an exclusive club. I let the right ones in. Or at least I try.
Title: Re: Poetic This! (a request)
Post by: CorneliusPoe on March 23, 2014, 01:06:16 PM
I'd love to see this thread become its own topic under Poet Corner. It would allow us a fuller realization of Heidi's idea for the thread and still avoid infringement on the review threads. I can imagine threads for favorite poems. Approaches to writing, etc. Similar to what we have for general writing but tailored to poetry. Just a thought.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 23, 2014, 05:30:53 PM
Where do your poems come from?

Bri raised a question in one of the review threads that got me thinking. I had a recent family event and he ask if it sparked anything "poetic". Sadly It didn't, at least not yet. I'm wondering how others come to their poems. Do they spring to your mind whole or close to it? Do you plan them and set about work? I imagine each one is different.

Most of mine start with a line. I get it almost for free. I then set about trying to give it a home. Not a very poetic approach. I will say the end result sometimes leaves the original line off altogether. I also notice that these come mostly in the early AM when sleep is a little closer than rising.
 I recognize the nail soup method.  I use it frequently, and with me as well, the nail almost always needs to come out before the soup is ready.  I think the crucial step is to initially get every thought onto paper (screen) without any interference from my inner censor.  Follow any whiff of thought, connection, leap.  I need to get down as much as I can from the first train of thought and its distributaries.  After that I can look at the notes for what may be worth pursuing poetically, and that's usually from whence a draft appears.  I have adopted Robert Frost's practice of calling what doesn't successfully become a poem a writing exercise. :)  
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on March 23, 2014, 05:42:49 PM
T.,

I was not familiar with the nail soup method till I read you comments and looked it up. Thanks.

Does anyone use mind mapping, either software or on paper? I recently started using a program called Scapple on the Mac for a larger project and am finding it remarkably helpful on a couple of longer poems. Just curious. Thanks.
Title: Re: Poetic This! (a request)
Post by: heidi52 on March 24, 2014, 05:38:50 AM
I'd love to see this thread become its own topic under Poet Corner. It would allow us a fuller realization of Heidi's idea for the thread and still avoid infringement on the review threads. I can imagine threads for favorite poems. Approaches to writing, etc. Similar to what we have for general writing but tailored to poetry. Just a thought.

I second that, if only because if you have something to post sometimes this thread is so far down on the list that you have to hunt for it. Would be nice if we could at least get it stickied so it remains on top.  Maybe a kindly mod will take pity on us . . .

Nail soup, eh? In my grandmother's version it was made with a stone. Same concept but we were so poor we couldn't afford a nail.  :D
Title: Re: Poetic This! (a request)
Post by: Amie on March 24, 2014, 01:27:29 PM
I second that, if only because if you have something to post sometimes this thread is so far down on the list that you have to hunt for it. Would be nice if we could at least get it stickied so it remains on top.  Maybe a kindly mod will take pity on us . . .

Nick isn't keen on having lots of stickies, as it reduces space on the front page for reviews.

You could bookmark the thread, so you don't have to go searching on the second page for it.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on April 12, 2014, 12:22:35 PM
Hi,

Neghe had a tremendous post: http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=52951.0
and there were some great responses.

I'm responding on this thread because I support this thread as the place for general poetry talks.

I am moved by Neghe's most excellent plea for the heart of poetry.  I can only read this as a statement of the goal of writing poetry, the exhortation to aim higher, dig deeper, write better.   Sadly, and with all due respect, I can’t accept any part of this as the definition of poetry.   And I agree that its absurd to try to pin it down.  I used to love to fashion definitions for all sorts of things, especially things like poetry.  It felt intellectual.  It made me feel smart and accomplished.  The problem, I found, was not so much how to fervently describe what I wanted to include, or to identify what by all rights needs to be included.  In retrospect I have come to believe that much of what constitutes great poetry is self-selecting, and for that no definition or criteria is demanded, merely lucid descriptions of what elbows its way into the blessed circle.  The problem with a definition of poetry, is the corresponding obligation to a willingness to declare what is not poetry.   I have little difficultly (conceptually) developing criteria and definitions and whatnot to identify ineffective writing.  But I balk at feeling either a need or a competency to distinguishing between poetry and non-poetry.  I shudder at the notion of holding up my self-devised (or self-approved) definitions to good writing and declaring this is not poetry.  Every notion I’ve ever held about what, definitively, is poetry, has fallen.  I expect that to continue to happen.  So, it seems this is no more than my appeal for bad poetry or at least modest poetry.  If poetry must be the purest, deepest, most blinding razor’s edge, then 99% of what we call poetry is in fact not.  99% of the folks we consider poets are in fact not.  And the 1% are the 1% perhaps only 1% of the time.  I’m not going to the mountain top with a megaphone for that, no way in hell. :)

There is the poem to put in our ears the ground-shaking roar of the lift-off of the Saturn V from Cape Kennedy sending Apollo 11 to the moon and forty-five years of reverberating history.  That would definitely be a poem, and while I would love to write it, I sincerely doubt it.  But that is not the only poetry.   I will also call poetry the sharing of the anxiety of a sub-contract designer of a trip-relay series installed on the command module who he sits at home with the head of his golden lab on his lap as both watch the launch on TV, and eat day old Cheetos.  And I will not exclude a brief description of the way the grass clippings clung to the dried watermelon-sticky between my fingers and the way the well water from the hose got colder that July afternoon when my now-deceased mother glistened with pride and awe as she described to me what she had just learned.  Or the time years later driving back from South Dakota, everyone else asleep, but me and my four year old, us talking about the moon landing.  A poem does not need to be WWIII or Jesus bleeding on the Cross or the moment of true enlightenment.  A poem can be a quiet talk between author and reader on the bank of some small creek winding nowhere, and meaning little.  If its shitty writing that’s one thing.  It does nobody a service to say what’s not a poem, though.  All just my ramblings.  Feel free to skip this if you want. 8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on April 12, 2014, 12:45:07 PM

Tom, this is a good poem. Thanks for posting.

Hi,

Neghe had a tremendous post: http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=52951.0
and there were some great responses.

I'm responding on this thread because I support this thread as the place for general poetry talks.

I am moved by Neghe's most excellent plea for the heart of poetry.  I can only read this as a statement of the goal of writing poetry, the exhortation to aim higher, dig deeper, write better.   Sadly, and with all due respect, I can’t accept any part of this as the definition of poetry.   And I agree that its absurd to try to pin it down.  I used to love to fashion definitions for all sorts of things, especially things like poetry.  It felt intellectual.  It made me feel smart and accomplished.  The problem, I found, was not so much how to fervently describe what I wanted to include, or to identify what by all rights needs to be included.  In retrospect I have come to believe that much of what constitutes great poetry is self-selecting, and for that no definition or criteria is demanded, merely lucid descriptions of what elbows its way into the blessed circle.  The problem with a definition of poetry, is the corresponding obligation to a willingness to declare what is not poetry.   I have little difficultly (conceptually) developing criteria and definitions and whatnot to identify ineffective writing.  But I balk at feeling either a need or a competency to distinguishing between poetry and non-poetry.  I shudder at the notion of holding up my self-devised (or self-approved) definitions to good writing and declaring this is not poetry.  Every notion I’ve ever held about what, definitively, is poetry, has fallen.  I expect that to continue to happen.  So, it seems this is no more than my appeal for bad poetry or at least modest poetry.  If poetry must be the purest, deepest, most blinding razor’s edge, then 99% of what we call poetry is in fact not.  99% of the folks we consider poets are in fact not.  And the 1% are the 1% perhaps only 1% of the time.  I’m not going to the mountain top with a megaphone for that, no way in hell. :)

There is the poem to put in our ears the ground-shaking roar of the lift-off of the Saturn V from Cape Kennedy sending Apollo 11 to the moon and forty-five years of reverberating history.  That would definitely be a poem, and while I would love to write it, I sincerely doubt it.  But that is not the only poetry.   I will also call poetry the sharing of the anxiety of a sub-contract designer of a trip-relay series installed on the command module who he sits at home with the head of his golden lab on his lap as both watch the launch on TV, and eat day old Cheetos.  And I will not exclude a brief description of the way the grass clippings clung to the dried watermelon-sticky between my fingers and the way the well water from the hose got colder that July afternoon when my now-deceased mother glistened with pride and awe as she described to me what she had just learned.  Or the time years later driving back from South Dakota, everyone else asleep, but me and my four year old, us talking about the moon landing.  A poem does not need to be WWIII or Jesus bleeding on the Cross or the moment of true enlightenment.  A poem can be a quiet talk between author and reader on the bank of some small creek winding nowhere, and meaning little.  If its shitty writing that’s one thing.  It does nobody a service to say what’s not a poem, though.  All just my ramblings.  Feel free to skip this if you want. 8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on April 12, 2014, 12:55:13 PM
Tom, this is a good poem. Thanks for posting.


Mark, I get the irony of your statement. 8)
I just hope its not shitty writing.

T
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on April 12, 2014, 01:21:24 PM
Quote
The problem with a definition of poetry, is the corresponding obligation to a willingness to declare what is not poetry.

T. Your entire response is excellent. The line above belongs in text books.

Thanks to Neghe, again for raising the topic.

With all due respect I think a single thread is insufficient to the task of in depth poetry discussion. A separate board on the same level as the other two would be much better and preserve the desire to keep the daily poems for review up at the top.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on April 12, 2014, 02:26:09 PM
Excellent response Tom. When I read Neghe's original post I too thought it belonged here.

This thread in it's present form is the best we've got. It's been explained many times that it's not how the forum is structured and they don't want to make an exception.. Their ball, their rules. We can live with that. If you see a general discussion item, redirect it here. It will ensure it comes to the top frequently  :D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Neghe on April 12, 2014, 11:15:27 PM
 And the 1% are the 1% perhaps only 1% of the time.  I’m not going to the mountain top with a megaphone for that, no way in hell. :)

..."and the crux of the biscuit is the apostrophe." --Frank Zappa.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Neghe on April 12, 2014, 11:22:35 PM
Excellent response Tom. When I read Neghe's original post I too thought it belonged here.

This thread in it's present form is the best we've got. It's been explained many times that it's not how the forum is structured and they don't want to make an exception.. Their ball, their rules. We can live with that. If you see a general discussion item, redirect it here. It will ensure it comes to the top frequently  :D

My thread is in it's own place because it is a poem. And has a direction of its own: which will become clear as it goes along. People can discuss certain aspects of it as they see fit however, it is an on-going item. So, it would be nice if people would refrain from trying to force everything into the same box.

Respectfully, Nee.
 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on April 13, 2014, 07:46:57 AM
Quote
. . . it would be nice if people would refrain from trying to force everything into the same box.

By "people" you must mean me.8)   Feel free to say so.

A thousand apologies, Neghe.  No offense intended.  I made no attempt to move your thread or otherwise disturb it.  I thought my response  might look like a hijacking of your thread, which I didn't want to do, so I posted my "general theory of poetry" discussion response on the thread established for that type of conversation.

While I saw your original post as passionate, creative, and very well written, forgive me that I did not recognize it as a "poem".  Ironic, huh?

I will watch with interest to see how your poem unfolds.

 :)
T    
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on April 13, 2014, 09:09:36 AM
Neghe, your poem started the discusssion, but it was that discussion that we wanted to bring here. That way we could make the conversation about more than just your poem. Does that make sense? No one was trying to say you should have posted your poem here.

I think the confusion arises because I couldn't tell the difference between your poem and an essay, and I think I'm not the only one.

I'm not saying that's wrong or it's not a poem, but when you make a poem look like something else you can't be surprised if readers don't recognize it.

So back to the topic: Is there a difference and how do you tell the difference between prose and a prose-poem like we have been seeing here lately?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on April 13, 2014, 09:28:25 AM
oceandune's first poem reintroduced me to the breadth of intentional prosey poemish writings in the form of Baudelaire's writing.  And to be honest, there are sections of Robert Penn Warren's All The King's Men that feel like prose poem paragraphs, one after the other.  While sounding like prose, his writing can draw deeply from the poet's toolbox. 

There's no bright line between prose and poetry.  The more a piece of writing utilizes symbolism, metaphor, simile, allegory, cadence, meter, rhythm, rhyme, assonance, the more its going to look like a poem.  There are the visual features of a poem as well, that prose generally makes no attempt to use.

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on April 13, 2014, 12:00:18 PM

Grammatical elements are increasingly a component of modern poetry, almost to the point where poems can be categorised as GC or non grammatically correct in a PC kind of way. It's not a bad thing because it improves communication and therefore allows for greater access and deeper topic exploration. The flip side is the criticism that this is merely choppy purple prose, which then draws us into the debate of prose/prosy/poetry-prose/poetry and what defines poetry. I suggest one can't decide on the basis of the actual written content because this is an individual art form where subjective judgement and disagreement rule. In prose there are no enjambments and white space is a no-no. I recently read a debate about whether full stops in prose should have one or two spaces after them but that's about as crazy as it gets in prose. So i suggest that it can be enjambments/line length/white space that can be used as a universal decider between prose and poetry - regardless of form, style, content etc - those are the determinants of whether it is good or bad poetry but non-prose white space can be instantly recognisable as the marker flag that this is a poetry attempt. It's not perfect but is easy as a mass definition before one even reads the content. Pretty simple and straight-forward really.

Grammatical elements
are increasingly a component
of modern poetry, almost to the point
where poems can be categorised as GC
or non grammatically correct in a PC kind of way.

It's not a bad thing because
it improves communication and
therefore allows for greater access
and deeper topic exploration. The flip side
is the criticism that this is
merely choppy purple prose,
which then draws us into the debate
of prose/prosy/poetry-prose/poetry
and what defines poetry.

I suggest one can't decide
on the basis of the actual written content
because this is an individual art form
where subjective judgement
and disagreement rule. In prose
there are no enjambments and
white space is a no-no. I recently read
a debate about whether full stops
in prose
should have one or two spaces after them
but that's about as crazy as it gets in prose.

So i suggest
that it can simply be
enjambments/line length/white space
that can be used as a universal decider
between prose and poetry –
regardless of form, style, content etc –
those are the determinants
of whether it is good or bad poetry -
but non-prose white space
can be instantly recognisable
as the marker flag that this
is a poetry attempt. It's not perfect
but is easy as a mass definition
before one even reads the content.

Pretty simple and straight-forward really.         
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on April 13, 2014, 12:12:57 PM
Mark,

I like your attempt -- if it looks like a poem it must be a poem :)  It's a direct, clear definition that leaves no strings.  However attractive that part is, I disagree with the position.  While space can often be used to great effect in good poetry, for too many years I made the serious mistake of believing the return key can create poetic moments.  I've learned its not true.  If I can't bring a metaphor to maturity, or put words together to speak in unison, sing, whisper, cry, no amount of bad line breaks is going to cure that.  The other thing is I'm not prepared to declare things that don't look vertical to not be poems. 8)  

just my opinion.

T
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Neghe on April 13, 2014, 12:39:09 PM
Neghe, your poem started the discusssion, but it was that discussion that we wanted to bring here. That way we could make the conversation about more than just your poem. Does that make sense? No one was trying to say you should have posted your poem here.

I think the confusion arises because I couldn't tell the difference between your poem and an essay, and I think I'm not the only one.

I'm not saying that's wrong or it's not a poem, but when you make a poem look like something else you can't be surprised if readers don't recognize it.

So back to the topic: Is there a difference and how do you tell the difference between prose and a prose-poem like we have been seeing here lately?

By the use of common poetic techniques and devices (the obvious one being rhyme) to put forth the content.

Here is a brief article on Prose Poetry.
http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5787
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Neghe on April 13, 2014, 12:43:00 PM
By "people" you must mean me.8)   Feel free to say so.  

No. I did not mean you in particular...I meant/mean "people".

The best evidence for what we are saying is fond in the words that we are saying.   
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on April 13, 2014, 01:00:56 PM
By the use of common poetic techniques and devices (the obvious one being rhyme) to put forth the content.

Here is a brief article on Prose Poetry.
http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5787

I read the link.

I'm still not convinced. It seems that 'prose poetry' is simply a piece of prose written with poetic elements that lets the piece escape conventional categorisation as a story, instruction manual, creative non-fiction or whatever else regular prose might be.

For people who have been exposed to poetry in the English curriculum in schools, they may have come across a couple of pieces of prose poetry [though I never did] but the bulk of the poems they see are traditionally presented. This then influences what they believe a poem to be. The prose poem is soon forgotten in among the abundance of traditional poems.

I think a prose poem isolates many people from experiencing poetry as it reads, for many people, as simply a piece of prose with added value, which would seldom be found in most prose pieces. To my mind it is elitist and makes 'regular' [ignorant] readers confused. Does someone who picks up a piece of writing have to be able to distinguish between all the finer points of what constitutes poetry to be able to understand it? At least many of the form structure poems, even if the layman is unfamiliar with the restraints, can read them as 'poems' and appreciate the various techniques employed because of their layout.

I much prefer 'found' poetry -- where passages of prose, unintentionally come across as poetic. A surprising amount of this is in scientific journals.

I'm just confused . . . and unwilling to accept the sitting on the fence style of writing. It's one thing or it's another. It can be appreciated as a rich, lyrical piece of prose [or some other poem-y word] but its purpose is either to inform/educate [such as the scientific pieces] or to entertain [as in fiction writing]. And yes, poetry can do all those things which prose does -- but in the form of a poem. If it has no 'form', well . . .  ::)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on April 13, 2014, 01:11:22 PM

Not about the merits of white space in poetry. If something has no white space and is written in prose form, it should be regarded as prose until proven otherwise. 

Mark,

I like your attempt -- if it looks like a poem it must be a poem :)  It's a direct, clear definition that leaves no strings.  However attractive that part is, I disagree with the position.  While space can often be used to great effect in good poetry, for too many years I made the serious mistake of believing the return key can create poetic moments.  I've learned its not true.  If I can't bring a metaphor to maturity, or put words together to speak in unison, sing, whisper, cry, no amount of bad line breaks is going to cure that.  The other thing is I'm not prepared to declare things that don't look vertical to not be poems. 8)  

just my opinion.

T
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on April 13, 2014, 01:29:52 PM
I agree that the return bar does not make a poem.

But . . . if it's a piece of prose -- give it context, make it a story or social commentary, whatever. Put the work in. Micro-fiction and Flash Fiction are accepted short story styles.

If it is a poem, then do the work and make it a poem with appropriate use of devices. ::)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on April 13, 2014, 02:04:09 PM
I agree that the return bar does not make a poem.

But . . . if it's a piece of prose -- give it context, make it a story or social commentary, whatever. Put the work in. Micro-fiction and Flash Fiction are accepted short story styles.

If it is a poem, then do the work and make it a poem with appropriate use of devices. ::)

Exactly!  Learn and use the tools and devices of good writing!  I agree a thousand percent - prose or poetry. 8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Neghe on April 13, 2014, 02:09:41 PM
I agree that the return bar does not make a poem.

But . . . if it's a piece of prose -- give it context, make it a story or social commentary, whatever. Put the work in. Micro-fiction and Flash Fiction are accepted short story styles.

If it is a poem, then do the work and make it a poem with appropriate use of devices. ::)

Sio...you are arguing format not device or technique. What you are saying is that a poem is a poem because of the way it is presented. How it looks on a page. Not the way it sounds.

I am not advocating any format over another. Indeed I rarely use the Prose form--usually it's a mix of one form of structured verse and free verse.
  
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on April 13, 2014, 02:25:39 PM
Possibly so because that is how most lay readers will judge a piece -- by its appearance. What they discover within that format is up to them but at least it has given them a hint what to expect.

I believe it's a nit-picky subjective issue. If poetic devices and elements are used in prose, thus making prose poetry, does that then lead to banning prose devices in poems to make them 'poetic'? The argument doesn't hold. Like I said earlier -- its one thing or another and the writer should put in the effort to make it clear which it is -- a piece of prose or a poem. Speeches are full of rhetoric and other poetic devices, but I doubt they'd ever be classed as prose poems. It seems to me that #prose poems# are passages that don't belong anywhere else because the writer is too lazy to make them what they should be.

They are word strings and how they appear will classify them as one thing or another. In prose the appearance of bullet marks suggests a list and probably therefore a non-fiction piece.

We can't stop people putting their own interpretation on things or alter their general expectations and appearance is a strong influence. JMO . . . and remember I have always said I am a prose writer who sneaks in here to play with words in a way prose doesn't allow. I know a little bit but not much and I'd hate to have to be a scholar, au fait with all the different techniques and history to pick up a piece of writing and appreciate it for what it is. :-[
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on April 13, 2014, 03:06:13 PM

I now suggest we all think about going and writing a poem.  :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on April 13, 2014, 03:07:48 PM
Says the man who isn't even playing NaPo. ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on April 13, 2014, 03:15:17 PM

What's naPo?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on April 13, 2014, 03:18:08 PM
http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=52783.0

NaPoWriMo . . . National Poetry Writing Month -- poetry's equivalent to NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month done in November] A poem a day for the month of April. ;)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on April 13, 2014, 03:21:20 PM

Thanks for exp. Poem a day? Pass...
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Neghe on April 13, 2014, 03:35:06 PM
Wow...you are calling some pretty high powered poets lazy, Sio.

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/22781

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15878

These two Wordsworths, arguably some say stretched of the sonnet form so far that it punched through the convention (of that time) and created a new form--the Prose Poem.

For contrast--a clear Prose sort of poem from Charles Baudelaire:

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/16054

And one from Gertrude Stein: listen to the recording.

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/20467

These are poems. Regardless of formatting.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on April 14, 2014, 06:47:59 AM
Maybe I am -- told you I wasn't a poet, haven't read as much as I perhaps ought to. I like to read poetry for enjoyment, not study it.

That's my opinion -- and I still see no good reason to change it.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on April 14, 2014, 07:23:43 AM
Poetry is an act and a poem is a recording of that act. Like dance, it uses the movements and rhythms of every day. The only tangible distinction between poetry and prose is intent. It can't be the use of metaphor or compressed speech: "Johnny is a bright child", 'I'm in a blue mood" -  Doe's the kid shine?  Is there something I want people to know about my complexion?  It can't be the medium. It predates paper. Poems continue to be long or short, lyrical or rough, profound or playful. The distinction again is intent, both the poet's and that belonging to the audience. The stage on which it's presented comes into play.

To me a poet is a blind man fishing with chop-sticks. By telling you that did I write you a poem? It's just as easily a strong man swinging a hammer. Trying to pin it down is pointless.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on April 14, 2014, 07:34:11 AM
The oral tradition -- yep, stories, songs, proclamations, dramas, all before paper. And many early poems were easy to recall because of the rhyme, repetition and 'sounds' therein, as well as the memorable pictures they created.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on April 14, 2014, 08:12:13 AM

It's a good point about the oral tradition. For the literary form,  I stick to my guns about the white space criterion if we want to make a general-agreement distinction - otherwise it's all just plankton-opinion. 
Title: Eris
Post by: Mark T on April 15, 2014, 12:10:42 PM

In the beginning, the first principle was Time – Cronus.
Cronus produced Chaos, symbolizing the infinite, and Ether, symbolizing the finite. By the action of Ether, Chaos was surrounded by Night the envelope, and cosmic matter was organized into the shape of an enormous egg with Night as the shell. Within the egg, there was the vault of the sky and the ground below.

The first being was Thanes – the Light - who in union with Night created Heaven and Earth.

Under the reign of Cronus, the work of creation continued. Night gave birth to Doom, to black Ker, to Death, to Sleep and his retinue of Dreams, and to the bantering Gaiety of Momus, and to the wailing Misery of Oizus, and the Hesperides who guarded the golden apples beyond the Ocean.
Then came the Fates – Clotho, Lachosis and Atropis the mortal with his share of good and evil.

Nemesis, mortal fear, was born of Night and so too Fraud, Incontinence, Old Age and Strife – Eris.

From Eris came Sorrow, Forgetfulness, Hunger, Disease, Combat, Battles, Massacres, Quarrels, Lies, Equivocations, Injustices and Oaths.
Title: Re: Eris
Post by: Mark T on April 15, 2014, 12:11:42 PM

This piece is further to the Poetic This! discussion on poetry, prose and poetry-prose. I was/am in the opposing camp to Neghe et al but decided to hop the fence and check the view from that side, for interest’s sake. (By my criterion it is poetry because there is a little bit of non-prose white space to maintain integrity.) Anyone wanting to chop the lines is welcome to do so.
The content… came out of an analysis of Tom’s Goodnight, Pluto piece and focuses on Eris, all thanks to my oracle. Any mistakes in the Orphic cosmogony are mine. Now if you’ll excuse the hasty posting, I’m off to a neighbour for spaghetti and brandy - Lawd help me.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Amie on April 15, 2014, 01:08:39 PM
Where is this poem of Neghe's that you are referring to?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Neghe on April 15, 2014, 02:18:49 PM

You found it.  :P

Title: Re: Eris
Post by: Biola on April 15, 2014, 02:48:55 PM
 ;D ;D ;D ;DLawd help me, I think you need a lecture on the ODU opus of my religion and I could you a few sleepless nights. it is okay though I will simply invite ESU to tease you cockles and string out for Obatala's pleasure. I am not jumping any fence by the way just having fun ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
biola
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on April 15, 2014, 03:17:41 PM
Where is this poem of Neghe's that you are referring to?

http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=52951.0

it's the prose poem,

one that started the discussion here so that we could talk about more instead of hijacking the thread.
Title: Re: Eris
Post by: Mark T on April 15, 2014, 03:40:43 PM

Hi Biola, it's all greek to me
Title: Re: Eris
Post by: CorneliusPoe on April 15, 2014, 03:49:12 PM
Hi Biola, it's all greek to me
:)

Don't know what to make of the original. Maybe an new art form, the discordant data dump.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on April 16, 2014, 07:09:06 PM
Some other points discussed in this old thread. ;)

http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=11003.0
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on April 16, 2014, 10:37:19 PM
God the Irish are smart . . . even way back. ;D http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/lfic/lfic088.htm

 . . . Seanchan and his companions, having their proper faculties now restored, were ordered by the saint to disperse, and never again oppress or annoy king or chief by visitations in a large body, extravagant demands, or unlawful use of the terrible powers of satire. Evil usages and principles seem possessed, of surprising vitality. Kings, and chiefs, and common men--even rats (if legends tell truth)--feared satire in the sixth century when St. Kiaran ruled Clonmacnois. So late as 1800, poetic satirists by profession had free bed and board in the provinces among the gentry and farmers, by whom a lampoon for stinginess or some domestic scandal was very much dreaded.

The subjoined historical tale is worth giving in outline, as illustrating the fear of satire which prevailed long ago among Irish kings, as well as other characteristic specialities of Irish life at the dawn of the Christian era:--
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on April 17, 2014, 09:06:42 AM
God the Irish are smart . . . even way back. ;D http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/lfic/lfic088.htm

 . . . Seanchan and his companions, having their proper faculties now restored, were ordered by the saint to disperse, and never again oppress or annoy king or chief by visitations in a large body, extravagant demands, or unlawful use of the terrible powers of satire. Evil usages and principles seem possessed, of surprising vitality. Kings, and chiefs, and common men--even rats (if legends tell truth)--feared satire in the sixth century when St. Kiaran ruled Clonmacnois. So late as 1800, poetic satirists by profession had free bed and board in the provinces among the gentry and farmers, by whom a lampoon for stinginess or some domestic scandal was very much dreaded.

The subjoined historical tale is worth giving in outline, as illustrating the fear of satire which prevailed long ago among Irish kings, as well as other characteristic specialities of Irish life at the dawn of the Christian era:--


Sure, like I needed something else to read ;)  Thanks for the introduction to this, Sio. It's fascinating.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: duck on April 17, 2014, 11:08:47 AM
Hi I generally have little interest in technical matters and discussions of what is this and what is that but have two thoughts:
surely white space is a tool or technique not a definition of something. Secondly, Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and 4 long poems. What makes his poems poems and his plays plays when he used pretty much the same techniques for both. I could add I suppose why do so many people confuse verse with poetry?
The essential question for me about the Eris piece revolves more around the fact that it was for me a long uninteresting list reminiscent of the most mindnumbing passages of Lord of the Rings and thus if poetry pretty dreary and dull white spaces or not. As it is I wouldn't call it a poem.
Oh dear another thought comes to me: recently the BBC did a radio play on the war in Afghanistan called Pink Mist, which hoever they referred to as a poem. I could not really grasp why. Was good though.
Dave
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on May 19, 2014, 05:26:33 PM
I find poetry a helpful tool for my prose because it makes me focus on every word being used for its sound value, its meaning and how it affects the rhythm of the phrase. Short, sharp hard words are ideal for gritty scenes and languorous, soft vowels with feminine sounds add smoothness to a passage where I want the reader to glide rather than jolt through the action described. Being aware of metaphor is useful for reinforcing a theme in a piece of prose and helps me home in on covert motifs I can embed into the writing for subliminal messages. Not that I’m subversive or manipulative at all . . .  The tone of the writing has to reflect the genre and the character’s mood and once again, poetry is fabulous for either a zoom close or a panoramic shot to capture the picture I hope will convey my intended meaning. :-[ ::)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on May 19, 2014, 05:33:55 PM
I find poetry a helpful tool for my prose because it makes me focus on every word being used for its sound value, its meaning and how it affects the rhythm of the phrase. Short, sharp hard words are ideal for gritty scenes and languorous, soft vowels with feminine sounds add smoothness to a passage where I want the reader to glide rather than jolt through the action described. Being aware of metaphor is useful for reinforcing a theme in a piece of prose and helps me home in on covert motifs I can embed into the writing for subliminal messages. Not that I’m subversive or manipulative at all . . .  The tone of the writing has to reflect the genre and the character’s mood and once again, poetry is fabulous for either a zoom close or a panoramic shot to capture the picture I hope will convey my intended meaning. :-[ ::)

Perfect description. Well said. Planxty Shvon. xbx
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: lan on May 20, 2014, 12:52:28 AM
I too have to agree with Sio. Poetry is a kind of concentrated elixir of rhythm and sound. When I write prose I add some of that elixir, the amount may vary depending on the intensity of the moment but I always pay attention to step and alliteration. Thinking of poetry when I'm writing prose gives me a better sense of overall form.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on May 20, 2014, 01:10:54 AM

Good morning Ian.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: JewelAS53 on May 20, 2014, 02:00:11 AM
I consciously find poetry helpful to my prose because it has become the outlet for my propensity for long words  ;D

I must subconsciously be finding poetry helpful to my prose because my test readers tell me it is obvious that every word is chosen with care. (Even the little ones  ;))
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: lan on May 20, 2014, 02:19:32 AM
Good morning Ian.

Heya Mark
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on May 20, 2014, 07:27:48 AM
In my hands, prose is a knife and poetry is a scalpel.  Unlike many of you I'm not a prose writer, at least not a creative one. I've done a fair amount of technical writing, but always considered it an occupational hazard.

I find when I write prose, even on this forum, I want to qualify every utterance. I end up using far too many words. I know it can be done well, just not by me.

Poetry is the ultimate word game and when we do it right, we get to make music. When we really do it right, somebody out there recognizes the tune.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on May 20, 2014, 08:09:02 AM

Some interesting comments from Sio on down there. I (and others!) found my early prose writing to be somewhat florid. I've since learned to mix up dialogue and narrative in a lean active voice but every now and then, few and far between really, I'll sneak in some shady purple description. Given the minimal context, does this fly under the radar?

Gert showed Basher around the house. It was impressively large, comfortably furnished and well-appointed. Double-storied at the back and triple in the front if one counted the double volume living room above the quadruple garage. A large deck with another built-in barbeque afforded a panoramic view over a placid green ocean.
 ‘Very nice,’ said Basher without envy. ‘And this is all thanks to chilli sauce?’
 Gert chuckled. ‘Ja, there are five bedrooms all en-suite and a guest cottage at the back of the pool. But my house in Jo’burg is even bigger.’
 Basher shook his head. They leaned on the railing and gazed out to sea, an onshore breeze brushing their faces. The glazed afternoon framed a cloud-frosted sky that fell to the blurred horizon as lumpy waves collapsing on the hidden shore played bass to the trill shrieks of winnowing seagulls. Sparse verdure along the humped dunes rippled in secret patterns and the air was salted with a briny tang.
 ‘So how’s the fishing here?’ asked Basher.
 ‘I don’t fish. But I hear it can be good.’
 ‘Do you surf? Windsurf? Jetski?’
 ‘No, no, I play golf but I just like to be near the ocean, you know?’
 Basher didn’t. The beach and ocean were okay but he preferred crisp mountain air and wooded hillsides, hopefully without any golf courses nearby.
 Basher sighed. ‘Yah, I know what you mean.’

 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on May 20, 2014, 08:32:09 AM
Some interesting comments from Sio on down there. I (and others!) found my early prose writing to be somewhat florid. I've since learned to mix up dialogue and narrative in a lean active voice but every now and then, few and far between really, I'll sneak in some shady purple description. Given the minimal context, does this fly under the radar?

Gert showed Basher around the house. It was impressively large, comfortably furnished and well-appointed. Double-storied at the back and triple in the front if one counted the double volume living room above the quadruple garage. A large deck with another built-in barbeque afforded a panoramic view over a placid green ocean.
 ‘Very nice,’ said Basher without envy. ‘And this is all thanks to chilli sauce?’
 Gert chuckled. ‘Ja, there are five bedrooms all en-suite and a guest cottage at the back of the pool. But my house in Jo’burg is even bigger.’
 Basher shook his head. They leaned on the railing and gazed out to sea, an onshore breeze brushing their faces. The glazed afternoon framed a cloud-frosted sky that fell to the blurred horizon as lumpy waves collapsing on the hidden shore played bass to the trill shrieks of winnowing seagulls. <<< this bit felt a bit heavy, especially when the next sentence is quite loaded too. ;) Might work if you broke it up into separate images/actions. Sparse verdure along the humped dunes rippled in secret patterns and the air was salted with a briny tang.
 ‘So how’s the fishing here?’ asked Basher.
 ‘I don’t fish. But I hear it can be good.’
 ‘Do you surf? Windsurf? Jetski?’
 ‘No, no, I play golf but I just like to be near the ocean, you know?’
 Basher didn’t. The beach and ocean were okay but he preferred crisp mountain air and wooded hillsides, hopefully without any golf courses nearby.
 Basher sighed. ‘Yah, I know what you mean.’

 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on May 20, 2014, 08:55:46 AM

Probably won't believe me but just goes to show, I swear that that was two sentences and then as i was prepping the post I made it into a composite. S'true's bob.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on May 20, 2014, 02:56:37 PM
When you read things back -- check for conjunctions and prepositions, they're usually pretty good at flagging up sentences which could be independent. Also 'that'  and 'of' can often go without affecting the phrase sense . ;)

The glazed afternoon framed a cloud-frosted sky that fell to the blurred horizon as lumpy waves collapsing on the hidden shore played bass to the trill shrieks of winnowing seagulls.

The glazed afternoon framed a cloud-frosted sky. It fell to the blurred horizon. Lumpy waves collapsed on the hidden shore. They played bass to the winnowing seagulls' trilled shrieks.  <--- choppy, but shows where you might make some seamless joins. And with the breaks providing breaths, it doesn't sound as overwritten though much of the same phrasing is used. Now, for variety you can have the following sentence with its softer, more languid expression.

The glazed afternoon framed a cloud-frosted sky. It fell to the blurred horizon. Lumpy waves collapsed on the hidden shore. They played bass to the winnowing seagulls' trilled shrieks. Sparse verdure along the humped dunes rippled in secret patterns and the air was salted with a briny tang.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on May 20, 2014, 03:47:08 PM

Thank you, Sio... going back to fixing tractors now.  :(
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on May 20, 2014, 04:24:17 PM
Thank you, Sio... going back to fixing tractors now.  :(

Wish you'd let me know you were as into Tractors as I am Mark. I used to go to all the 'shows.' I was fanatical about them in my youth. I don't get much chance these days, as I'm a bit older. I suppose you could say I'm an
'ex-tractor-fan.'

(sorry for the slight seg and equally awful attempt at humour)  ;D

Bri.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on June 14, 2014, 09:12:06 PM
Fantastic article: http://www.literaturewales.org/creative-writing/i/134603/
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on June 14, 2014, 09:54:54 PM
Fun Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQZJJON1m9o
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on June 16, 2014, 08:40:29 AM
Nice links CP 8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on June 17, 2014, 09:38:04 PM
Another useful resource:

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/570/03/
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on June 25, 2014, 07:15:34 PM
Pnokio's recent poem generating some interesting discussion about capitalization, punctuation, and grammar in poetry. I thought instead of further hijacking his thread and distracting from his most excellent poem we could continue here.

I have no strong feeling. I almost wish there were hard and fast rules. It would free me from figuring it out each time. I think the poet has to trust his/her gut. The question to me is always does this add to or distract from communicating the sound or sense of the poem. Thoughts?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on June 25, 2014, 07:19:11 PM
Ok. Take it a little step further. If he's not going to use caps where they usually go, then why bother with the periods in the same way? Why not make the reader put the pauses where the reader sees fit? It's the same thing innit? It's either both periods and periods or neither, surely? B
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on June 25, 2014, 07:35:54 PM
Don't know. I was asking you. :P I'm sincere in asking and would love to hear what people think and why. "Cause that's how it is" is not an answer.

Out of curiosity. I took a random and completely nonscientific look at some poems at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/ and they seemed pretty evenly divided between complete initial caps and 'proper' sentence style caps. So no help there.

Again, not picking a fight. I'm honestly curious. I can see the argument for the standard grammatical approach. I can't see how it excludes a different approach. For instance, I just posted something that by standard grammatical rules should includes quotation marks. I tried them. I felt they hurt the poem. My capitalization and other punctuation are standard. One could ask if I went so far, why not all the way. I don't have an answer. The quotes felt wrong and I left them off. The content makes it very clear what is happening (at least I hope it does). So I don't think they served a purpose other than to meet a standard. Standards are means, not ends. Most of the time they are good means and that's how they got to be standard, but they are not the ends. Just an opinion. I think it's a fascinating topic.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on June 25, 2014, 11:57:54 PM
Okay, you all know that I rarely post on the poetry boards, so take what I say as one who reads poetry and my personal observations.

Poems that use capitol letters, commas and periods where they would be expected to be found in prose read fine to me.

Those who chose to leave those things out of their poetry can also be easy for me to read - if - if there are line or stanza breaks where commas or periods would otherwise fit.

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on June 26, 2014, 07:57:39 AM
There are plenty of times when I write poems without, or with very minimal punctuation. I try to stay consistent. If I use punctuation I do it throughout and try to be correct. The next line after a full stop/period, starts with a Cap.

It also depends on how you want your poem read/understood. I'm not a big one for ambiguity, and a lot of times I have something specific I want to say in my poem. Therefore I will use punctuation to guide the reader. Pause here, pause longer here, that sort of thing. A line break can be an effective pause but not always. Think enjambments where you have a break but the thought continues uninterrupted on the next line. That's where I would probably use punctuation to make it clearer. But I would use it throughout.

YMMV.  ;D

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on June 26, 2014, 08:02:40 AM
Thanks Alice and Heidi.

I'm never sure what to do. Like you Heidi, I try and stay consistent once I've chosen a direction. I'm not good at it. It's always one among many other things that leave me uneasy every time.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on June 26, 2014, 08:22:42 AM
I just write whatever seems right for whatever I'm writing. 
I can't write all the different styles that you all seem to be able to do so easily.
I'm more of a 'what you see, is what you get' kinda bloke.
Poetry either reaches me on any level, or it doesn't.
That's not to say that the ones I don't get, are any less.
They aren't.
They just do nothing for me.

Does that sound weird?

B
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on July 09, 2014, 09:01:25 AM
I've noticed a trend in reviews related to sentence structure, grammar, etc. My own thoughts, far less valuable then the ones I'm about to link to are undefined. I do find it a bit peculiar that the free in free verse seems be applied liberally to form and the sonic and visual elements of a poem, but in many ways the syntactical expectations are far more rigid now then in the past.

Anyway, I stumbled upon this site while trying find some answers: http://www.textetc.com/traditional/sentence-structure.html

I'll make no judgement regarding the author's conclusions, but I think it is a worthwhile read for anyone with similar questions.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on July 09, 2014, 09:11:16 AM
Long article -- but good examples. ;) Thanks, CP. Syntax is still important to comprehension. ::) Any rule breaking has to be effective and seamed into a piece without any apparent frayed edges.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on July 09, 2014, 09:16:29 AM
Long article -- but good examples. ;) Thanks, CP. Syntax is still important to comprehension. ::) Any rule breaking has to be effective and seamed into a piece without any apparent frayed edges.

I think you nailed it: Any rule breaking has to be effective and seamed into a piece without any apparent frayed edges. is so important. I imagine almost anything can be justified, and must be to work effectively.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on July 09, 2014, 05:24:16 PM

Rules anywhere are just a way of making decisions in advance. So it follows that a new decision implies creativity, with the healthy side effect of breaking rules. But yes, I agree it's a very fine line.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on July 09, 2014, 05:44:49 PM
It's always an ends vs. means thing. It's just important to give established means due consideration. They are rarely arbitrary and most have seen their own days being the rebel. 

BTW - another useful link:

http://www.thepunctuationguide.com
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on July 10, 2014, 09:56:12 AM
Yay! Poetry gets a chance . . .  http://www.culturenorthernireland.org/article/6523/seamus-heaney-s-five-fables-app-launches
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on July 10, 2014, 09:58:18 AM
Yay! Poetry gets a chance . . .  http://www.culturenorthernireland.org/article/6523/seamus-heaney-s-five-fables-app-launches

Very cool.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on July 10, 2014, 10:00:23 AM
Can't remember where I got this from . . .

"Here's an analogy for you. A sentence is like a road, and the punctuation marks are the writers instructions telling the reader how to drive the road.

[!] Come to an abrupt stop.
[.] Come to a complete stop.
[;] Come to a rolling stop. (here in the states we call that a "California stop")
[...] Lift your foot off the gas and coast for a while.
[--] Take a sharp turn down a parallel side road.
[()] Take a short detour, then get back on the main road.
[:] You've come to a crossroads.
[,] Slow down for a speed bump."
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on July 10, 2014, 10:08:37 AM
Can't remember where I got this from . . .

"Here's an analogy for you. A sentence is like a road, and the punctuation marks are the writers instructions telling the reader how to drive the road.

[!] Come to an abrupt stop.
[.] Come to a complete stop.
[;] Come to a rolling stop. (here in the states we call that a "California stop")
[...] Lift your foot off the gas and coast for a while.
[--] Take a sharp turn down a parallel side road.
[()] Take a short detour, then get back on the main road.
[:] You've come to a crossroads.
[,] Slow down for a speed bump."


Thanks Sio and thanks to Tom for my new obsession with the em dash. The beauty is when I screw up and use any of them wrong I'll just claim it was intentional and condemn my accuser for lack of poetic vision. ;)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on July 13, 2014, 11:09:04 AM
Indar's recent post of "Animal Poems" brought to mind The Blind Men and The Elephant: http://hinduism.about.com/od/hinduismforkids/a/blindmen.htm .

I first heard the poem from my grandfather. I rediscovered it when it appeared on Natalie Merchant's Leave Your Sleep album in 2010. It is a collection of famous children's poems set to music. Famous is of course a relative term particularly when it comes to poetry. The album, accompanying picture book, and live appearances are a kind of literary outreach. I can't do it justice. You can find details here:

http://www.nataliemerchant.com/p/leave-your-sleep

I have been a fan of her voice and her own writing for years. The release of these musical renditions of poems, most of which I was already familiar with, was and continues to be a great treat and I think a major accomplishment.

Since I know of at least one GMH fan here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAsFzqxm0yU&list=ALNb4maWNoT6RQwsyQvpZT9t80qSkyKmVY&index=11

Anyway, It's a unique and worthy project and one I think the folks here will find some value in.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on July 13, 2014, 11:34:49 AM
Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi_EpTi1dxI

She explains the project in her own words.

Not affiliated in any way (I should be so fortunate). I just love it.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on July 13, 2014, 12:12:18 PM
Wish I could write a tune. >:( Best I've done in the 'Rats' song and that's probably a rip-off of something else I'd heard. ::)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on July 13, 2014, 05:25:16 PM
Really thankful to you Marc for introducing me to . . .


oh wait a minute. Germany have just scored in the WC
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on July 13, 2014, 05:27:33 PM
 . . . Natalie Merchant. Love her 'Wayfaring Stranger'. She has a lovely vibrato in her voice. B

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9q-L3-UcW4
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on July 14, 2014, 11:39:13 AM
Thought some may be interested:

This is a full course in modern poetry from Yale including 25 video lectures, course material, etc. From the syllabus:

Quote
This course covers the body of modern poetry, its characteristic techniques, concerns, and major practitioners. The authors discussed range from Yeats, Eliot, and Pound, to Stevens, Moore, Bishop, and Frost with additional lectures on the poetry of World War One, Imagism, and the Harlem Renaissance. Diverse methods of literary criticism are employed, such as historical, biographical, and gender criticism.

It's provided free as part of Open Yale Courses.


http://oyc.yale.edu/english/engl-310#overview
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on July 19, 2014, 05:28:16 PM
An excellent observation by Gyppo appeared on another thread, and really fits here, so I shamelessly cut and pasted without permission, and its based on the preceding excellent observation by Indar which I also shamelessly cut and pasted without permission:

Quote
Think of writing poetry as presenting unique images that the reader can relate to.

. . . .

I see why you may have used the word to get an internal rhyme (assonance) . . . but that's forcing rhyme at the cost of meaning.

As I read through your poem I see several instances in which [meaning is lost] as a result of your intent to be poetic. My advice: think very carefully about what you want to say to your reader then find the best possible words with which to say it---the poetry will follow.



Quote
I've never thought of it that way, but Indar is correct.  In prose as well as poetry.  When you know exactly what you want to say your brain will subconsciously find the words to suit.  If you're actively seeking the words, to make a poetic rhyme or specific rhythm the image you want to portray isn't fully developed in your mind.

Sometimes you feel a subconscious beat or rhyme scheme, your own natural style, sifting and shaping as it happens.

Sounds a bit mystical or new-Age Hippy I know, but it's not really.

A lot of what happens in a writer's mind is a mystery to us, and is usually only explainable after it's happened.  One of the big lessons is learning to let it happen ;-)

Creation and editing are two totally different things.

Gyppo


There's the old saw "Clarity of expression mirrors clarity of thought."  I guess it applies to poetry as well.  How often does  your better writing result from writing yourself into clarity, as opposed to thinking something through and coming back with the right words suddenly appearing?  Thanks Indar, thanks Gyppo. 8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on July 19, 2014, 06:01:18 PM
You're welcome, Tom ;-)

When I taught creative writing (never specifically poetry) a good few years back I soon realised that that some of my students were very good at trusting their own instincts and mental processes.  Others really didn't, and seemed convinced there was a formula, a set of rules which, if followed, would result in perfection.  Some, sadly, fought against themselves.  'But I don't want to think these thoughts, I'm not that sort of person.'

But if you give two students the same set of 'rules' one will make them into something competent, and perhaps saleable, but the other will make them sing and catapult the reader into a shared world..

There is no fixed formula for that, although some may find the wellspring whilst following a predetermined course.

Gyppo
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on July 20, 2014, 08:48:45 AM
I don't disagree, but I think there is another factor to be considered. There is a creative tension between the artist and their medium regardless of what that medium is. It's kind of the "necessity is the mother of invention" idea. The problem in poetry of relying on what you have to say is that nothing any of us have to say is new. When we rely too heavily on the content we run the serious risk of relying solely on moral judgements, political affiliations, and fashions of thought. Before I sound too much like a dogmatist, I do think all the risks I mention can be, and often are overcome by skilled writers and sophisticated readers. But, if we are talking about young people of average genius, telling them that expression is enough and to 'just go with it' is destructive to them as artists and destructive to the art as a whole. Its effect on modern poetry has been reams and reams of agenda based nonsense, sentimental drivel, and lowest-common-denominator sexualization that lost even its shock value five decades ago.

I've known several people in the visual arts. To a one, regardless of style, they have a strong foundational understanding of classical technique. It's this foundation that makes all of them at least competent and provides them with material for their own innovations. Musicians if they are worth there salt know at least some measure of theory. But for some reason when it comes to literature we instruct our young to dismiss 600+ years of history. Self expression may be therapeutic and political expression may be socially valuable, but they are not art. They can be expressed through art and a poet that want to address the valid issues of their day to effect should know at least the foundational building blocks of what that art is. This takes us back to the medium.

If a young poet is bending their content to fit a rhyme, the problem is not the rhyme, it's more than likely a weakness of vocabulary or the creative faculty to rephrase exactly what they want to express in a manner that fits their medium. This effort is what forces the formal artist to get creative. I will add that the effort often forces the poet to examine their idea(s) intimately. The effort itself forces them to know what they want to say.

Again. I'm not advocating everyone or anyone go back to writing sonnets or what-have-you, but I do think young people who want to be poets should know the history of their art and appreciate that at one time, the forms that are now stayed and stale were once radical innovations capable of extreme emotional and rhetorical power. The best way to express yourself effectively is to know how to speak.

This goes a bit wide of what Gyppo said. Please don't think I assume you were advocating the position I am addressing. Given the brevity of the statement, I do fear it could be misinterpreted and applied too broadly. We don't all have the natural genius of Sio, or Tom's penetrating insights and innate sense of timing. Some of us need to learn the craft as craft to say and often to discover what we mean.  



  
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on August 05, 2014, 08:31:30 AM
In the quixotic desire to keep this thread alive I thought I raise the question of tools. What do you guys use to compose, store, track submissions, etc. Even helpful web sites. I'm actually working on an article for my blog regarding Scrivener: https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php . It's well established tool for novelist and other writers of prose, but while it has a skeletal poem template, it's never really sold as a tool for poets.

At its core Scrivener really is a database and fine word-processor and I figured out that with a bit of creative application of its feature set it provides everything I could want:


The list could go on and on. I've attached a screenshot to give you an idea and as stated am working on a full blown article on how I set it up and use it. I'm not affiliated with these guys in anyway, but I am a fan. They make an excellent tool. They have versions for both Mac and Windows.

Anyway, what do you guys use?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on August 05, 2014, 10:02:08 AM
Hi,

Interesting topic Marc.  I’m guessing that there is a wide variety among MWC writers as to hardware, software and organization.  I read recently about Scrivener.  It looks like a great system for procedurally more complicated writing than I do.  If I were doing a novel, for example, it looks to be very useful for tracking chapters, characters, plot themes, continuity, etc.

For my simple purposes, I’ve been very satisfied with my approach, although I did once inadvertently post a poem I had previously posted.   I am a user of WordPerfect word processing software.  I have one file labeled Poetry.  That file has 28 sub-files.  All of my poems, poem drafts and poem notes are in the first nine subfiles: 1 Done, 2 Marinating, 3 Spit Polish & Tinker, 4 The JV, 5 Projects, 6 Front Burner, 7 Toying, 8 Chop Shop, and 9 The Haystack.  Initial ideas, notes, thoughts not formed into a draft get tossed on the haystack.  When something reaches a proto stage - like a very rough draft, or a prose narrative of the subject, it gets moved to the Chop Shop where big changes get made.  If its still alive it gets moved either to Toying, or if I’m really hot on it, then to the Front Burner (each (writing) day I usually start with that file).  Poems that get close or feel like they’re close get moved to Spit Polish & Tinker.   Stuff in that file will get a word or two changed, maybe changed back, reviewed several times.  When it feels “done” for the first time it goes into the Marinating file where it sits long enough to see if it still feels done.  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  Notes and ideas that don’t make it into decent poem drafts eventually get moved to the Backwater.  Clippings from poems (the great stuff that has to get deleted) go into the Lagoon.  Poems that are as improved as they’re going to get and still aren’t very good are placed into the JV file.  Most poems never come back out.  Projects file is for major rewrites of otherwise meritorious drafts.

I have a separate sub-file for posted poems –  Posted MWC, Posted PFFA, Posted Poetry Circle, Posted Other. At the same time as I post a poem, I always put in the appropriate file the exact form of the poem as posted, as well as the date.  If a significant revision is posted, I put that in the same file as well.  That way I have a complete record of what I’ve posted, where and when. 

The other subfiles are for particularized material: Sevens, NaPoWriMo, 21, Prompts Poems, American Sentences, Triolets, Villanelle, Sestina, Exercises.


I’ve fit most everything else into two remaining sub-files: Would Cheerios Be Croutons and Love’s Last Lingering Lisp.  These include everything else – separate notes of poetry theory, process, advice, writing tips, snippets of critique, correspondences, etc.,

When I’m writing I have easy access by toolbar links to Rhyming Dictionary, Thesaurus, Google.  And I keep in one WP document (each) for easy access (1) my critiquing checklist, (2) Meter Cheatsheet, (3) A list of sites. 

This is pretty compete, probably too much about the process when you only asked about the tools. :-\

The short answer is everything that happens with my poetry does so within on WordPerfect file.  8) 8)

If there is a draft I'm working on that I want to access from another location, I store it on MWC messages.

T. 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on August 05, 2014, 10:41:37 AM
Thanks T.

I love your:

Quote
nine subfiles: 1 Done, 2 Marinating, 3 Spit Polish & Tinker, 4 The JV, 5 Projects, 6 Front Burner, 7 Toying, 8 Chop Shop, and 9 The Haystack.

The peak into your process is awesome. I was speaking to a friend. She keeps everything in single large Word Doc and then tracks submission and such in a separate Excel file. I thought that way, way too cumbersome.

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on August 05, 2014, 11:31:13 AM
I cringe when I hear  some folks just write and post - no other record, filing or whatnot.  Each to their own.  My system works for me - when I have time to write I know where I want to go, how to nudge stuff along through the process.  Of course a few things zip through in a very short time, but most pieces get looked a quite a few times. 

What is your writing process like, CP?  And others -- its a good topic. 8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on August 05, 2014, 12:29:45 PM
Cringe at what I do -- cringe and cry! ;D I write, I save in file -- sort of it really. ::) Any revisions get added to the original.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on August 05, 2014, 02:29:04 PM
Cringe at what I do -- cringe and cry! ;D I write, I save in file -- sort of it really. ::) Any revisions get added to the original.

But, but, but...

You write stories, poem, novels... you might lose stuff. What about ideas, character sketches, stray lines?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on August 05, 2014, 02:33:56 PM
Er -- separate files for poetry, novels, screenplays, short stories, non-fiction, work articles, and writing tips. Character sketches, research etc. are within the relevant file. ::)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on August 05, 2014, 04:05:42 PM
Gotcha. I'm a tech junkie. I like tools. :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on August 05, 2014, 04:08:52 PM
I'm just stupid -- can't work my way round 'tools' and I'm more confident with my own system, much easier than fighting with software I don't understand. ;D Tried some screenwriting software once -- of course I cocked it up and couldn't find what was where or how to retrieve and shift things. Also, because I tend to write pretty much to completion in a short space of time, much of the information is still in short term memory.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on August 05, 2014, 04:22:44 PM
Great thread Cp.

I collect all my poems, print them, dip them briefly in water, scrunch them up, till they're soggy. Then throw them against a wall. The first one to dry and drop off the wall, I post. ha ha.


But really. I'm a simple guy. I have the quoted BIG word doc. I keep poems, stories and snippets in it. Un-critted stories and critted. After crits, suggies then re-writes, I copy and paste back into my 'work-file'. Started with two in 2012. Now I have . . . more. ha ha. B
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on August 05, 2014, 04:59:57 PM
As an aside: The Workshop section of this board added a new twist for me. Actually, a couple, the obvious is all the feedback. The other was seeing the drafts side by side in tabular format. Extremely valuable on a longer poem that's gone through a lot of revision. Sometimes after that marinate period of Tom's another version can results pulling some from each, even parts that I may have dismissed.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on August 06, 2014, 01:57:23 AM

I use Word with a folder named Poetry and just shove anything related in there. Stuff sometimes ends up elsewhere.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on August 06, 2014, 06:58:00 AM
I use Word with a folder named Poetry and just shove anything related in there. Stuff sometimes ends up elsewhere.

See, If you or Sio lose a masterpiece, it's just, oh well, I guess I'll write another. We mortals must be more careful.

And if that doesn't work for you try: Cleanliness is next to godliness , or Organization is the mother of retention
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: ByronArthurClark on August 06, 2014, 07:09:51 AM
i have a writing folder on my computer and a corresponding folder on my flashdrive and my laptop for writing on the go. which I merge with the PC folder periodically. Each poem and its versions are in a seperate word doc. Then I have a folder for each novel idea. With sub-folders for different aspects of planning and research and then a folder for drafts of the novel.

In hard copy I have files for each book and for poetry with my written notes, and a little blue book I keep in a very safe place with my ideas.

I also email important things to myself so that it is backuped in my gmail. I keep everthing! I don't throw any piece of paper remotely related to a book away even if it is a cribbled napkin. Everyone in my house knows to not to touch papers on my desk or in my room (even when they look scruppled up) on pain of death.  ;D

Maps and building plans etc for my novels are kept under lock and key... in a secret location that the local sangoma has protected with Xhosa black magic.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on August 06, 2014, 11:20:42 AM
T. has mentioned the Narrator vs. Author thing a few times. I'm bringing it up here in the hope that he and others will share their thoughts. Out in the world it hardly matters, if we're fortunate to have strangers read our stuff, who cares if they think the content is about us or not?

Here, for me at least, it's kind of dilemma. The last four things I've posted are a direct response to Tom's promptings. Sorry T, for calling you out. Anyway, he's been encouraging me to stretch out more. I take his advice very seriously and am grateful for it.

I've posted 4 things in a short space:

Depression, Cowardice, Unfiltered, and Sweet. Each is an attempt at conjuring. The topic of process has come up before. The process here was simple: With the exception of Sweet, I selected an emotional title and then tried to match it with words. Sweet is the odd man out. I wanted to shift from the theme of 'Depression' to something happy on a dime. I wanted to see if I could pull it off. It fit perfectly with a little ass-in-the-grass epiphany I had a few day before.

One could argue that everything is personal or we would not be able to conjure it. Fine. I must admit that it concerns me that in a small community like ours that people might connect the author with the N.

I guess I could write one called, "insecurity" and maybe that would be closer to home, but I almost want to answer, "Hey, I felt great while writing 'Unfiltered' and my wife and I have never had a serious disagreement in since we met".

An actor does not cry on screen because she is sad, but cries convincingly because she knows sadness. I know that sounds pretentious. I'm not saying that's the case with these poems. I am saying it is a level of skill I'd like to achieve and actively work towards.

If I only wrote from the heart all my poems would be:

bump, bump...
bump, bump...
bump, bump...

What about you?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on August 06, 2014, 11:34:27 AM
Some of my stuff is autobiographical but most of it is getting inside another's head and experience when I write poems which express emotion related to an event. I am female so my male POV poems certainly aren't autobiographical and I haven't always seen in real life the things I write about, I imagine and also rob observations from the experience of others and use my own words to try and recreate or explore the issue.

The bunch of suicide acrostics I did in no way reflected my mood or personal experience. :o


***Warning -- very bad language***

SUICIDE ACROSTIC TRYPTYCH

Stupid
Useless
Ignorant
Cunt
I
Deserve
Everything

Scared
Ugly
Invisible
Creep
Introvert
Douchebag
Excrement

Silence
Unifies
Isolation
Causes
Innumerable
Deaths
Everyday
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on August 06, 2014, 11:46:59 AM
Thank, Sio. Damn powerful BTW.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on August 06, 2014, 11:49:04 AM
Who says I always write big long lines of stuff? :o ;D ;D ;D

Or demand punctuation?

Or am against capital letters starting first lines? ::)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on August 06, 2014, 11:49:44 AM
Some of my stuff is autobiographical but most of it is getting inside another's head and experience when I write poems which express emotion related to an event. I am female so my male POV poems certainly aren't autobiographical and I haven't always seen in real life the things I write about, I imagine and also rob observations from the experience of others and use my own words to try and recreate or explore the issue.

The bunch of suicide acrostics I did in no way reflected my mood or personal experience. :o


***Warning -- very bad language***

SUICIDE ACROSTIC TRYPTYCH

Stupid
Useless
Ignorant
Cunt
I
Deserve
Everything

Scared
Ugly
Invisible
Creep
Introvert
Douchebag
Excrement

Silence
Unifies
Isolation
Causes
Innumerable
Deaths
Everyday


 :o :o :o :o
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on August 12, 2014, 03:29:33 PM
Its too easy sometimes to think the Narrator and Author are the same, and I need to occasionally caution myself. 



Its not a good idea to assume someone else's poem is autobiographical.  The focus may too easily shift to the writer from the poem.  Rather than analyzing text we find ourselves developing a liking or disliking for the writer personally - and that makes honest criticism and feedback more difficult.

Its also not a good idea to treat our own poeming as autobiographical, for a different set of reasons.   Too often a poem is stunted by the Author's insistence that this the way it happened!   Sometimes the heart of a poem comes closer to communicating a real truth when the details are made up, never happened that way. 

Moreover, a Narrator needs to be bigger than life in some important way.  The nuance of uncertainty rarely lends itself to the declarative stance the N. must often assume.  We are perhaps psychologically more prepared to do that consciously through a  Narrator than if we presumed the role personally.

Just my thoughts.  Sorry it took so long to get back to this topic.
 :)
T
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on September 24, 2014, 06:35:42 PM
This thread needs a bump. Was contacted by these folks on twitter. Very well done site: https://poetryzoo.com . Interesting idea. They bill themselves as a youtube for poetry. I can imagine some pitfalls, but the site is very polished and it looks like serious effort at a worthy endeavor.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on September 24, 2014, 07:10:45 PM
I think it would be too difficult to decide which of your own poems are 'good' or not when considering them for public consumption. It's such a subjective issue and how the hell would you stitch together a collection? Still, it could provide a showcase for poets who are interested in a wider audience.


@ Tom . . . I think the recent 'cover' poetry some have posted just shows how much you can take the writer out of the poem, thus eliminating any personal connection to the poet -- but also how much of ourselves remain even when we try to disguise our identities. ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on September 24, 2014, 07:29:22 PM
Excellent point, Sio.  I've been mulling these questions.  Like how formulaic some of my writing is and how destructive that can be to development.  STill, I think we learn good lessons from each other.

And how to pick some samples, or a parts of a collection?  T'would be subjective, that's for sure. 8)

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on September 24, 2014, 07:32:56 PM
I imagine the larger problem will be finding the diamonds in the dirt. I created a profile and posted one I like and don't plan to do anything else with. Mostly because I support the idea and the folks running seem nice. I can't see doing much with it. but it looks like a nice way to get in front of a few more readers without the hassle of submitted to journals. No restriction on previous publications, etc.

@Tom & Sio

The recent exercise was a riot. All three of you are impossible to emulate, but it certainly was liberating to try.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on September 24, 2014, 08:30:32 PM
I've been thinking about it . . . even considered a poem, but that'll be another day. So we wear the mantle --- some people tie it round the middle with twine, others drape it in a raffish way over one shoulder, almost like a toga, one of them always finds something in the pocket, another wears an ornate clasp or brooch, the one who turns up the collar makes it look different, I could go on and on about the many ways it could be worn. I heard one of them removes the lining and only wears that -- nothing else, buck naked . . . but the poet inside, beneath the mantle is always the same, no matter what way they wear the cloak. :o
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on September 24, 2014, 08:50:03 PM
So what you're saying is the poets are all the same. Doesn't that make the poets a cliché?  ;D ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on September 24, 2014, 08:53:01 PM
No . . . I said the poet inside is unique no matter what way they choose to wear the mantle, you'll know who is wearing it even if they copy somebody else's fashion. :P
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on September 24, 2014, 08:56:58 PM
Ah so the words delineate the writer, and by their words they are known. I like that. My word is coal.  ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on September 24, 2014, 09:05:11 PM
Excellent point, Sio.  I've been mulling these questions.  Like how formulaic some of my writing is and how destructive that can be to development.  STill, I think we learn good lessons from each other.

And how to pick some samples, or a parts of a collection?  T'would be subjective, that's for sure. 8)



I think a fun extension of the exercise would be to write anonymous covers and see if we can guess who wrote 'in the style of'  . . . ::) Some of course are easier to do than others but it would still be valid to see if the poets can effectively disguise themselves or of their voice comes through regardless.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bowmore2 on September 25, 2014, 05:59:29 PM
Hi 52, I like this idea of yours. My problem is as I am sure you know from reading some of mine is
that at most time i haven't a clue whether what i have written is in fact, poetry or prose.
 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on September 25, 2014, 06:03:57 PM
Hey -- we'll call it poetry if it's in here, Bill. ;) ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on September 29, 2014, 08:23:25 AM

I had no idea:

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2013/07/poetry_and_medicine_rafael_campo_and_why_doctors_need_the_humanities.html
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on September 29, 2014, 12:42:41 PM
Well who'da thunk? :o
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on September 29, 2014, 07:21:51 PM
I guess we had better get . . . medicinal. ::)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on September 30, 2014, 01:11:05 PM
What was that? You need a medical? :o
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on September 30, 2014, 01:14:11 PM
A UK phrase?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on September 30, 2014, 01:31:58 PM
Hey -- I'm not well, surely you could have surmised I meant a medical examination . . . a check up? ::)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: rosez on September 30, 2014, 02:00:17 PM
I feel that all you great poets can be medicinal, with beautiful poems to any needy soul by way of your magical words. :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on September 30, 2014, 05:23:19 PM
http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/kumeyaay-lake-poetry-campout-oct-10-12-mission-trails

Have a look at the last paragraph, apparently medicinal poetry is a serious issue.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on September 30, 2014, 05:31:11 PM
So -- can I tell my parents I'm a doctor?  :o They'd be really proud I reckon. Well, if dead people think that is of course. ::)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on September 30, 2014, 05:34:12 PM
If there is such a thing as medicinal poetry, then yes, Sio, you are a Doctor.   8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on October 01, 2014, 10:47:22 AM
Great free tool for my fellow Mac users: http://nisus.com/Thesaurus/

It uses the WordNet database and is just cool. If you don't know about WordNet, there's more here: http://wordnet.princeton.edu/

Anyway, here's a screenshot.

(http://cognitivedrift.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/nisus_screen.png)

those little arrows on the right go on forever.

Not as slick as Visuwords (http://www.visuwords.com/) but perhaps better geared to the less visual.

I love it.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on October 01, 2014, 12:02:04 PM
How do you make use of these programs re: poetry??
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on October 01, 2014, 05:19:47 PM
Both tools are built on a database of cognitive and syntactical relationships-- It's your traditional thesaurus on steroids. They go well beyond simple synonyms and antonyms into some of the fuzzier connections between word and concepts. The WordNet site has a great description of the mechanics.

I would image the use for poetry are wide open. I use it primarily in revision. Sometimes I have a vague concept or idea of what I want in a specific place and a very good idea of the whole. If I dwell too long on the particular I risk falling out of the flow. In those cases I throw in a garbage word that sounds right. Later I'll come back and try to find words that fits the sound and, more importantly, nails down that vague notion. Sometimes these searches help clarify the idea, other times they can change the direction of the poem.

Another use is creative inspiration. These things are like a candy store for a word lover. Pick any word and poke around. You almost can't help falling into something interesting.

Think of these things as color wheels for wordsmiths. Poets work in shades/nuances/tinctures/aspects/facets... of meaning.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on October 01, 2014, 05:22:54 PM
I'm going to need to play around with this stuff for awhile.  Thanks C.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on October 10, 2014, 02:59:33 AM
I aspire to be angelical.
But I'm doomed to be a devil.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 07, 2014, 02:46:22 PM
Chances are you've seen this in your inbox:

   "Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy,
   it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod
   are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat
   ltteers be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses
   and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae
   the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but
   the wrod as a wlohe."

Chances are you also understand it. It posits that the order of the letters inside a given word doesn't matter, as long as the first and last letters of each word are in the right place.  The suggestion is that you can read the words because the human mind reads words as a whole, and not letter-by-letter.

Without getting into issues of the reliability, I wondered to what extent poetry may be subject to similar phenomena (words instead of letters /lines instead) - and for various reasons it seems to me a strong likelihood that poetry is much more conducive.  So I tried with a stronger solution.

And here is are my examples:


Where Lines Return

Where upright for we, for
lines return, if
drive, I across you
as a machine and
won’t proper follow
on fours, won’t won't ribbed die,
wire until sounds won’t night.
For return.  My for long, us.



Biographers

write and small
dashing nuances - love
lost tall

now years
my shoulders & forever

strides lost
rises on voices old
then are
shoulders & sun ruins
I am lighter to hear


Here, Touch

what ahead to you
truck, adventure to
what behind sense
next met sawdust, he
I would curtain, extra
thought I smell
bed
then
what before



Agree? Disagree?  More Examples?  Counter-examples?


Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on November 07, 2014, 03:29:19 PM
Interesting T. I've seen those emails before and the text is not an issue. I imagine, if timed, there would be no cost associated with the misspellings beyond the first few words.

When it comes to the poems however, the exercise gives me vertigo. It's like the brain knows its being messed with but still struggles to make sense. Unlike the spelling example, the poems you posted offer little mooring, or at least none that I could latch on to. The effect is literally like motion sickness.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 07, 2014, 03:46:11 PM
Okay, no mooring stones.  but still, you get the feel of the poem, right?  Or no?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on November 07, 2014, 03:52:42 PM
I'm having fun trying to fill in the blanks. ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on November 07, 2014, 04:12:18 PM
I think this might be one of those visual versus audible issues. With the exception of "Biographers", I literally find the poems painful to read. More on that in a sec. First, I have one for you, throwing meaning out but trying to provide a soundscape:

Contretemps, Ignatius!
The coal is an arrow in the mooring.
What bliss behind a shadow rail
to run the hand of dogs thereunder
and blast the beach with bones.

"Biographers" is surprisingly pleasant when read with no attempts to reconcile the meaning. Doubling back, with the sound still in my head, I can pick out random words and the poem makes sense. Crazy, eh?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 07, 2014, 04:25:39 PM
CP -

I don't have one scooby of a notion what this poem articulates, but it gives a strong, uplifting feeling. We take a stand, we stand together!  Damn the hairnets and nozzlewockers!  Yay us!

And you were skeptical!
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 07, 2014, 04:27:24 PM
I'm having fun trying to fill in the blanks. ;D

But Sio, tht would only be fill. 8)

Abandon tweed seed volume exchangers, you can do this!
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on November 07, 2014, 04:37:27 PM
Thanks T, Now you have me composing deliberate gibberish and opposed the  unintentional gibberish I'm used to spewing.

Starfall,
that's all that matters.
Sio, speak,
sense is sand.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on November 07, 2014, 04:44:47 PM
Fuck off! Busy. ;D Later.

Sounds like text speak. Yuck.


My poem . . .

Red leather,
embossed mock croc
new handbag
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 07, 2014, 04:47:18 PM
Fuck off! Busy. ;D Later.

Sounds like text speak. Yuck.


My poem . . .

Red leather,
embossed mock croc
new handbag

Good stuff, I like all four verses!  Even the large spaces between 8) 8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 07, 2014, 04:48:05 PM
Thanks T, Now you have me composing deliberate gibberish and opposed the  unintentional gibberish I'm used to spewing.

Starfall,
that's all that matters.
Sio, speak,
sense is sand.

Sounds! Sounds! 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: 510bhan on November 07, 2014, 04:48:34 PM
Right, now you're gonna get it. I'm going over to Love Poem thingy. ;D Catch you there in a minute.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 07, 2014, 04:52:32 PM
Okay, first I walk this back a little bit toward sense:



  The Trail

Dew,
bits of sky, finally
reflect sparkly.

             A stumble 
rights itself.

My footing.

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on November 08, 2014, 09:32:03 AM
Disagree  ;D

The two don't relate for me. In the email example what it proves is the mind can make out the word, no matter how misspelled.

But the important thing is the placement of the words in the sentences, placing them in context, which allows us to do that. Without that foundation, like if you randomized the words, you wouldn't have a clue what most of them were.

I'm with CP on the readability of your examples. Poetry should be fun to read and hard to write, this seems the reverse.  8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 08, 2014, 09:48:08 AM
 ;D ;D ;D ;D


Well said, Heidi. :)  You and CP are no doubt right.
Sharp angles and unique points make for easier puzzle pieces, while slithey toves are easier to swallow. 8)

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on November 08, 2014, 10:49:11 AM
Good example, except that 'slithy toes" bolsters my argument.  ;D

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

All of the sentences make sense grammatically. My brain can latch on to that and infer some meaning, to the invented words however silly.

So yes they are easier to swallow. What can I say, I'm intellectually lazy. And I think I must be missing your point with this idea. Can you elaborate, be more specific - what it is you are trying to achieve? Is it just experimental? More Dada? Or is there something else there I'm just not grasping?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 08, 2014, 11:07:36 AM
Sadly, H., you grasped all that was there.   :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 23, 2014, 12:49:24 PM

I found this on non-visual imagery:

Imagery is the name given to the elements in a poem that spark off the senses. Despite "image" being a synonym for "picture", images need not be only visual; any of the five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell) can respond to what a poet writes. Examples of non-visual imagery can be found in Ken Smith's 'In Praise of Vodka', where he describes the drink as having "the taste of air, of wind on fields, / the wind through the long wet forest", and James Berry's 'Seashell', which puts the "ocean sighs" right in a listener's ear.

Amie - you've been encouraging this for a long time. 8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Jo Bannister on November 23, 2014, 04:12:12 PM
For me, poetry is no different from any other form of writing - it's about communication.  It doesn't matter that the writer understands what he wants to say: if the reader isn't getting the message, the writing fails.  If it needs the meaning to be explained, it fails big-time.

I have read serious reviews from serious writers and practised poets, on this forum and elsewhere, along the lines of: Loved the words, wonderfully evocative, full of feeling; the meaning of the piece escaped me, but that was no doubt my failure ...

Er - no.  That was definitely the poet's failure.  We're not talking about five-year-olds here.  We're talking about intelligent readers and writers; and if they aren't hearing what you're saying, you're saying it wrong.  All the beautiful words are no doubt in a dictionary, but nobody picks up a dictionary when they're in the mood for poetry.

Can you imagine, even in your wildest dreams, a publisher setting down a manuscript and writing to the author: "Loved the words, wonderfully evocative etc, don't know what you were on about but here's a cheque anyway"?

Nobody - nobody - writes except in the hope of being read.  So don't let's insult the audience by being so pretentious or so lazy that we give him something incomprehensible.  Writing poetry is not an excuse for bad writing.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on November 23, 2014, 04:39:51 PM
Nobody - nobody - writes except in the hope of being read.  So don't let's insult the audience by being so pretentious or so lazy that we give him something incomprehensible.  Writing poetry is not an excuse for bad writing.

I think you left a few words out, Jo ;-)

Nobody - nobody - in their right mind writes except in the hope of being read.

Some writers, some of the time, clearly aren't.  Some people will never accept that the emperor truly has no clothes.

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 24, 2014, 12:40:46 AM
Hi Jo,

I couldn’t disagree more with the views you express.  I hope I don’t do so in a disagreeable manner.   :) :)

Poetry is in fact different from every other kind of writing.  If you don’t believe that, there is a reading list for you that follows these comments.  

You state: “It doesn't matter that the writer understands what he wants to say: if the reader isn't getting the message, the writing fails.  If it needs the meaning to be explained, it fails big-time.”   I often cringe at the thought of what the comments and reviews would be in the hypothetical event that The Second Coming by W.B. Yeats were to be posted unrecognized here at MWC.   By your measure the poem already is and always has been a big-time failure.  I googled “the meaning of The Second Coming by W.B. Yeats”.  There were 41,500 hits!   If it needs to be explained . . . huh?

Of course, as you say, “writing poetry is no excuse for bad writing”.  But that is part of the straw-man you’ve set up.   News flash- bad writing is not confined to poetry!  The better formulation is this “Bad writing is no excuse for bad writing.”  And there is far more bad writing of every kind that good writing.

You have suggested pretentious and lazy poets who intentionally write crap and then expect and receive kudos.  I’m not sure to whom you refer.  I don’t know anybody like that but I suppose there are some.   For posted poems, if I don’t understand metaphors, or don’t follow the poem’s progression, I say so.  That doesn’t keep me from recognizing and commenting on good turns of phrase.  Feedback should include all of this type stuff.
 
I know I write and post incomprehensible stuff, and have been accused of intentionally making things more obscure.  That’s not my goal and not my design.  But then neither do I feel compelled to insult the reader by dumbing stuff down.   If connections are too weak or indiscernible, if the images are not clear and the metaphors apt, if the progression of the poem isn’t there, then of course the poem fails.  
  
But it is just wrong to suggest that a poem is a failure based on the test of whether the general reader may “get” the poem on first, second or third readings.  What is your reader’s understanding of symbolic language, meter, literary reference, the poetic line, allegory, the formulations of different schools of poetry, history, the deep image, dada, surrealist, and fluxus experimentation?  It can as often be the reader who is pretentious and lazy by proclaiming a poem to be a failure just because s/he didn’t understand it.  

I think it is critically important to let poems do what they can do, and sometimes that requires standing back for a bit, and to observe in neutral, without our usual overweening preconceptions of what the poem must and must not be doing at the moment.   We need to try to find our way inside the poem if we can.  Sometimes we push on the door, and sometimes the door opens toward us.  8)

I can’t tell you how tired I am of comments like “I don’t understand how a cloud can run its fingers through the Narrator’s hair” or some such nonsense.  And my answer is that you’re right, it can’t.  It can’t in real life.  But it can in a poem, and more, it can ride a blue antelope through a valley of cream cheese, leap from a cannon barrel to the tops of mountains on the moon, cartwheel past Neptune and loop strings of toilet paper through the rafters of the cosmos!  And if you are very lucky, it make take you with.

There are some poems that I have been reading, and re-reading for decades.  Do I “understand” them?  That’s a relative question.  Of course I understand mortality differently in my sixties than  I did in my twenties.  The same goes for love, war, music, commitment, parenthood, and ditch weed.  8)  

There is a spiritual yearning to which good poetry can speak.   My life is enriched by poetry.  Much of poetic language is beyond what prose does and what prose can do.  And sometimes the most important communications of a poem are beyond the words themselves.  There is a sense in the best poem that we do not understand, but at which the poem hints, and points us.  The suggestions of what might lay behind the precious thought progressions that some refer to as the ripples or concentric circles.  If you appreciate this realm of poetry beyond sense, then you will recognize that the literal understanding does not have to always be central to the writer-to-reader process.  

Here are some marvelous poems that I don’t think a reader of good faith will insist are perfectly understandable.  We read and appreciate with our whole being.  
 
Night in the Day by Joseph Stroud  

Homage to Mistress Bradstreet By John Berryman  

In a Dark Time by Theodore Roethke

Fire:  The People by Alfred Corn

Eating the Pig by Donald Hall

Planetarium by Arienne Rich

Portrait of A Lady by T.S. Elliot

California Prodigal by Maya Angelou

A Death in the Desert by Robert Browning

Another Night in the Ruins by Galway Kinnell




Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: duck on November 24, 2014, 03:49:45 AM
Dear Jo
I am sorry but I think you are wrong. You make the mistake as many do of beginning with the idea of The reader - an abstract concept of little real value. There is an assumption in that of there being only one polymorphus reader that is able to judge what some thing means or whether it is good. As Tom points out, with different examples I believe, almost any leading artist would have been condemned by most art users - Picasso and the Cubists, for example, were widely rejected and still are by many who look for meaning in the wrong places. Poetry has its own language and many cannot understand that basic language in the first place. Many still reject poetry that does not rhyme and scan and many reject poetry that does. It is the writer who decides the content of the poem and it is readers who decide if they want to read it. one should not confuse  Writers write and choose content and readers read and decide if it is worth their while.
Some good writing has been hugely damaging in some ways. The war poets of WW1 have distorted perceptions of the experience of WW1 forever. Thousands of others who wrote poetry that had poorer quality but with as much heart and soul have been forgotten and with them their stories and a truer understanding of the whole experience.
And while we are talking about writers who many love but few really understand - I can't stand his work, but that's me - how about James Joyce.
Ok Sorry now you got two long contrary  comments, it is all good debate after all innit?
Dave
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: duck on November 24, 2014, 03:52:00 AM
Hi Gyppo
Sorry but I do find this a bit conceited:
Nobody - nobody - in their right mind writes except in the hope of being read.

Some writers, some of the time, clearly aren't.  Some people will never accept that the emperor truly has no clothes.

Writers who post their material somehwere in the wide public world want to be read and want someone to get something and give something back but they don't have to prostitute what they want to say and how they want to say something just so the reader can feel good about it.
Dave
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: duck on November 24, 2014, 03:54:48 AM
Sorry me again:
 So don't let's insult the audience by being so pretentious or so lazy that we give him something incomprehensible.  Writing poetry is not an excuse for bad writing.
Could easily be: So don't let's insult the writer by being so precious or so lazy that we accuse him of something incomprehensible. Reading poetry is no excuse for bad(lazy) reading.
Dave
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on November 24, 2014, 08:43:18 AM
Ouch, struck a never there, Jo.

I’ve been giving this very subject quite a bit of thought recently, and I’ll fess up to being the one who told Tom I thought he sometimes intentionally made things more obscure. Because I’m a nice like that.  8)

But I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the real difference between prose and poetry. Prose writers strive for clearer communication with the reader, or somehow a different relationship with them. Perhaps because, usually, we need to interest them early and keep them interested.
 
That’s not the primary goal with poetry. The reader is encouraged to bring their own interpretation. I think poets like it when readers ‘get’ their poem, but they are not overly concerned if they don’t.

What would be a failure in prose isn’t necessarily one in poetry.

I think it’s kind of like right/left hand/brain – you are or you ain’t. Can some people be both? Maybe but I bet it’s pretty rare. I know I can’t. I dabble, I would never call myself a poet, because personally as a reader I don’t like to not comprehend, and as a writer I don't like to be misunderstood - it bothers me. In prose or poetry.

You have to give me a way in, not just great lines and unique turns of phrase and the end has to be worth the effort you are asking me to expend.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 24, 2014, 10:35:34 AM
Heidi -

Thoughtful stuff.  By your criteria I don't call myself a poet either. :)  I hate to not understand what I read.  Sometimes I need to read a poem lots of times and over lots of days before some things come into focus.  And then there are the poems like Bess by William Stafford (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171508).  On first read most folks would say that they get it, me included.  It seems like a marvelously accessible poem.  But having now read the poem perhaps several hundred times or more I know I didn't understand it to start with.  I sometimes suggest to folks what I call the Bess Challenge.  Its consists of putting a copy of the poem in a convenient place and reading it every day or two for a month or two.  The conversation at the back end is always fascinating. 8)

Then there is the erratic nature of the connection a poem does or does not make between writer and reader.   It can happen with great poems as well as modest poems, but not with every reader, no matter how good.  The connection made by a poem between writer and reader is a gift, not a given.  The phenomena of this connection is explored in depth in How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch.  

I think every writer has a tremendous responsibility to the reader to not waste their time.  Prose and poetry both require hooking a reader early and then giving them something worthwhile, some reason to keep reading.  If you can't do that you'll have no readers, period.  Yeah, the emperor's clothes, but his toothbrush too. ::)

The additional unique goal for a writer of poetry is to bring the reader through a true poetic experience.  And I think this is the heart of it --  there needs to be the poetic experience.  If that's not there it doesn't really matter how fully understandable the writing may be.  
Obviously its easy to say that the poetic experience should be large and the understanding easy.  The poet's first responsibility is to find and record the poetic experience if possible, and only then to work to make it accessible.  That's when the process becomes a mutual endeavor.  I can't blame the guy on the other end of the teeter-totter for not getting me up in the air if I am just too damn fat. 8)   And I can't say this strongly enough: it matters what a reader brings to the task.    

If I can't understand Neruda written in Spanish because I don't know the language, I don't blame him.  And if I don't understand every poem of his that has been translated, do I still blame him?  Was Shakespeare's obligation to dumb down his texts so that every school kid can understand in one easy pass?   (there was a time I wished he had 8)). Of course there is no Shakespeare at MWC, and most of the poems here are really not very good, mine included.  We are trying to learn to write, trying to improve our craft, and most poems are experiments of one sort or another.  There is the need for accessibility, yes, and I call people on that and expect to be called on it myself.  But there is the bigger search for the poetic experience, which some days is like Snipe hunting. 8)  Yes, readers can be abused here, but not intentionally, and not for the purpose of abuse alone. 8)


Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on November 24, 2014, 12:15:45 PM
But I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the real difference between prose and poetry. Prose writers strive for clearer communication with the reader, or somehow a different relationship with them. Perhaps because, usually, we need to interest them early and keep them interested.
 
That’s not the primary goal with poetry. The reader is encouraged to bring their own interpretation. I think poets like it when readers ‘get’ their poem, but they are not overly concerned if they don’t.

Thanks, Heidi.  I think this is what I was trying to say earlier, in my (hopefully temporary) acerbic way.

All reading and comprehension is, to a certain extent, a matter of perception.  I suspect that in reading poetry this is even more so than with prose.

Gyppo
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on November 24, 2014, 04:17:54 PM
I've been reading everyone's comments repeatedly in the hope that my own thoughts would solidify into a form that is more or less communicable.

This was a whole lot easier for our not too distant ancestors. Poetry of the literary sort had a defined (upper)societal role and a set of established themes and forms. Those who proved themselves adapt at those forms and subtle in their handling of those themes were generally considered to be successful. On the surface, we have the burden of liberty. In reality, there are fashions of thought and trends that we all are at the least influenced by. But that's another topic.

To the point, I'm a little tongue-tied because the conversation seems to imply that there is something monolithic permeating all of our endeavors. I'm certain that each person, and I know, each poem has their/its own reason for being. I have to think that its success or failure should ultimately be defined by how well it achieves the goals the author set for it. I am an unashamed proponent of authorial intent. As a poet, my poems succeed in as much as they evoke the response I desire the reader to have. On the flip-slide, as a reader, the poem succeeds if it pleases me. This may appear to be a bit of fence-sitting, but I do believe every writer does so with an audience, even if an idealized one, in mind.

Pared down, I agree with Jo's: " it's about communication.". Sometimes I want to make a joke, share a love, grab the world by the throat and say, "Look at that!"  ...Whatever, I want to connect. I'd like to believe that somehow I can arrange the words in a way that sparks an intimate recognition with someone. I want them to see my sky. While other times, I just want to arrange the words in a way that has a little music. If some folks think it's clever, awesome. I was going for clever.

I do think that a poem has to be accessible to someone other than the poet to be considered successful, but I can't quantify it as accessibility comes on several levels. A good poem is so much more than its paraphrasable content and I readily admit admiring and enjoying some I do not understand in anyway I can plainly state. That said, those I love, I think I get.

In Primitivism and Decadence, Winters attacks some of the techniques used by Hart Crane and T.S. Eliot as pseudo-reference. He believed that these extremely gifted writers had at time abused their rhetorical powers to knowingly imbue nonsense with import not supported by the content. That they used high-sounding words and disconnected imagery with no rational justification within the poem in question. In other words, they cheated. He goes to great pains to demonstrate how this is so. I wonder if this is the type of writing you refer to, Jo, just not so skillfully pulled off.

This is tricky business. I think it is mistake to apply too many of the rules of prose narrative to poetry. That said, I do think each poem should have an internal consistency that the right readers (those in the authors idealized audience I mentioned) can discern and appreciate.

I'm one reader. I bring my own baggage to everything I see. The poet can't write for me. They have to write to their audience. If I'm in it, great for me.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 24, 2014, 07:15:36 PM
Lots of good points, CP. 

There are fantastic writers who present everything in a perfectly cognizable form and I don't mean to disparage them or their writing.  My point is that its not the only poetry.  Not by a long shot. 8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: duck on November 25, 2014, 06:38:55 AM
Hi
Let's assume in a thought experiment - experiment because it cannot under all circumstances be reality - that all poems written are understandable to all readers and perfect symmetry of communication is achieved, something in simple speech that never happens by the way, would it then also be desireable and appropriate if the reader were to dictate the content of the poems. Let's say the writer wants to write about war but the readers want poems about seasons and love? Should the writer fulfill the readers' wish.
I know if he/she wants to sell poems or produce that symmetry of communication, yes must be the answer; but would it fulfill the sense of having poems, poets and readers?
Dave
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on November 25, 2014, 02:50:53 PM
You can take anything to an extreme and make it ridiculous.

If you think that a poem that is understandable by the average reader is a cop out to the higher meaning of poetry, the answer is simple: Don't do it.

That's the beauty of art, you can do whatever you like.

The chance  of commercial success in an artistic endeavor of any kind is so difficult to achieve it should never be a consideration when you create. And the chance of readers 'ordering' poetry from you and turning you into an on-demand hack? Well, let's just say I wouldn't lose too much sleep over the threat.  ::)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on December 08, 2014, 11:35:57 AM
I came across this on an older RMP thread and thought it merits reposting:

Indar wrote:

Walt Whitman asked in "Leaves of Grass" something on the order of:

Have you ever reckoned a thousand acres--have you ever been as proud to get at the meaning of a poem?

A thousand acres is a lot to reckon and poems require the reader work at them. I think its wonderful to read a poem and instantly be drawn to it without really getting its meaning. I also think that initial response should draw the reader into a thoughtful exploration of possible meanings.

This seems to me a complex and certainly ambiguous poem (richness of ambiguity is a term often used to describe  the charm of poetry).

I also think working at reading poetry helps develop skill in writing it.

 - - - - - - - -
My response at the time was:

Excellent points, Indar.  I was surprised years ago that poems could come to life if I read and thought about them enough, or as Stafford suggests, breath on them.  I would read a poem once and it would either make some sense or none.  That would be it.  Then I learned.  A good poem gets better the more it is read.  And most poems worth their salt are not laying on the surface.  Some are, of course and that's nice.  But I cringe at what I have missed over the years by not spending more time with particular poems.


Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on December 08, 2014, 04:29:55 PM
Poems are made of words and what is a word other than an audible expression of experience? Words are symbols made of sound. As symbols they can never be what they represent. At their most basic they are pretty utilitarian, "bread", "home", "run", etc. To complicate matters further, we live in a world of ideas as much as we do of matter and we have to draw on the physical world to give these ideas voice. Very quickly the mind leaps from the object: bread to the idea: sustenance back to another object: money. And that's an easy one. Just think for a second on how the physical manifestation of light impressed upon us so powerfully that it is common to speak of a human being as, "brilliant". So common that no one would for a second question the description anywhere let alone a poem, but what could be more poetic? Surely the person isn't actual luminous, however we do call people luminaries, so who knows? Emerson said, "Every word was once a poem." I think this is what he meant.

My point with the above is to demonstrate, however poorly, just how big the question is and the problem we face when looking for an answer. Keep in mind, we aren't even addressing sound or structure, both critical elements of poetics.

I also throw it out there as cover for what is surely a cop out in addressing the idea of 'accessibility' in a poem. A poem is an experience both in the reading and the writing. Some are easily digestible and some take time. In some poems bread is bread and in others it's the body of Christ. What I look for personally is some form of consistency and cognizance on the part of the poet of the connotative relationships implied by their word choices. I like to feel I'm being manipulated into a new new experience, one that will let me see the world the poet sees or saw.

I agree that I take the most from those I have to work at. Some I've lived with for years and they still bear new fruit.  I guess my point is, even the easy isn't all that easy if you look hard enough. And when some folks say accessible, they actually mean familiar.

I may be naive, but I approach every poem (reader or writer) as attempt at clarity. That there is a nuance to the experience at hand that simply cannot be expressed in any other means. When I get it as a reader, I am enriched. When I connect as a poet, I am gratified.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on December 08, 2014, 04:52:53 PM
I think it comes down to a matter of style/taste.

Call me simplistic but I like to understand a poem the first time I read it. If on second read there are layers I didn't see, all the better. That is just my personal opinion as a reader.

When I write I want to be understood. I usually have something I want to say before I start a poem. If the reader doesn't understand, I don't feel I've done it right. If the reader gets a totally different image/thought, while a fascinating look into the individual psyche, I still would feel the same. That is just my personal opinion as a writer.

YMMV  8)

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on December 08, 2014, 04:54:31 PM
On a side note, I would never claim to be a poet, or even claim to be an educated reader. So keep that in mind,
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on December 08, 2014, 05:16:10 PM
On a side note, I would never claim to be a poet, or even claim to be an educated reader. So keep that in mind,
Only for an overabundance of modesty. 8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on December 09, 2014, 05:26:42 AM
I just want to arrange the words in a way that has a little music. (part of Marc's comment above).

For me, as a reader, it doesn't get better than the above. If I like it, then great. If I don't . . .well . . . then I move on to find something that I do.

As a writer, I like my poetry. I'd write it whether it was read or not. It's just another trait of my personality. 


(great comments from everyone. Enjoying the reading of this.) B 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: duck on December 09, 2014, 08:53:09 AM
Hamlet once said "To be or not to be, that is the question." This poetic line is simple, the words are easy, and there is a basic meaning which is both simple and easy and yet any intelligent reading will be aware that humans have been poring over the profound depths of this statement for centuries because the possibilities within it are as endless as the numbers of humans that might live. It is easy to appreciate that a reader wants to understand a poem/novel/song/conversation with their family members instantly but it will always be what 'I' understand and what I understand is limited by my own choices, willingness and experience as much as by the words themseves or the writer's intentions, which even in To be or not be are still not exactly clear though the sentence can quickly be understood. Any good to great work, from my point of view, offers those depths sometimes simply and sometimes in more complex form, and we should be grateful for both.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on December 09, 2014, 03:38:03 PM
Agreed, Dave. Well stated.

I also believe that poetry can happen when language is made to shimmer.  There are the common usages and context for words and when the words are used in that context there is doubt as to the precise meaning.  For example, "Has the car arrived? - yes." No disclarity, and no poetry. When words are challenged in their usage beyond the commonplace and made to address novel and/or unexpected circumstances, then new suggestions of meaning can arise (even if sometimes that is only by implication).  Sometimes the writer is allowed to sacrifice certainty for poetry.  Real poetry.  8)  
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on December 10, 2014, 05:49:24 AM
When confronted with a poem that doesn't make sense to you, how many times do you read it?

Are you stubborn and say "as many times as it takes"? That could be a real long time for some poems.

Or do you read it a couple, or 3 or 4 or... times and if nothing comes together, go off in search of something more accessible?

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: duck on December 10, 2014, 07:29:12 AM
Hi Heidi
I am sure there are no hard and fast rules. there are books/films/poems/paintings I have returned to off and on over many years and there are others, including the simlest and easiest things to understand where I have given up after one line, sometimes because I did not understand and sometimes because I did. My favourite always being Ulysses by Joyce, which I have started many times and always given up on page 2. Some poems catch the attention and some don't that#s life, but there acannot be a worthwhile rule to measure the level of interest a poem 'should' generate or how much meaning it is supposed to offer, as this is indeed subjective. Lucky the few who can write a poem that everyone can understand and enjoy and find excellent.
Dave
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on December 10, 2014, 10:10:25 AM
When confronted with a poem that doesn't make sense to you, how many times do you read it?

Are you stubborn and say "as many times as it takes"? That could be a real long time for some poems.

Or do you read it a couple, or 3 or 4 or... times and if nothing comes together, go off in search of something more accessible?



Excellent questions, and like Dave, I have no hard and fast rules.  It mostly depends on my level of confidence that there are diamonds in the mine. 8)   All of this can depend on author, context, title, first line, etc.   If its a poem by one of my favorite authors, then my confidence level is high and I'll stay at it, or keep coming back.  Its a marvelous feeling to find the diamonds and with the better poets, well worth the effort.

And of course, if its a MWC-posted poem, then I stick with it because that's the only way I can give meaningful feedback.  Nobody intends to write gibberish so even if a poem doesn't work, it can be instructive to figure out what the poem is trying to do, and how its trying.  I'm not much of a Billy Collins fan, but he wrote an astoundingly good poem that tells how to read a poem.  I strongly recommend the entertaining and highly profitable experience of reading his entire poem, over and over and over. 8)   I only quote part of it here because we are prohibited from quoting full poems (here's the link: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/176056 ):


I say drop a mouse into a poem  
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room  
and feel the walls for a light switch.




Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on December 31, 2014, 06:18:26 PM
I found some tremendous comments about the poem writing process on a RMP thread and thought they should maybe get wider and/or more direct attention, so I shamelessly cut, and now I shamelessly paste:

My scribblings usually begin with a simple thought...a blue silk sky.
Then I try to find non generic ways of describing what I observe.
I give inanimate things extra dimensions...and all of a sudden I find metaphors and depth.
I've never written anything with a purpose in mind, all of my poems evolve from a word or thought. It's simply the love of stringing words, connecting them. I'm surrounded by spoken words...vacuous and generic. Social media is worse. In poetry I understand the value, beauty and secrets of language. Still learning...and slowly understanding why most people don't 'get' poetry...it's because they don't write it.

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on January 29, 2015, 07:13:09 PM


This comment is in reaction to an attempt to stifle suggestions for a new poet to attempt to find the theme and get it into words before focusing on hard end-rhymes.  I believe poetry consists of lots of elements, and the heart of the art is amazingly difficult to capture.  Its not hard to dress up choppy, ill-considered, ungrammatical prose with line breaks and stanza constructions, and artificial hard end-rhymes.  Its my view that is no shortcut to learning poetry.

T
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: duck on January 30, 2015, 05:35:49 AM
Hi
Personally, I think very often the wrong questions are being asked and therefore the wrong answers come out. The quote is good because it stays open - how do I set about writing a poem? - and not closed - which is the right way to set about writing a poem? Frankly, any 'art' is a combination of skill - some this being of a regulated nature as in using the tools of the trade - and some being creativity and subverting the tools of the trade or adapting them to need. Any poet or person wanting to write poetry tries to do both. How much of each he or she would like to be able to/could develop is personal. likewise the order of learning. The rhyme/meter or no rhyme/meter discussion I ahve always thought was a tedious non-discussion. It suggests a polarity that simply does not exist: sort like asking whether it is better to kick with your left or right foot.
dave
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on February 01, 2015, 01:27:19 PM
Sorry Dave, sorry Lon.  I was too harsh, too judgmental.  Of course folks come to poetry in their own way.  While intending to champion that thought I think I expressed the contrary and did so in too didactic a manner.  Each of us should be free to comment on posted poems with our own best thoughts.  We are here to assist each other in improving our craft.  If a particular exercise appears potentially beneficial to a writer, it should be suggested.  Some stuff is an absolute waste of time, but its up to each of us to decide what may appear profitable to explore.  

So here’s my deal.  I don’t like bad rhyming verse.  The only thing worse than bad rhyming verse is bad free verse - and vice-versa.  :) There is the conceit with bad free verse poetry writers that abandoning traditional form liberates poetic text from artificial and arbitrary limitations and thus by definition makes it better poetry.  There is the misunderstanding among bad traditional verse writers that capping a series of lard-bloated, syntactically-constipated and grammatically-nauseated lines with hard rhyme makes it poetry.  

The challenge for traditional verse writers is to fit a poem into a particular predetermined form.  That requires being able to find the poem, not just the da-da-da rhyme.  The challenge for free verse writers is to express the poem without the safety net of the form.  That requires being able to find the poem, not just the narrative.  

If a person can’t find the poetry, then there will be no poem, however it may be dressed up.  I am as intolerant of hard-rhyme in bad verse writing as I am with resort to the return-key in free verse.  If there is no poetic event, then neither rhymes nor spacing will create one.  

So my penchant for improving as a writer is the concerted attempt, first, to identify a poetic content.  Is there a sense someplace that is something more than prose?  Is there a linguistic nuance that carries some additional interest?  Is there a human breath between the words?  Is there pause that ignites an unexpected thought?  Until a writer can find these things, even a small percentage of the time, the writing is exercise.  

Another large, and largely un-talked-about, step in writing a poem is the understanding of symbolic language.  It is a specific skill to be able to select an appropriate simile and use it effectively.  The result is more often undercooked then overcooked, but both are a risk.  A good metaphor is also a challenging animal to properly feed and care for.  And those are just the surface matters.  The implied metaphor can be an overwhelmingly power foundation for a poem.  Then there is the lingering sense of allegory, real or imagined.  

Another matter is the managing of images - selecting, polishing, presenting, and layering.  Often poems fail because images clash, or misrepresent, are ill-chosen or ill-presented.   Are they over-done?  Or too cryptic?  

There is the view that a writer should not attempt serious formal verse-writing until there is first at least some journeyman-level craftsmanship with metaphor and image.  There is also the view that a writer cannot seriously attempt quality free verse poetry until s/he has acquired some level of proficiency at the writing of traditional metered forms of English poetry.  I happen to agree with both of these views.

Just my thoughts.
 8)
T
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Jo Bannister on February 01, 2015, 03:24:50 PM
This is an extremely well-argued piece, Tom.  I happen to agree with pretty well everything you say, but even if I didn't I would be struck by the perceptiveness of your analysis.  Aspiring poets - and even dull prosiers like myself - could do worse than test their output against your check-list.

Just your thoughts, hey?  Well, keep them coming!
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on February 01, 2015, 03:50:14 PM
Thanks Jo, for the kind comments.  I posted this because I felt embarrassed by the seeming bombast of my prior two posts, here and in RMP.   And the presumptuousness.  I can fall victim, as I did. 

BTW - why aren't you posting more poetry?  It can only help your prose, even that is your primary focus.  Just saying. ::)

T  
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Amie on February 02, 2015, 05:23:27 AM
I don't think you were bombastic Tom. And you've made some excellent points. People can be dogmatic on both sides. The key point here is that the important part is the poem. If you can develop rhyming skills at the same time as improving your use of imagery and metaphor, then fantastic. But very often people treat the rhyming as if it is an end in itself - if you rhyme and it makes sense and has a reasonable meter, it is treated as a triumph, regardless of whether or not the poem makes you feel anything. Which, I guess it is a triumph of sorts, but not of poetry-writing.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on February 02, 2015, 02:09:37 PM
Sorry Dave, sorry Lon.  I was too harsh, too judgmental.  Of course folks come to poetry in their own way.  While intending to champion that thought I think I expressed the contrary and did so in too didactic a manner.  Each of us should be free to comment on posted poems with our own best thoughts.  We are here to assist each other in improving our craft.  If a particular exercise appears potentially beneficial to a writer, it should be suggested.  Some stuff is an absolute waste of time, but its up to each of us to decide what may appear profitable to explore.  

So here’s my deal.  I don’t like bad rhyming verse.  The only thing worse than bad rhyming verse is bad free verse - and vice-versa.  :) There is the conceit with bad free verse poetry writers that abandoning traditional form liberates poetic text from artificial and arbitrary limitations and thus by definition makes it better poetry.  There is the misunderstanding among bad traditional verse writers that capping a series of lard-bloated, syntactically-constipated and grammatically-nauseated lines with hard rhyme makes it poetry.  

The challenge for traditional verse writers is to fit a poem into a particular predetermined form.  That requires being able to find the poem, not just the da-da-da rhyme.  The challenge for free verse writers is to express the poem without the safety net of the form.  That requires being able to find the poem, not just the narrative.  

If a person can’t find the poetry, then there will be no poem, however it may be dressed up.  I am as intolerant of hard-rhyme in bad verse writing as I am with resort to the return-key in free verse.  If there is no poetic event, then neither rhymes nor spacing will create one.  

So my penchant for improving as a writer is the concerted attempt, first, to identify a poetic content.  Is there a sense someplace that is something more than prose?  Is there a linguistic nuance that carries some additional interest?  Is there a human breath between the words?  Is there pause that ignites an unexpected thought?  Until a writer can find these things, even a small percentage of the time, the writing is exercise.  

Another large, and largely un-talked-about, step in writing a poem is the understanding of symbolic language.  It is a specific skill to be able to select an appropriate simile and use it effectively.  The result is more often undercooked then overcooked, but both are a risk.  A good metaphor is also a challenging animal to properly feed and care for.  And those are just the surface matters.  The implied metaphor can be an overwhelmingly power foundation for a poem.  Then there is the lingering sense of allegory, real or imagined.  

Another matter is the managing of images - selecting, polishing, presenting, and layering.  Often poems fail because images clash, or misrepresent, are ill-chosen or ill-presented.   Are they over-done?  Or too cryptic?  

There is the view that a writer should not attempt serious formal verse-writing until there is first at least some journeyman-level craftsmanship with metaphor and image.  There is also the view that a writer cannot seriously attempt quality free verse poetry until s/he has acquired some level of proficiency at the writing of traditional metered forms of English poetry.  I happen to agree with both of these views.

Just my thoughts.
 8)
T


T, amazing post. Worthy of a sticky.

I've been thinking about this for myself and my own writing and for how to comment on others poems. One of the great things about this site is that it has forced me to read things closely that I would like have overlooked in another setting. Either because it didn't fit my preferences, or I thought it was "bad", whatever. But the act of reading with the intent of giving meaningful feedback has done more for me than any of my comments could have done for the poets whose works I've been reading. It's made me go back and look at established poets whose work I'd dismissed for one reason or another and read that more closely. (Still hate Whitman, sorry).

Sadly my biggest take away from this discussion and all discussions like it is a cliché. If you want to write poetry, read it. Read lots of it, read all kinds of it. The first step to becoming a poet is actually liking poetry.

More than once in your post you mention "finding the poem", or "finding the poetry". That's a great expression. I've "found the poetry" in Marvell's, "To His Coy Mistress"  and in Williams, "Complete Destruction". So I'm with Dave on the argument being a non-argument. Preferences are not rules.

I'm wandering all over the place, anyway your comments got me thinking. Thanks for that.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on February 02, 2015, 02:44:05 PM

Brilliant post T. Puts vague notions into clear words.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on February 02, 2015, 06:31:51 PM
CP -- Many good points you make, and well stated.  This tangle of topics does get a person thinking.  I agree about the inestimable value of reading poetry, and reading with the intention of giving meaningful feedback.   It’s the same process for each.  It helps to find the sense of the poem before anything else.  After clomping into the clearing, if you are quiet, the rabbits do come back to play.  Its like that sometimes to find the poem.  I absolutely love the way Billy Collins describes it in Introduction to Poetry - “. . . drop a mouse into a poem / and watch him probe his way out, // or walk inside the poem's room / and feel the walls for a light switch.”   After that, then it makes some sense to examine the technique, look for the brush strokes, and listen for the soundtrack.  Sometimes its absolutely easy.  With the published  poems of (maybe) famous writers, you can pretty much bet there’s something sparkly in the mine.  Its more chancy and challenging with amateur writing as posted here.  Sometimes though, the rewards are high for a patient and diligent reader.  And there is no better way to learn poetry than to take a poem apart to see what makes it work.  

And you are certainly right about the threshold of actually liking poetry.  It sounds goofy to say, doesn’t it?  I’m convinced, though, that there are folks who want to write poetry that don’t seem to like poetry (other than their own, of course).    

I love the two poems you cite -  "To His Coy Mistress"  and "Complete Destruction", and the reasons for citing these two.  As far as stunning traditional poetic lines, I would add this couplet by Lowell (found amidst his horrid poetic tribute to a recently deceased friend):
 
  I seem to see the black procession go:
  That crawling prose of death too well I know,

and the Ferguson classic:

But solemn is the silence of the silvery haze
  That drinks away their voices in echoless repose,
And dreamily the evening has still'd the haunted braes,
  And dreamier the gloaming grows.


I’d like to know how a person writes that!

I ramble.


Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Amie on February 05, 2015, 08:59:53 AM
Comments from Lon Palmer:

Quote
6.  Use of self-consciously poetic or antiquated language

I think because many of us had mostly 17th and 18th century poetry fed to us in school (and some never read beyond this for some peculiar reason), occasionally you see people using words like "ere" or "ne'er" or "naught" or even "doth" in modern poems.  No one speaks like that these days, so if you use that sort of language in a poem, it will draw undue attention to itself.  That's fine if you want the focus of your poem to be the word "ere", but otherwise, use modern English.  The idea is to make the ideas and imagery the focus of the poem, not to jar the reader out of the experience by using unnatural language.

I must respectfully disagree with this . . . with a couple of provisos.

Anachronistic language is, itself, a tradition. Thee, thou and ye were becoming antiquated in Shakespeare's time. Coleridge was criticized for using archaic language in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" - but would anyone really want to update it? It depends what flavour you want. I see nothing wrong in archaic language if it is used properly and consistently throughout a poem.

Now, the provisos:

There are levels of anachronism, roughly corresponding to the time from which they hail, and the further back you go, the more difficult it is to use well. And I think you have to have a good reason for it, for example, if you are writing a poem about something that is literally from that time period or has the feel of it, then why not use language from that time?

Of course, if you're going to do that, you have to do it well. You must, for instance, get your thees (object) and thous (subject) straight or it's just bad grammar. Also, using thees or thous for the sake of securing a rhyme when you use "you" elsewhere for the same reason is just awful. Similarly, if you're going to use things like "dost" (second person) and "doth" (third person), or it's more bad grammar. "Thee doth" is kind of like "You does".

Poetic contractions (for rhythm), like "ne'er" are, in my opinion, another matter, as are some other "poetic" words. If you want to write in that tone because it somehow suits your thought, why not? Some people will give you grief for it, but that's their problem, isn't it?  

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark H on February 05, 2015, 09:52:12 AM
re Use of self-consciously poetic or antiquated language

I read point 6 as simply a warning to people who might write in that way because (through lack of exposure) that is how they think poetry is written. It is saying: you don't have to write that way and in fact these days, most poets do not write that way.

What is perhaps a mistake in that sticky is the combining of "Critiquing guidelines" with "Suggestions for new poetry writers" simply because the subjects are so unrelated and the last thing you want is a new writer using a suggestion as a critiquing guideline.  Just my opinion.  :)

M
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Amie on February 05, 2015, 10:10:07 AM
Nick doesn't like lots of stickies, so he asked me to combine the two - there is no other reason.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark H on February 05, 2015, 10:21:52 AM
Nick doesn't like lots of stickies, so he asked me to combine the two - there is no other reason.

Ah! Typical bully-boy poet bashing tactics!!! So he allows most boards to have 3+ and games to have 5 but the poets must only have 2. Disgraceful!!!!

He lives a few miles from me, shall I go and have a "quiet" word with him?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Amie on February 05, 2015, 10:24:39 AM
I know, it's outrageous ;)

Be careful though, he knows jujitsu.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark H on February 05, 2015, 10:29:23 AM
That's nothing, I know Jujitsu's dad, and he's a bad mother cuddler.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on March 14, 2015, 02:05:27 PM
http://home.earthlink.net/~pero/bob-foster.html

I have gone to the workshop mentioned in this article for a few weeks. Bob Foster is well-regarded by the participants in Beyond Baroque and beyond :). He is not shy during his critiques. One instance i can think of: I read one of my poems with the line suddenly I was reminded Bob said one never uses the word "suddenly" it is verboten (sp?) There are many such rules. I believe rules that exist for good reason are a good thing. But I don't understand this one. Suddenly I feel terribly insecure about my judgement in these matters.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Amie on March 14, 2015, 02:36:49 PM
I don't know why "suddenly" should be any worse than any other adverb. Adverrbs in general hint at suboptimal verb selection, but not sure why that one should be singled out. Probably a fashion - wait a hundred years and "suddenly" will be all the rage ;)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on March 14, 2015, 02:45:25 PM
Adverrbs in general hint at suboptimal verb selection,

Thanks Amie, you've given me something to look at that makes sense.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark H on March 14, 2015, 06:00:21 PM
I just wrote this in define llama

Quote
That feeling you get when you are so drunk the room spins round and round and you begin to wish the busty woman in the nurses outfit was actually a nurse.

And I think suddenly is just like begin to. They are just padding and doing away with them does not diminish the story in any way.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on March 14, 2015, 11:50:04 PM
I joined this forum in 2009 and learned along the way to look for strong verbs without ever getting the message that adverbs tend to weaken the writing. I've been googling and reading up on it a bit today---my eyes are opened---suddenly.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on March 15, 2015, 06:48:13 AM
   Why suddenly is unpopular...

   The recent comments about suddenly being verboten, or about as popular as an unexpected red-headed child in a family line of blondes, triggered this little bit of whimsy, which you may revile, enjoy, or ignore at your whim.  I avoided the temptation to render - or perhaps simply rend - it in verse, for which you may be grateful.

   'Sudden' Lee was a young gypsy who was always surprising people by bursting into their vans unannounced, or leaping onto their horse and riding away.  Not always unexpected things, because by the age of sixteen he was well known for his extreme spontaneity, thus explaining his wagon-name, but certainly never expected right there and then.

   It started when he arrived only seven months into his mothers's pregnancy, an unexpected arrival which gave rise to his early nickname - still used by some when they thought he wasn't listening - of 'Bastard'.  Although bastardly has a nice rounded poetic ring to it young Sudden was never a fan of phonics, and his parents were wed by the time he arrived.

   But it was the first time the Vicar had ever needed to deliver a baby in the vestry, between the religious ceremony and the signing of the formal paperwork.

   Almost anyone who ever saw Sudden in action would talk for ages afterwards, although it has to be admitted that some, finding themselves with a broken jaw after using the wrong name, couldn't talk immediately after the event.  But the gap in between gave them time to polish up their invective for when the wires and bandages were finally removed.

   ===
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on March 15, 2015, 01:06:08 PM
Thanks Gyppo---that cleared it all up.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 15, 2015, 01:06:40 PM
These are interesting notions about adverbs and suddenly.  The best uses for adverbs are admittedly limited, but the same is true for adjectives, and prepositional phrases, and other parts of speech that can be little more than lard. Of course I can (and often do) write line after line of adverb-less and adjective-less sentences of subject-verb-object which are little more than lard.  I agree that poor use of adverbs (and adjectives) is a sign of bad writing, but not more so that poor use of verbs and nouns, sloppy word choices, queezey  grammar and marginal punctuation.   Bad writing is bad writing.  

For those who insist adverbs must be avoided, how would you suggest Emily Dickenson re-write Because I could not stop for Death-- / He kindly stopped for me-- ? or Come slowly -- Eden!   What upgrades do you suggest to Dylan Thomas to improve Do no go gentle into that good night?

And how would you suggest the adverbs be beneficially detangled and extricated from James Wright's passage about two ponies in The Blessing:

They ripple tensely, then can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans.  They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.

- - - - - -

I love reading about new (to me) ways of looking at poetry and how to write better.  The question is how to keep or build a firm foundation (when the winds of changes shift ;D).    Here's one simple method.  I have a collection of poems that I think are just terrific.  I recommend everyone make their own list/collection.  Pick the poems that speak to you, that cause you to go wow!  The ones that sound great and you can't wait to share with someone that might listen - those poems that make you want to write and to read more poems.  the list may start at 3 or 4, mine is up to nineteen. Poems that never get old, but grow richer with time.  My list has as many IP poems as free verse. There are two villanelles.  And, surprise, there are two poems by MWC writers mixed in with those by Yeats, Tennyson, Wright, Stafford, Berry, Ferguson, Heaney, Hennen, etc.

This list helps keep me grounded.  When I read a proposed new rule, I look through my small collection of best poems.  If the best poems are deemed bad or wrong or in violation of the rule, then its the proposed rule that has problems.  When someone says that a poem has to be immediately understandable, then I think how that applies to Yeats' The Second Coming.  It irrelevant to me that someone else may think that's a defective poem.  I'd give my left nut to be able to write that poem.  Okay, maybe not my left nut, but CP's for sure. :)

Same with adverbs, and that's what I did here.  I think its great to try to be conscious of how we construct our lines and how words function with and play off of each other.  Rule?  I don't think its a rule.

As for "suddenly", how about Sharon Olds and Billy Collins?


Sharon Olds:

And suddenly, it’s today, it’s this morning
they are putting Ruth into the earth,
her breasts going down, under the hill,
like the moon and sun going down together.
. . . .


Tension by Billy Collins

            “Never use the word suddenly just to
            create tension.”
                        —Writing Fiction

Suddenly, you were planting some yellow petunias
outside in the garden,
and suddenly I was in the study
looking up the word oligarchy for the thirty-seventh time.

When suddenly, without warning,
you planted the last petunia in the flat,
and I suddenly closed the dictionary
now that I was reminded of that vile form of governance.

A moment later, we found ourselves
standing suddenly in the kitchen
where you suddenly opened a can of cat food
and I just as suddenly watched you doing that.

I observed a window of leafy activity
and, beyond that, a bird perched on the edge
of the stone birdbath
when suddenly you announced you were leaving

to pick up a few things at the market
and I stunned you by impulsively
pointing out that we were getting low on butter
and another case of wine would not be a bad idea.

Who could tell what the next moment would hold?
Another drip from the faucet?
Another little spasm of the second hand?
. . . .

. . . .
Would the heavy anthologies remain on their shelves?
Would the stove hold its position?
Suddenly, it was anyone’s guess.

The sun rose ever higher.
The state capitals remained motionless on the wall map
when suddenly I found myself lying on a couch
where I closed my eyes and without any warning

began to picture the Andes, of all places,
and a path that led over the mountain to another country
with strange customs and eye-catching hats
suddenly fringed with little colorful, dangling balls.



All of this is just my opinion in its current condition.  I'm looking for answers, even just tentative ones.

T

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on March 15, 2015, 02:11:06 PM
Wow T,

Thank you for this. I have been on a Sharon Olds kick lately and knew of this and another poem in which she uses "suddenly". For as long as I've been reading (and sometimes consciously trying to imitate) Billy Collins I've never seen the one you posted here.

Strangly, suddenly is a word that I happen to like a lot but sadly I will try to limit its use. I've posted a link to the Wright poem here on MWC in the past, it happens to be in my top 10.



Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on March 15, 2015, 07:17:12 PM
Thank you, Tom! I like your idea of keeping a list of best poems. And being a Sharon Olds fan, I like your examples.

And, yes, I take all of the "rules" with a grain of salt. In poetry, are there really any rules? Good stuff -- that resonates deeply -- is quite simply, good stuff. To hell with "rules." (Of course if you're teaching this stuff to neophytes you need to rein in the fledglings.)  ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on March 16, 2015, 10:30:32 AM
How many rules does this poem break?

http://www.english.upenn.edu/~jenglish/Courses/Spring02/104/steinpicasso.html

If you're thinking along the lines of "Well, that's different. You have to consider the poet's subject and intent.", then you're on the right path.

There are no rules to writing—none, only techniques. The art lays in applying those techniques in the most effective way possible to evoke the response you desire from your readers. Before anyone start responding about spelling, grammar, etc. I'm not denigrating convention, or its value. Often, or even the majority of the time, the conventional approach is the 'right' one. My point is the driver ought to be the author's intent and not the convention itself.

To further confuse the issue, there is a tendency to apply the techniques of effective prose to poetry. Poetry is not prose. If it were the following stanza from To a Poor Old Woman, by W.C. Williams would be the manifestation of a mental breakdown and not a brilliant application of line division:

"They taste good to her
They taste good
to her. They taste
good to her..."


My point is do what you do for a reason. Understand why you're doing it. If it conforms to a convention, make sure it's because you want the very real benefits of a conventional approach. This understanding and examination of your own intent is doubly important if you hazard to break with convention. It is the people that have done this effectively that we most value and whos techniques ultimately make their ways into the conventions of subsequent generations.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 16, 2015, 01:02:41 PM
Excellent points, CP.  That's a marvelous poem to which you linked.  Great writing there which breaks the rules.  I  guess 26. ;D

I agree with the thrust of what you say.  Poetic license, I think, is much like free speech.  You can say what you want, you can write what you want, but there can be inevitable consequences.  For example, while the government can’t prevent you from calling your boss a child-molester, you may get fired and you may be sued.  And of course you are always at liberty to use poetic license to misspell words, but the result may simply be that you’re viewed as stupid.   Too often poetic license is used by poor writers as a substitute for learning all of the conventions of language - word choice and arrangement, meaning, context, grammar, syntax, spelling, punctuation, intonation, accent, rhythm.   Effective use of poetic license implies knowing the conventional usage and consciously choosing to follow or not to follow.  

Its usually more helpful to think of the conventions/rules of language and all of its components more as tools.  Good poets don’t write for approval’s sake, but to bring the reader some measure of magic that prose can’t.  All of the tools are needed and the hope is they are enough.  Poets ask the most extraordinary thing of language – to go beyond itself.  In poems everything is possible, even things beyond language.  Or, especially those things beyond language.   Every jot and dot in a poem is a clue to the reader, another trail marker, another little magnet to curve the arc.   We need to use our best meager efforts to learn and use every tool in the toolbox.  Sometimes the best uses are those for which the tool was not originally designed.

I ramble again.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on March 18, 2015, 03:58:57 PM
Getting pretty close to time for you to start writing your book on "the Elements of Poetry" isn't it T?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on March 18, 2015, 06:36:33 PM
Getting pretty close to time for you to start writing your book on "the Elements of Poetry" isn't it T?

Hear, hear!  ;D ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 18, 2015, 06:47:46 PM
J
F
C

yous guys are nuts. ;D

T
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: JosieW on March 20, 2015, 10:32:01 AM
To me it is very important that people understand what I'm talking about whether I speak aloud, write in prose or in poetry.  It could be that I have been a teacher and speaking in a way that is understood by everyone was so important.  What I really HATE are poems that have so much depth to them that I can't understand anything - and, well, that goes for many things in the arts world.  Most of my writing is for children and young people - although adults like it - and they like to understand what they are reading.  I hope that my poems never appear in an examination paper, met by young people in their teens, with the question:  "Explain what you  think the writer meant when she said ......................" - because alive or dead, I will surely scream, ha ha  (So boring!!)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on March 20, 2015, 10:41:02 AM
I hear you Josie. The older I get, the simpler I get. And I don't think that's a bad thing -- quite the contrary. I like poems that are accessible. Don't make me guess what you are trying to say. Unfortunately, a lot of poets think they don't sound intelligent if they aren't baffling.  ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on March 20, 2015, 01:38:57 PM
Accessibility in poetry is a slippery topic. Let me preface by saying I share your feelings regarding obscurity for its own sake and flat out affectation. But when the concept of accessibility comes up, I immediately ask, "accessible to who" and "what is being accessed?".

If the entire content of a poem can be perfectly paraphrased then its not much of poem. Actually, I'd say it's not a poem at all. Any attempt to define poetry is doomed to failure, but I don't mind failing. A poem is a composition of words in which the form can be defined distinct from the substance, but the substance cannot be defined absent the form. (By form I mean whatever form the poet chooses. I'm not referring to forms in the traditional sense.)

In a post above Tom mentions fully exploiting the language. This includes the everyday meaning of the words, the peripheral and tertiary meanings, the literary and historical connotations, the sounds and the emotional responses they invoke. Given the profound flexibility of the English language, the structure of a poem is a critical element in all but the first of those.

By now you may be asking what this has to do with accessibility. Well, as a poet I'm not only trying to communicate information, I'm trying to create an experience. The subtleties of experience are impossible to put into words. Just look at anything within your view this instant and know that in the fraction of a second that it took for your eyes to settle on it, your mind processed not only the prosaic definition of the object, but the temperature of the room, your mood, the motion of a thousand specs of dust, the ambient noise, the list goes on forever. I'm doing a poor job, but I hope the point comes trough.

I certainly strive for communication and clarity in my writing. I don't 'write for myself'. I honestly believe that there are times when limiting myself to historic convention and/or current fashion would be a detriment to that effort. Speaking only for myself I am acutely aware of when I deviate from the norm and know exactly why I'm doing it. whether it's successful or not is another matter entirely.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on March 20, 2015, 03:26:59 PM
Excellent points Marc. And I probably spoke too broadly, as I am guilty of often. I think when you mention "obscurity for its own sake and affectation," that is what I am talking about. I have read poems that are moving, delightful, etc., that I didn't fully understand, and they were authentic experiences nonetheless. I stand corrected.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on March 20, 2015, 03:35:24 PM
Not at all, Kate. I hope I didn't appear to be taking issue. This is a great topic and one we touch on from time to time. I love to read everyone's thoughts about the nut and bolts and can get carried away. So, while I did use your post as a launching point, I was by no means implying anything about the scope of your statements.

I'm also well aware that I'm no authority. Please take anything I say with the understand that I'm just some schmuck with an Internet connection who enjoys spouting off.

Marc
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on March 20, 2015, 03:40:03 PM
I'm also well aware that I'm no authority. Please take anything I say with the understand that I'm just some schmuck with an Internet connection who enjoys spouting off.

Well, we've got that in common! :-)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 20, 2015, 05:19:06 PM
And I raise my sword to the same declarative!!

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark H on March 20, 2015, 05:39:51 PM
The best things in life are an acquired taste. We don't leap form spaghetti hoops to green olives, from strawberry milkshakes to taquila, from pop music to jazz, or form nursery rhymes to poetry in a single bound. So one man's accessibility is another man's tediously bland.

Just saying.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on March 20, 2015, 06:02:41 PM
My "accessible" poems are, no doubt, tediously bland, but I have never read a poem by Sharon Olds, or Mary Oliver, or ee cumings or Langston Hughes or [a hundred others, fill in the blank] that was inaccessible or tediously bland. The skill lies beyond the accessibility-ness of it, in my opinion.

Love the dialog. :-)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Jo Bannister on March 21, 2015, 04:49:12 AM
I'm with Josie and Kate.  And I don't know which poems Cornelius has been reading that aren't really poetry at all because they can be understood.  (I know he said paraphrased, but I think he meant understood!)  My bookshelves groan under the weight of poetry I have no difficulty in understanding - and paraphrasing, if called upon to do so. 

It's just such a contradiction in terms, to say you're a writer - of any sort - yet your aim is to obstruct communication. 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on March 21, 2015, 09:13:02 AM
I can only speak for myself here but when I write anything it's almost always because I have a thought, a story or an experience I want to share. So for me, it all starts with communication.

Wordsmithing; putting the right words in the right places to create form, pleasing rhythms and sounds is the art I try to apply to that concept.

I'm sure it stems from being primarily a prose writer but if I lose/confuse the reader it doesn't matter how good the wordsmithing. Personal fail. Does that make a lot of my poems tediously bland? You betcha!  :D

Other poets feel the wordsmithing is the most important element and communication/comprehension doesn't matter. It's true we all have poems we love that we don't completely understand in a logical sense. But the wordsmithing has to be very special for a poem to achieve that for me.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on March 21, 2015, 09:15:26 AM
Thanks Jo and Heidi.

I was just wondering WTH happened to Josie!? Hung me out to dry and headed for the hills!  :'(
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 21, 2015, 09:55:20 AM
Is she AWOL??
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: JosieW on March 21, 2015, 10:12:17 AM
No, not quite AWOL.  I'm probably a simple person and to me language is the conveyance of one's thoughts to another person, in whatever form that may be.  It may be prose or it may be poetry, but to simple me, if the English language is such that I don't understand it, then it has failed in its purpose in life.  Incidentally, and I know this is probably only me, I don't like to see English written badly with punctuation marks missing and also capitals etc.  But then, don't forget that a lot of my writing goes into school classrooms where children are learning to read and write, so this would be important to me.  Shhhh - don't tell Mr Cummings what I've said, ha ha  The worst thing is that, writing for children, I often get emails from their teachers and oh oh oh!!!  I hardly ever see one that doesn't have English mistakes within.  Yet I was taught in the dark ages, ie just after the war years, when we had little paper and books, and I was an 11 plus failure, but we left school quite able to tell the world where the apostrophe went and how to spell.  We were taught with the threat of the cane, so we made sure we learned these things, ha ha
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark H on March 21, 2015, 10:42:00 AM
Josie

Time to learn about line breaks and the importance of white space  ;) Or do I need to get my cane out  ;D

Mark
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: JosieW on March 21, 2015, 10:54:38 AM
Ha ha - - Yes, that was certainly how it was I'm afraid, and I have to tell you that I was one who was caned - but not for punctuation.  But somehow it worked because we made sure we learned our spellings and knew where the apostrophes went.  How cruel!!!!
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 21, 2015, 01:09:54 PM
I'm with Josie and Kate.  And I don't know which poems Cornelius has been reading that aren't really poetry at all because they can be understood.  (I know he said paraphrased, but I think he meant understood!)  My bookshelves groan under the weight of poetry I have no difficulty in understanding - and paraphrasing, if called upon to do so. 

It's just such a contradiction in terms, to say you're a writer - of any sort - yet your aim is to obstruct communication. 


Jo Bannister -

I think you have a legitimate view to articulate, but it hurts your cause to intentionally misstate another person’s position in order to make it more easily attackable.   Most folks were just stating their own positions here.  I don’t know why you felt a need to make this personal and go off on CP.  While I don’t agree with everything Poe says, I think you are trying to shape him into your straw man.  By doing so you’ve clearly made responding in kind to your position fair game.
 
You ascribe to Cornelius the absurd position that its not a poem if anyone can understand it.  He didn’t say that and you admit as much.  He doesn’t proclaim “I am a writer and my aim is to obstruct communication”.   I don’t know anyone who does.  And seriously, do you?

What CP wrote was, “If the entire content of a poem can be perfectly paraphrased then its not much of poem.”  That’s pretty noncontroversial for anyone with a rudimentary understanding of poetry.  Its at the heart of the art.  Poetic events are at the edge or just over the line of the limits of prose, they are found in the folds of a crumpled or shaken linguistic blanket, in the flashes from hilltop to hilltop.  Pick a poem and paraphrase it.  When you are done paraphrasing, there is something left.  What is left is the poetry.  If you complete your paraphrase and there is nothing left, there wasn’t any poetry to start with. 

An easy example:  paraphrase this: Hickory dickory doc / the mouse ran up the clock.  You can’t.  You can't get the entire content.   You can’t by prose get to the poetic heart of even this nursery rhyme.  You can sterilize it, but that's not the same thing.  And looking at a poem and seeing only the sterile parts are not the same thing either.

An instruction manual can be serviceably paraphrased.  A poem cannot.  Its just that simple.

I fully understand and appreciate the position that if a poem doesn’t seem to make perfect sense on first reading, why bother with it.  It could be a waste of time to read it over and over and still not get a feel for it.  I don’t take issue with anyone who sorts poems on the basis of ease of access - easy ones I like, hard ones I don’t; simple ones I like, complex ones I don’t, etc.  We all have our own tolerance levels for nuance and complexity.   

I do take issue with the position that poems we think are not easy, or simple, or have more nuance or complexity than we are willing to accept are the failures of the writers.  Its preposterous.  It is not the job of William Shakespeare, or Denise Levertov or Alfred, Lord Tennyson to dummy their poems down for me, to write in paraphraseable prose or to mimic instruction-manual style writing for my benefit.   

Points are easier made with examples.

1.   Read this passage from Clenched Soul, by Pablo Neruda, and consider the last two lines.

. . . . .
We have lost even this twilight.
No one saw us this evening hand in hand
while the blue night dropped on the world.

I have seen from my window
the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops.

Sometimes a piece of sun
burned like a coin in my hand.

I remembered you with my soul clenched
in that sadness of mine that you know.
 
I can’t possibly write a perfect paraphrase of the entire content of those two lines.  Are you satisfied with “I’m sad and you know it”?  So much more is conveyed by this than any paraphrase can do justice to.  The “so much more” part is the poetry of the narrative.  I can’t put it into different words and I defy you to do so.  Does this make it pretentious writing that should be disregarded?  No, and its wrong to say the poet has failed.


2.   Here is a snippet from the poem I, Too by Langston Hughes:


I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
. . . .

Is there more in this than just a black guy in the kitchen?  Yes, there is the entire socio-political commentary.  As a 13 year old I understood none of that, so to me it was just the story of a guy in the kitchen - seemingly fully accessible.  So by your standard it was a good poem to the uninformed and ignorant me?  As I grew older I came to a larger understanding of what the poem was talking about.  Reading the poem now triggers extended and complex reflections on the American experience.  I’m still not sure I understand it - so has this poem become over time a failure for Langston Hughes?  I don't think so.  Its a marvelous part of the American literary heritage whether I personally understand it or not.


3.   Here are the beginning lines from the poem What We Need is Here by Wendell Berry:


Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. . . .

What is the ancient faith?  While the reader can’t put it into words, there is the feeling this poem gives - a beautiful, warm feeling beyond understanding of the words.  Is the poem a failure if I should say I don’t understand it?  I hate to think Berry’s book would then need to be republished without this marvel.


4.    Emily Dickinson is renowned for her clarity of writing.  Does anyone claim there is a way to perfectly paraphrase the entirety of the content of this passage from Because I Could Not Stop for Death:


Because I could not stop for Death--
He kindly stopped for me--
The Carriage held but just Ourselves--
And Immortality.

5.   When I read the excerpt below by WB Yeats from When You Are Old I am filled with emotion I cannot put into words.  Do I understand it?  No.
. . . .
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

So this is another failed poem, this one by Yeats, the guy that wrote in obscurities about some unborn rough beast, slouching towards Bethlehem.   I don't think so.

 
6.      Dylan Thomas concludes And Death Shall Have no Dominion with the following:
….
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.


A person could read this 6-8 times without a scubby of a notion about its content, and then a light starts to come on and richness flows through intellectual capillaries.  Don't be too quick to label Dylan Thomas as a failed writer.
 

7.   Edna St. Vincent Milay, in in these four lines concluded Love Is Not All:
 . . .
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.

Even if the text may seem largely paraphrasable, the sonics and sense of purpose inherent in the narrative defy reduction to prose.  It can be converted to instruction-manual language, but at what cost?


8.   Here is a fun excerpt from August by Dorothy Parker:
. . . .
Summer, do your worst!
Light your tinsel moon, and call on
Your performing stars to fall on
Headlong through your paper sky;
Nevermore shall I be cursed
By a flushed and amorous slattern,
With her dusty laces' pattern
Trailing, as she straggles by.

I imagine the attempt to effectively paraphrase this passage to feel like slicing open a deer, pulling its innards and spreading them on weeds and gravel, pawing through them and asking where in all of this is the graceful creature we hunted down and killed?


9.   How can a person not marvel and appreciate the closing lines of Affirmation by Donald Hall, and still not be able to say, “I understand all of this fully on first reading.”
. . . .
The pretty lover who announces
that she is temporary
is temporary. The bold woman,
middle-aged against our old age,
sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand.
Another friend of decades estranges himself
in words that pollute thirty years.
Let us stifle under mud at the pond's edge
and affirm that it is fitting
and delicious to lose everything.


10.     I read over and over this portion of the poem The Music Swims Back to Me of Anne Sexton, and over the years have appreciated the depth of the expression.  Never could I say, yes, I fully understand this.  I defy anyone to do that.
....
there are no signs to tell the way,
just the radio beating to itself
and the song that remembers
more than I. Oh, la la la,
this music swims back to me.
The night I came I danced a circle
and was not afraid.

11.   Li Po’s poem Autumn River Song presents another question.  If a person is convinced that they understand it perfectly on first reading and later decide that they were mistaken, but then reach a new understanding, is it then a good poem which becomes a failed poem and then a good poem again?  I don’t think so.  This is simply beautiful writing that isn’t quantifiable or proseable.


The moon shimmers in green water.
White herons fly through the moonlight.

The young man hears a girl gathering water-chestnuts:
into the night, singing, they paddle home together.

12.   Here is some text by Tom Hennen.  Here is the challenge - paraphrase all that you can.  What is left is the poetry.  Do you see it or feel it or sense that its there?  If not, then repeat.

We all have many bodies
Easily buried.
Behind us
The years rub together
And sigh
In the pine tops.
Only the snow that falls
Doesn’t know
The heaviness of bones.
 

 Seriously, Jo Bannister -- if you've got bookshelves groan[ing] under the weight of poetry that doesn't include Levertov, Tennyson, Pablo Neruda, Langston Hughes, Wendell Berry, Emily Dickinson, WB Yeats, Dylan Thomas, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dorothy Parker, Donald Hall, Anne Sexton and Li Po, then just let the shelves collapse and shovel the debris into a truck and call it a day.  8)

This just be my opinion. No one has to agree with me.
 8)
T
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Jo Bannister on March 21, 2015, 01:21:39 PM
Just as well no one has to agree with you, I think. 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 21, 2015, 01:27:01 PM
Or even read what I write. 8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on March 21, 2015, 01:40:57 PM
See what you started Josie.  :P
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: JosieW on March 21, 2015, 01:54:55 PM
Oh goodness Kate.  Now I really feel AWFUL when I think I've started trouble as soon as I've set foot on this website.  I hope I'll be eventually forgiven for passing an opinion that is controversial perhaps.  Let's change the subject.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 21, 2015, 02:12:19 PM
Geez, nobody should feel bad - this is just discussion. :)   - the exchange of thoughts, ideas is what this thread is about. :) :)   

Josie I have no disagreement with your position - we each choose what poems we like and what we want to read and what we don't want read.  Everyone has their own view of that.  I was just reacting to the claim that CorneliusPoe actively advocates obscurity, and a writer has failed if the poem is not immediately and fully understandable.
We should feel free to air our opinions in a fair manner.
 8)
T
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on March 21, 2015, 03:52:02 PM
Let me a try again: a poem that can be reduced to its paraphrasable content is by definition not a poem.

I completely understand someone taking issue with something I've said. It is however somewhat hurtful when someone I respect takes issue with me personally for something I did not.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on March 21, 2015, 03:57:33 PM
Oh goodness Kate.  Now I really feel AWFUL when I think I've started trouble as soon as I've set foot on this website.  I hope I'll be eventually forgiven for passing an opinion that is controversial perhaps.  Let's change the subject.

Not at all. If we all had the same perspective there would be little point in sharing.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on March 21, 2015, 04:50:55 PM
Goodness, no one should feel bad about expressing opinions, especially here on this thread.
It's why Poetic This! was started.

We all have biases, things we like, things we don't. It doesn't make any of those things right or wrong. But we ought to be able to express our opinions and hopefully try to listen to others' as well.

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mrs N on March 21, 2015, 05:13:56 PM
and a writer has failed if the poem is not immediately and fully understandable.

But the writer has failed that particular reader, no?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 21, 2015, 05:37:31 PM
But the writer has failed that particular reader, no?


No. If you disagree, say why.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: duck on March 21, 2015, 06:01:44 PM
Let's take a simple Phrase, non-poetical and see if we can agree what the Speaker whishes to say. It is a classic English teacher device for teaching present perfect:
I've lost my keys.

Now that simple sentence may convey at least a dozen unpoken things and may rely on tone of voice and context to get across ist message, which may vary from I can't get in my house to what a stupid ass I am.

Like the endless red herring of arguing about rhyme no rhyme this whole discussion is a red herring. If I was cruel (I don't think I am), I could (am I?) suggest that the whole topic is led by the lazy who just can't be bothered to take the time to understand anything but what they themselves have written. But I am not suggesting that and neither would I dare (I believe it is conceited to do so) suggest that if someone writes something I don't understand then they are at fault or that their writing was per se not good or communicative. I might say I don't like it, or that I don't want to make the effort. As John Peel used to say he saw his Task as a DJ to try and find out what the creator found so importnt that he wrote a song/Poem about it.
Now legal documents, books on Sociology, political Jargon, maths (for People like me) are uncommunicative shit, excuse the Anglo Saxon, my French is not great.
Dave
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on March 21, 2015, 06:01:57 PM
Cleanth Brooks - The Well Wrought Urn:

Quote
...To repeat, most of our difficulties in criticism are rooted in the heresy of paraphrase. If we allow ourselves to be misled by it, we distort the relation of the poem to its "truth," we raise the problem of belief in a vicious and crippling form, we split the poem between its "form" and its "content"—we bring the statement to be conveyed into an unreal competition with science or philosophy or theology. […] By taking the paraphrase as our point of stance, we misconceive the function of metaphor and meter. We demand logical coherences where they are sometimes irrelevant, and we fail frequently to see imaginative coherences on levels where they are highly relevant.

While much of the New Criticism has been rejected, The Heresy of Paraphrase is still a generally accepted tenet of poetics. I don't mean to appeal to authority as an end of discussion, but only to point out that the idea is not new and has been articulated by better minds than mine.

When I read:

"immediately and fully understandable. "

I'm again forced to ask, 'by who? - a child, a philosopher, an idiot, a king?'

A poet doesn't owe the reader anything and certainly they are not forced to read his/her poems. The transaction is based on pleasure. If you enjoy reading someone's work, you will likely continue to do so. How the reader defines 'enjoy' is their own business and how the poet works belongs to them.

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mrs N on March 21, 2015, 06:06:28 PM
No. If you disagree, say why.


I write, firstly, for myself, but if I want others to read my work I want them to understand what I am saying. If they do not, I would take that as a failure on my part. Why else do we put things up for review, if not to ensure our words are being heard and understood?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 21, 2015, 06:15:16 PM

I write, firstly, for myself, but if I want others to read my work I want them to understand what I am saying. If they do not, I would take that as a failure on my part. Why else do we put things up for review, if not to ensure our words are being heard and understood?

I understand what you are saying, but there are serious limits to that -  if you write a beautiful metaphor and some reader has no understanding of metaphors, is that your failing as a poet?  I don't think so.  Do you complain about opera because they sing the stuff in Italian?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mrs N on March 21, 2015, 06:23:34 PM
Do you complain about opera because they sing the stuff in Italian?

No, just when they sing in English 'cos it's usually banal comments that sound profound in Italian! ;D

I know you can't please everyone, but I mean to try!  ;) The day I say it's the reader's fault they don't 'get' it, is the day I'll have grown too big for my proverbial boots.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mrs N on March 21, 2015, 06:30:45 PM
if you write a beautiful metaphor and some reader has no understanding of metaphors, is that your failing as a poet? 

Well, who's decided it's a beautiful metaphor? Not the reader, then who? You? Just write for yourself then.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 21, 2015, 07:23:33 PM


Mrs. N --

In the hypothetical, the reader doesn't know what a metaphor is, let alone a beautiful metaphor.  So the writer's mistake is to use a metaphor at all?  Explain.

There are plenty of 14 year old kids who say Shakespeare is bullshit.  You seem to be siding with them.  That's your choice, but it doesn't have much to do with poetry comprehension and appreciation.

I can see valuing the understandability of a poem over the craft and the art, but not instead of it. 

I gave twelve examples- which ones do you take issue with?

Just asking. :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mrs N on March 21, 2015, 07:33:39 PM
I haven't really taken issue with any, except Dylan Thomas. So I guess he failed me. ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 21, 2015, 10:35:22 PM
I haven't really taken issue with any, except Dylan Thomas. So I guess he failed me. ;D

Cute.  You miss the point. 

Intentionally?

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mrs N on March 22, 2015, 03:18:23 AM
Hi Tom

Let me just say your list of examples sounded like an ultimatum, like or be damned.

 You also made an assumption I dislike Shakespeare. I suppose to a point you are right as he is not someone I'd read, but he never wrote his plays to be read, they were meant to be performed. And I find theatre very enjoyable. ;)

When I read (whatever) I get a feel of the author, and Dylan Thomas has certainly failed to get me engaged. So maybe I just dislike his style. Also craftsmanship of poetry/prose should take into account understandability (is that a real word?) or again, like I've said before, who are you writing for?

Now whether I've answered things correctly enough for you I don't know. If I haven't I'm putting it down to a failure on your part to communicate exactly what you mean!  ;D (Perhaps it is the use of the word 'fail' that's hetting you up so much?)

I hope that's clarified my part. I won't be able to reply for a few days as I'm away, so please don't assume I've gone off in a strop. ;D

Have a good day, and thanks for the discussion.  :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Jo Bannister on March 22, 2015, 04:39:40 AM
Just for the record, I love Shakespeare.  And I've yet to find any phrase that I didn't understand.  And do you know how I can prove I understood him? - I can paraphrase what he said.  Where's the heresy in that?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: JosieW on March 22, 2015, 05:43:02 AM
As a poet I must, where possible, use compressed language in a strong, vivid and very visual way.  I only have a few verses in which to paint my picture in words. In poems about movement imagery is so important to convey feeling to my reader.  Then, personification too is important because movement in the world of nature can be best understood when linked to human emotion and in the verse below I use the word "tremble" (the human emotion) but also "fluttered" which we use when petals fall.

I speak of the poppies who watched and heard the guns firing in the First World War: 

"Flower of the Eternal Sleep" - ie the poppy

“You trembled to the sound of guns
Which tore to death beloved sons.
     You fluttered, died, before your time
      Dropped blood red poppies in their prime.”

In my poem, the poppies watch with those who weep, and can identify with young lives taken, because they too dropped their young petals too early.

When I’m doing an action poem, I use kinesthetic imagery, and also like to bring in the emotions felt by the person performing the action.  In sport there is both the physical side but also there is a reason why someone would choose to do their chosen sport.  Getting inside the head of that person is important when it comes to imagery.

Part of my poem:  The Joy of Snowboarding

No bird could fly with better grace
Than man and snowboard who embrace
    The elements of ice and snow
    Where biting winds most keenly blow.

The thrills, the spills, the headlong flings,
As man to snowboard grimly clings.
    He glides, he turns, leaps through the air,
    And to this harsh wind heeds no care.

I hope that in the second verse above there is both action but also understanding of the mind behind the action.  At the end of the poem I simply say:

With fortitude on pristine snow,
Both man and snowboard deftly go.
    With heart now pounding in his chest,
    This man on snowboard’s at his best.

In other words, he finds his sport stimulating, to say the least and it is a sport that fulfils his inner need.

The use of rhyming, particularly double rhyming helps intensify the language I feel too.  Do you use this in your work whether it be prose or poetry?  Dylan Thomas used lots of it in Under Milk Wood.  It can be used well in both prose and poetry.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: duck on March 22, 2015, 08:20:47 AM
Hi Jo. Ist great that you understand all of Shakespeare but there are thousands of People who have read Shakespeare and not understood it. Does that mean Shakespeare failed? Or only failed with those Readers? Or that those Readers failed? This whole discussion is fairly lacking in common sense in my opinion. Some People are taking their personal experience and trying to manufacture an all encompassing Guideline from that. This I believe is something of the Problem that Tom or Marc have, or me for that matter.

Secondly, there are some clear and easy Poems that are great and some that are absolutely terrible, which would you prefer? Equally some Poems are difficult (dense in imagery and references) that are great and some poor. Which would you prefer?
Dave
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on March 22, 2015, 08:30:34 AM
there are some clear and easy Poems that are great and some that are absolutely terrible, which would you prefer? Equally some Poems are difficult (dense in imagery and references) that are great and some poor. Which would you prefer?
Dave


Cha-ching! Great summary.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 22, 2015, 10:42:05 AM

Folks who've been at MWC for any length of time know I struggle with the craft and the art of poetry.  I acknowledge it feels to me that I am at the beginning of the real process of learning poetry.  So I will simply state these as articles of faith.  I believe there is a music and a magic to poetry that lives beyond that the language of normal discourse. I believe poetic events come to life in the poems in which they occur – the exact words in their exact sequence and context.  I believe that the heart of poetry cannot be paraphrased to the language of everyday discourse.  And I am truly stunned that any of this is controversial.  (I gave 12 specific examples in illustration, and none have yet been seriously contested).

One last illustration.  I don’t fully understand the lines below, and can’t paraphrase them to save my life.  But I can say that my life is richer for having  experienced at least a small measure of the poetic magic:


We take what the world gives.
We bow our heads like flowers
and think of the ways we came.
Before sleep each night we put
our mouths against a clod
and breathe our share of common air--

The truest way there is to say God's name.

Alright naysayers - fire up your keyboards!  I await the complete paraphrase.  8) 




Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: duck on March 23, 2015, 03:47:19 AM
What could also add into all this the necessity to factor in who is trying to understand - is there only one readership - what if I write for an audience of the poets keen on the complexities of poetry. Of course non-poets might not understand it and I will have planned for that, but do I have to feel gulity becuase they don't get it? If I write a poem for young people in simple language and they get it that's fine but if others of more sophisticated taste find it boring, do I have to apologise to them? Has each of these poems failed? Or should each of the reading groups who dislike or do not understand the poem be more aware that they are not the target group?

Josie your first world war poem certaqinly conveys an idea and a stance with respect to the poem but it also contains clichés (poppies, tremble, sounds of guns), myths - that the fields were covered in poppies in the first place - and that all the sons were beloved, and abstract images such as the use of sound. So indeed the simplicity of the poem contains the same dangers as all our poetry.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on March 23, 2015, 09:29:41 AM
Of course there isn't only one readership. If you are writing for other poets you don't need to worry or feel guilty if no one understands it.

If you are writing for children and most moderately intelligent children can't understand it, you have a problem. Children in general need different things than poets, even child poets.

I'm not a poet, keen or otherwise, so I write for people like me who don't have the appreciation, or often the time to wrest meaning from dense, complex poems written by people who are not concerned if they are understood or not. That's fair, I'm certainly not in the target audience for those poems/poets, but I'm sure there are plenty who are.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on March 23, 2015, 09:34:17 AM
Oh, I forgot my paraphrase:

All living things are part of the divine and to recognize and respect that is the highest form of spirituality.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: duck on March 23, 2015, 10:20:00 AM
Hi Heidi
There is nothing wrong in having a preference indeed and its good we agree that you can keep some of the readers happy some of the time but not all of the readers happy all of the time and that therefore to assume as a reader that my lack of comprehension of a poem/novel/film/song/enquiry/newspaper article/action of any other human being must mean the transmitter of the communication failed or was at fault for my lack of understanding cannot be considered an absolute rule.

I guess one of the things about this discussion that bothers me is phrases like this:
"complex poems written by people who are not concerned if they are understood or not[/b]". I am sure you don't mean it that way but if your understanding is that anyone who writes something complex (and you don't understand it) automatically is someone who does not care whether they are understood or not then that would certainly smack of arrogance and conceit, and most certainly be very far from the truth or the sense of your paraphrase. 

I also have problems with phrases like "moderately intelligent children" just what is that intelligence you refer to and measured on which scale of intelligence?
In respect
Dave
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on March 23, 2015, 11:02:03 AM
There is almost unspoken thread here that a poem is some sort of riddle whose meaning must/can be ciphered out. Lets put aside the very large assumption that meaning is some tangible. 

To be honest I have no idea why this is even a discussion, but I guess it's my fault. My original statement again was:

"If the entire content of a poem can be perfectly paraphrased then its not much of poem..."

I hold to this statement. A poem is not just some mundane statement with a bit of ornamentation. Its paraphrasable content is not supplemented by the form in which it is presented. It is inextricably married to it.

And while a fine summary of a poem's reducible qualities can aid in the appreciation of a poem, it is not the poem itself and is doomed at the start to fall short.

The idea that any of this antithetical to communication is simply horse crap. It is communication on several levels and to reduce it to its most prosaic is to destroy it completely.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on March 23, 2015, 11:28:20 AM

I'm sure the poet of yesteryear
whose work is analysed
would be most surprised
at the extent of what he meant
when at the time he sought but a rhyme. ~ Mark T

I like it when different people see different things in my poems. Poetry that's universally accessible is writing pitched at the lowest common denominator - and where's the fun in that? 

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on March 23, 2015, 12:28:17 PM

I guess one of the things about this discussion that bothers me is phrases like this:
"complex poems written by people who are not concerned if they are understood or not[/b]". I am sure you don't mean it that way but if your understanding is that anyone who writes something complex (and you don't understand it) automatically is someone who does not care whether they are understood or not then that would certainly smack of arrogance and conceit, and most certainly be very far from the truth or the sense of your paraphrase.  

I also have problems with phrases like "moderately intelligent children" just what is that intelligence you refer to and measured on which scale of intelligence?
In respect
Dave


Dave,
You like to take everything to the extreme. Someone writing complex poetry is not concerned with whether someone like me, understands or it not.

And I'm sorry if you don't know what "moderately intelligent" means I can't help you. There are plenty of reading and comprehension guidelines for children of all ages, that might be a place to start.

This has the same flavor as discussions years ago as to whether something like this is art (picture below). I'm obviously too dense to get it, then or now, so why should poetry be any different?

Or maybe I just have a low bs tolerance.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on March 28, 2015, 06:25:29 PM
Quote
Heidi:  "Or maybe I just have a low bs tolerance."
 --  We should all be so well endowed.  ;D

Question - you are familiar with those folks who don't accept surrealism:  It's just paint spatters!  How can that be art?  They charge how much for that shit?  It makes  no sense!  I can do that! I'll weld some scrap iron together and make a million dollars!   Its just a fucking hat!  Paint spatters again - it is all bullshit!

Before I stumbled through my Fluxus / Dada . . . happening,  I felt the same way about Dada/Surrealism and the less-than-representational arts.   There were whole wings of the art galleries that were meaningless by my declaration.

How is one of the positions in this most recent discussion categorically different than that, if at all?  

Just a question.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Ana Meroma on April 07, 2015, 07:17:43 AM
I don't understand who exactly is referring to surrealism as paint splatters. The majority of Dali's work, for example, exhibits obvious artistic skill. The melting clocks aren't typically regarded as paint splatters even by non-artists.

Now, if you mean contemporary art, then I could get your meaning. Many have argued that a cow head being eaten by flies in a glass box is not in fact art. Whether or not they're right may be something for future art historians to decide. The majority school of thought nowadays for most all art is that it should evoke something. That it should mean more than the sum of its parts. Rothkos, for example, may not make you feel anything emotional, but they are certainly still more than just two colors on a palette.

Art, to my mind, is the practice of using what we have to express the inexpressible. Whether this is through paint splatters or skeletal horses. People begin to question whether or not something is art when they feel it does not add to the conversation. I was in a museum once where several solid colored shapes hung on a wall. The tour guide instructed us to use our imaginations to derive meanings from these shapes, to look at them sideways, to cross our eyes, etc. This I feel is an example of non-art: when there is no message beyond the parts you have used and your reader is left to make up a meaning on their own.

Sometimes the line is thin, such as one popular piece that appears to be a black canvas, but on closer inspection is comprised of nine darkly colored squares. Is that art? I would say yes, it is art at its most basic. It has a simple message, "Not all is what it seems at first," that emerges from its parts.

Poetry is the same. Whether you believe in death of the author or not, a poem should be more than the sum of its parts. That is the essence of artistic expression.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on April 07, 2015, 10:25:09 AM
Art is art if you say it is, and poetry is poetry if you say it is.

Only students, amateurs and those just starting out get critiques. When was the last time you saw a negative review for an art installation or a poem done by an established artist/poet?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Ana Meroma on April 07, 2015, 10:43:16 AM
Movies, paintings, books, all are reviewed both positively and negatively. I've seen critics of most art forms trash or laud various artists, even after they became famous. It doesn't happen to poetry so often because, let's face it, poetry isn't considered important enough by most of society to have its own full-fledged critics.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: JosieW on April 07, 2015, 10:55:29 AM
It was a critique of a children's poem that really started me writing.  The children in my local primary school, whom I visited for one hour a week, as many people do, were really despondent one day.  They told me confidentially (so I don't know if I should tell you), that "poetry" was the cause of their discontent - well, to be honest, one poem.  I, who only remembered the poems of my childhood by the wonderful poets who wrote for other children and me, couldn't understand their displeasure, but they showed me the poem.  It was a sentence snaking its way down the page. The children said:  (should I  tell you?)  "It's rubbish isn't it?" and "That's not poetry is it?" Well, I'd never seen anything like it in the name of poetry, and I had to agree with them.  So I volunteered to write one poem for them in the style that they said they liked:  With a story, with rhyme and with rhythm.  Oh goodness!!  What had I done!!!!  I'd never been to a creative class in my life.  The poem went down more than well and I was expected to keep writing each week for them.  So yes, even published poets get critiqued by their target audience - and five and six year olds are quick to tell you how they think aren't they?  I have to say I've written well over 1,200 poems now for all age groups, but I particularly love writing for children. 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Jo Bannister on April 07, 2015, 12:27:43 PM
And thus were the emperor's new clothes revealed to be nakedness!  Good on the kids, says I.  No one should be intimidated into acquiescence when their instincts are telling them they're being taken for a ride.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: JosieW on April 07, 2015, 04:12:56 PM
Ha Ha - Quite right.  I have to say that when I took my first poem into the school for these little characters, I almost backed out at the last minute, because I knew they had not yet learned what diplomacy was and would tell the truth.  With head held down I read the words, but I did not dare to look up at their faces because I couldn't face the truth, but at the end of it, when I did look up, I could see that they were delighted.  It was a poem about an invisible friend (and it  seemed they all had one) and when the school bell rang for their break, nobody moved and they were all sitting there waving their hands wanting to ask questions and to tell me their experiences of invisible friends.  The teacher only got them out into the playground by promising them I'd write them another poem for the next week, much to my horror.  But I got used to it and I still go into school classrooms -  and often abroad now, by Skype.  I love it and it's one of the rewards of writing for children. 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: duck on April 08, 2015, 11:54:18 AM
Hi Heidi
Actually I have read very scathing reviews of Damian Hirst's painting work including the view that he can't really paint at all. And he sells in the millions normally.
And children are truthful but not by virtue of their truthfulness always good judges of the quality of art.
Dave
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: JosieW on April 08, 2015, 12:10:39 PM
No, they may not appreciate art, of course, but at their various age groups, even from early years, they love to have a go themselves and parents appreciate what they've done by putting up their pictures all over their homes.  I have one, done when my grandson was 4 - but because it was impossible to paint white hair on white paper, he gave me green hair instead.  In fact it looked much better.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Amie on April 08, 2015, 12:19:11 PM
And thus were the emperor's new clothes revealed to be nakedness!  Good on the kids, says I.  No one should be intimidated into acquiescence when their instincts are telling them they're being taken for a ride.

I wouldn't go too far with this. Your tastes evolve as you gain life experience. I don't like the same things now as I did when I was 5 or 10 - and I'd be disappointed if Sesame Street was taken as the bar for creative accomplishement for adults as well as children.

Just because a child doesn't like something doesn't mean it's no good.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on April 08, 2015, 01:18:42 PM

Just because a child doesn't like something doesn't mean it's no good.

Yes.  Like tequila, vegetables, and kissing girls. :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on April 08, 2015, 01:42:16 PM
Now we know--at our advanced age-- that the only good alcoholic drink is one with plenty of ice cream in it, that rutabegas will never be acceptable and girls knew all along what it was all about.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on April 08, 2015, 01:48:55 PM
Now we know--at our advanced age-- that the only good alcoholic drink is one with plenty of ice cream in it, that rutabegas will never be acceptable and girls knew all along what it was all about.
Indar - the three pillars of wisdom ;D ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on April 08, 2015, 01:52:43 PM
BTW my penchant for linking to youtube on my posts is vindicated:

http://www.motionpoems.com/

I first read about this in Poets & Writers magazine, youtube is one of the very venues this group uses. And darned if they aren't operating right out of Minneapolis, Minnesota (always a slightly subversive state from Gov. Floyd Olson on)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on April 08, 2015, 01:54:27 PM
Indar - the three pillars of wisdom 


indeed.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on April 10, 2015, 08:47:56 AM
“A” is for apple
and apples grow on trees
autumn comes, apples fall
upset by a breeze.

On a wire, not far away
two crows witness the fall
they see the tree and apples,
the wind, well, not at all.

One says, “it's part of nature
that apples seek the ground”
the other says, “Don’t be a fool,
those branches are unsound.”.

Beneath it all a rabbit hops
along his daily route
thanks the wind, ignores the birds
and gathers up the fruit.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on April 10, 2015, 02:44:09 PM
Too cute, CP!

Great story ;D ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on April 11, 2015, 01:33:49 PM
In commemorization (I love W. ;D) of National Poetry Month and World Poetry Day the facebook page for a book store I frequent posted a list of 12 poems everyone should memorize. The list surprised me - there were some old goodies, some niche gems, and some dark horse winners.  While entirely subjective, I found excellent substantive arguments for the inclusion of each.  And then I started considering what my list of twelve might look like.  I started to identify and assemble possible candidates for inclusion.  I reviewed lists of poems by my favorite authors.  And I read poems.  When I looked at the clock I couldn't believe it.  

Same thing happens each day I return to this project. ;D ;D ;D
What a marvelous way to obvserve National Poetry Month.
I highly recommend it.

And btw, here's Bookhaven's (reposted) list:

After Making Love We Hear Footsteps  by Galway Kinnell
This Is Just To Say  by William Carlos Williams
Those Winter Sundays  by Robert Hayden
We Real Cool  by Gwendolyn Brooks
Taking Off My Clothes  by Carolyn Forche
Jilted by Sylvia Plath
After they fell and after we found them  by Anis Mojgani
Daughter  by Nicole Blackman
Buffalo Bill’s  by E.E. Cummings
Teach Us to Number Our Days  by Rita Dove
All Your Horses  by Kay Ryan
Introduction to Poetry  by Billy Collins



Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on April 18, 2015, 12:13:05 PM
Still working on my list.  Anyone else have a list?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mrs N on April 18, 2015, 01:43:43 PM
You'll be proud of me, Tom, I've just bought Poems to Learn by Heart by Ana Sampson   

Whether the old brain lets me is another thing.  ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on April 18, 2015, 01:44:47 PM
I've think I've got the old brain problem worse than you, Mrs N. ;D
And yes, proud I is.

Great book, excellent use of money.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on April 27, 2015, 04:53:05 PM
A great quote by Ann Patchett that applies to poetry as well as fiction:

"I believe, more than anything, that this grief of constantly having to face down our own inadequacies is what keeps people from being writers. Forgiveness, therefore, is key. I can’t write the book [poem] I want to write, but I can and will write the book [poem] I am capable of writing. Again and again throughout the course of my life I will forgive myself." -- Ann Patchett
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Jo Bannister on April 28, 2015, 03:40:29 AM
Excellent quote!  Perfection is not attainable.  It's just there as a concept to keep us from accepting mediocre.

Another quote, from Robert Browning:

A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on May 03, 2015, 08:27:49 AM
Some profound truth for a lovely sunny morning!

"All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness. Without tolerance and mercy all friendships die." David Whyte
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on May 06, 2015, 01:45:58 PM

"All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness. Without tolerance and mercy all friendships die." David Whyte

Good quote.  I think it applies to intimate relationships/marriages, as well.

I've been thinking about your other quote and wonder about the converse - are some folks driven to write, to create, for the very purpose of confronting "this grief of constantly having to face down our own inadequacies"? of picking up the gauntlet? of saying enough!  This is it!   
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on May 07, 2015, 07:54:33 AM
New quote to start your day. From Bob Dylan:

"Poets don’t drive cars. [Laughs] Poets don’t go to the supermarket. Poets don’t empty the garbage. Poets aren’t on the PTA. Poets, you know, they don’t go picket the Better Housing Bureau, or whatever. Poets don’t… poets don’t even speak on the telephone. Poets don’t even talk to anybody. Poets do a lot of listening and … and usually they know why they’re poets! [Laughs]
[…]
Poets live on the land. They behave in a gentlemanly way. And live by their own gentlemanly code.

[Pause] And die broke. Or drown in lakes. Poets usually have very unhappy endings…"

Have a great day, folks!
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on May 07, 2015, 04:35:22 PM
I found this in the archives the other day, from when I used to wind up my weekly humour newsletter with a quote or two and my own comments.  I feel there's a lot of truth in the second one.

=====

1:  The poet is a bird of strange moods.  he descends from his lofty domain to tarry amongst us, singing; if we do not honor him he will unfold his wings and fly back to his dwelling place.
        Kahlil, Gabran (Thoughts and Meditations, 1960)
 
        ***          
        Sure sounds like some of the poets I've known ;-)
        Gyppo, 2002
        
        2:  The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness.
        Christopher Morley (Inward Ho!, 1923)

        ***        
         There you have it, the poetic way of saying they're all mad.  Perhaps they're not so different from writers after all, damn them; we both stand in the doorway between at least two worlds, knowing both but belonging to neither.
        Gyppo, 2002

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on May 07, 2015, 05:00:08 PM
The door must be kept ajar in order to allow peering back to gaze upon the sane crowd. 8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on May 07, 2015, 05:02:05 PM
Where's that darn "like" button, Gyppo?!
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on May 07, 2015, 05:20:23 PM
The door must be kept ajar in order to allow peering back to gaze upon the sane crowd. 8)

A bit like the 'when you look into the abyss remember that the abyss also looks back into you' quote.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on May 07, 2015, 06:10:57 PM
I was lookin' back to see if she was lookin' back at me.    -- your turn. ;D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aj1CQVP2hUg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kM1m5ACgBFc
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: mechobiz on May 07, 2015, 06:42:32 PM
*stares directly at Tom*

Here we go - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFve6duFwmE

Bill
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on May 22, 2015, 12:31:52 PM
I came across this the other night in the Editor's Preface to a collection of poetry by Robert Browning:

Most of Browning’s best poetry is within the ken of any reader of imagination and diligence.  To the reader who lacks these, not only Browning, but the great world of literature remains closed: Browning is not the only poet who requires close study.  The difficulties he offers are, in his best poems, not more repellent to the thoughtful reader than the nut that protects and contains the kernel.  -- Franklin T. Baker (1899)

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on May 27, 2015, 12:13:05 PM

Pick a piece of wood floating in the river and follow it down the current with your glance, keeping the eyes constantly on it, without getting ahead of the current. This is the way poetry should be read: at the pace of a line.

-- Vera Pavlova
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on June 02, 2015, 12:29:26 PM
'A work that aspires, however humbly, to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line. ' -- Joseph Conrad
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on June 12, 2015, 12:26:30 PM
"You, the artist, you’re not the puppet of the piano, you’re not the puppet of the muse, but you’re not its master, either. It’s a relationship, it’s a conversation, and all it wants is to be treated with respect and dignity — and it will return ten thousand times over." -- Elizabeth Gilbert
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on June 12, 2015, 03:28:30 PM
I like that quote.  My Muse and I get on pretty well, most of the time.  Over the years I've personified her as a hard-working but sometimes stroppy little red-head.  Occasionally we fall out, but never for long as it's a symbiotic relationship.  We need each other.  Without me she'd have to find and train a new writer, and without her occasional nudges I'd be far more lazy.

Gyppo
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on June 13, 2015, 11:30:18 AM
Good quote, Kate, and good thoughts Gyppo.  I cemented the relationship with my muse years ago.  She tolerates my psychotic dependence as I am her source for chocolates, and for tequila, though a considerable portion of her giveback is fluff and hallucinogenic imagery.    


Next quote:

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
― Louis L'Amour
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on June 13, 2015, 11:54:16 AM
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
― Louis L'Amour

Yep, I need to hear this today. But, hey, my checkbook is balanced, the garden has been fed, my weekly is off to press early. I'll be damned if I am cleaning the house, so maybe I can write now.  ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on June 13, 2015, 12:13:32 PM
You're checkbook is balanced??  You don't sound like a writer. ;D ;D ;D

JK
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on June 13, 2015, 12:38:05 PM
You're checkbook is balanced??  You don't sound like a writer. ;D ;D ;D

JK

My BUSINESS checkbook. Not the personal one -- that hasn't been balanced since I opened the account.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on June 13, 2015, 12:44:06 PM
Okay, you're a poet then ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on June 13, 2015, 01:48:24 PM
I let the business one goes months at a time -- making it a super chore when I finally get around to it. I probably would figure out how to avoid it altogether if my accountant would let me get away with it.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on June 13, 2015, 02:41:49 PM
Tom and Kate.  Speaking of Muses, which is far better than balancing chequebooks.

This isn't poetry, but it may amuse you.

My little Muse achieved a certain fame and notoriety back in 2009 when she fell out with my Internal Editor during National Novel Writing Month.

http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=23373.msg391452#msg391452

And later she tried to tidy up my brain...

http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=43874.0

Gyppo
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on June 13, 2015, 02:51:35 PM
Too funny Gyppo! You're a good writer.

My muse just seems like a ghostly vapor that hovers around on occasion waiting for me to notice her. And she follows me in the woods.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Jo Bannister on June 13, 2015, 03:05:51 PM
My muse just sits around doing damn all, waiting for me to inspire her!
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on June 13, 2015, 03:23:27 PM
Kick her arse!  Maybe, at this time of year, she's sat on the steps of your van making daisy chains and dreaming of the open road.  Perhaps you need to go and sit with her for a while and listen for the call of the wild ;-)

 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Amie on June 13, 2015, 06:13:50 PM
re: balanced checkbooks (chequebooks maybe in the UK?) - Brits don't, as a rule, balance their checkbooks. When I first came to the UK and learned this, I wanted to know how they avoided becoming overdrawn.... And the answer was a sort of perplexed "by making sure more money goes into the account than goes out". I guess it must mean all Brits are writers ;D

There are stubs where you can record what a particular cheque was for, but no provision for balancing the thing. And I guess, with so many payments made electronically these days it would be a lot trickier than it was thirty years ago or so....
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on June 13, 2015, 06:37:29 PM
"by making sure more money goes into the account than goes out".

This is precisely how I deal with my personal account (that I never balance) and all works well. Life is so much easier this way!
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on June 13, 2015, 07:46:28 PM
It's an easy enough concept, isn't it?  I know roughly what the regular bills come to.  I round them all up a bit and as long as there's enough going in, no problem.  I have occasionally been caught out by a forgotten annual or sometimes quarterly standing order.  But I usually avoid this by keeping a buffer zone in my current account.

If in doubt I use online banking to check, and if things look a bit close I trot off to the bank and pay in a decent wedge from my 'real money' stash.

I have a credit card for occasional online purchases, and these are always paid in full as soon as they come due, thus avoiding charges.

It's easy enough to keep the general stuff in my head.  I'm no great mathematician, or economics genius.  Nor am I 'loaded'.  I just keep it simple and never spend money I haven't got.

My recent microwave purchase was an online card transaction, but the cash to cover it, plus a little round-up, went into my account the same day as I made the order.  Credit card companies and banks hate people like me ;-)

Worrying about money kills my creative impulses, so I take simple steps to ensure I never need to worry.

Gyppo
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on June 13, 2015, 08:19:50 PM
But I must say, I charge EVERYTHING to my Skymiles American Express card. I pay it off each month so there is no service fee, but I get a free round-trip flight each year by doing this. I am trying to train my Neanderthal husband to do this. He now has the card. I bet in two months he's put $200 on it. Sigh.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on June 14, 2015, 03:00:50 AM
We all have our own way of doing things, and as long as it works for us, and doesn't leave a gaping black hole in our finances, that's all that matters.

I never even had a bank account until I was forty.  Never felt the need for one until my then employer insisted he could only pay my wages into a bank and no longer give me a brown envelope with cash.

But isn't this supposed to be about poetry...

The money comes in
and the money goes out,
some weeks are thin
and some are stout.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Amie on June 14, 2015, 09:56:30 AM
I have not even attempted to balance a chequebook for over twenty years, and my life is no lesser for it ;D

I do have a business, and occasionally I have to provide that sort of information to our accountants, but.... Last time they did our accounts, they found a discepancy of about £50. This would have horrified me when I lived in the US (I used to balance my check book to the penny). This time, I said, "Is it significant?", and the accountant said, "not really", and we left it as an error in the government's favour (I'd rather pay a little too much tax than get it wrong and get a nasty fine later)

I'll have to think of a way to relate this back to poetry - stay tuned ;)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on June 23, 2015, 03:56:11 PM
"We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness.

"We are monkeys with money and guns."

-- Tom Waits
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on June 23, 2015, 04:36:31 PM
"We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness.

"We are monkeys with money and guns."

-- Tom Waits

Brilliant^^.

'The axes of the taxes are lapses of synapses'.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on July 02, 2015, 07:15:32 PM
"It is said — here, now — that one of the great markers of spiritual kinship is a love for the same poetry. For if two souls are equally moved by the same pulsating constellation of metaphor and meaning, they are not only bound by a common language and a shared sensibility but also exist in the same dimension of truth and possibility. Poetry, after all, is the ultimate meeting place." -- Maria Popova
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on July 07, 2015, 06:46:02 PM
Anne Lamott:

"Even with a Facebook post … do you have any idea what it’s like to get 500-plus negative attacks, on my character, from truly bizarre strangers.

"Really, it’s not ideal.

"Yet, I get to tell my truth. I get to seek meaning and realization. I get to live fully, wildly, imperfectly. That’s why I’m alive. And all I actually have to offer as a writer, is my version of life. Every single thing that has happened to me is mine. As I’ve said a hundred times, if people wanted me to write more warmly about them, they should have behaved better."
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on July 07, 2015, 07:31:35 PM
Nice quote!  Flak is a price, I guess.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on July 09, 2015, 08:00:22 PM
“have i gone mad?
im afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usualy are.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on July 13, 2015, 03:25:20 PM
Nice quote!  Flak is a price, I guess.

I think so.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on July 13, 2015, 06:23:49 PM

Sometimes hearing poetry read well can inspire our own voices.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDNCEp8Utjo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiulgQKWkps
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjdaBTE7VBY
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on July 13, 2015, 07:06:58 PM
“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it."

G.K. Chesterton
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on July 13, 2015, 07:49:38 PM
A day without sunshine is like night.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on July 13, 2015, 08:22:49 PM

Definitely night here - 2,20 am,  So many people from another timezone online, it's like the toy-box comes to life when the kids are sleeping. 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on July 13, 2015, 11:13:27 PM
 ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on July 15, 2015, 08:31:35 AM
"I have no advice for anybody except to, you know, be awake enough to see where you are at any given time and how that is beautiful and has poetry inside, even in places you hate." -- Jeff Buckley
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on July 16, 2015, 10:39:36 AM

"Just think of poetry as being squashed prose with purple imagery, doggerel sounds and optional rules for grammar."

Is this too cynical a definition?


Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Jo Bannister on July 16, 2015, 11:52:15 AM
It should be.  Unfortunately, often it's all too realistic.  I love poetry.  But I'm not prepared to suspend my expectations of good writing just because the writer calls himself a poet rather than an author.  Good poetry should be able to function within the rules that govern all writing.  If you can't use apostrophes correctly, become a grocer, because it's a sign of incompetence in a writer.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on July 16, 2015, 01:27:35 PM
When I post here in Poetic This! you can bet I am tamping. ;-)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on July 16, 2015, 02:10:58 PM
Lots to do here - tinting, tamping, tampering, . . . fishing, baiting, trolling . . . oops the motor's sputtering - I bet could be water in the gas's tank? Gotta go. ;D  
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on July 16, 2015, 03:42:50 PM
...  If you can't use apostrophes correctly, become a grocer, because it's a sign of incompetence in a writer.

Hope I'm not being overly reactive to your point. It was a quotation, not dialogue.   
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on July 16, 2015, 03:44:42 PM
Lots to do here - tinting, tamping, tampering, . . . fishing, baiting, trolling . . . oops the motor's sputtering - I bet could be water in the gas's tank? Gotta go. ;D  

While you're bailing or adding fuel conditioner, or whatever, have your first mate read this to you:

HOW TO BE A POET
 (to remind myself) by Wendell Barry

Make a place to sit down.
 Sit down. Be quiet.
 You must depend upon
 affection, reading, knowledge,
 skill — more of each
 than you have — inspiration,
 work, growing older, patience,
 for patience joins time
 to eternity. Any readers
 who like your poems,
 doubt their judgment.

Breathe with unconditional breath
 the unconditioned air.
 Shun electric wire.
 Communicate slowly. Live
 a three-dimensioned life;
 stay away from screens.
 Stay away from anything
 that obscures the place it is in.
 There are no unsacred places;
 there are only sacred places
 and desecrated places.

Accept what comes from silence.
 Make the best you can of it.
 Of the little words that come
 out of the silence, like prayers
 prayed back to the one who prays,
 make a poem that does not disturb
 the silence from which it came.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on July 16, 2015, 03:50:11 PM

That's pretty cool stuff, thank you Kate.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on July 16, 2015, 05:51:28 PM
Kate - I love the poem and that last stanza is a zinger.

Before I dislocate my shoulder on the starter cord, this is also from Wendell Berry:


Poem, do not raise your voice.
Be a whisper that says “There!”
where the stream speaks to itself
of the deep rock of the hill
it has carved its way down to
in flowing over them.  “There!”
where the sun enters and the tanager
flares suddenly on the lighted branch,
“There!” where the aerial columbine
brightens on its slender stalk.
Walk poem.  Watch and make no noise.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Simple Things on July 16, 2015, 06:01:38 PM
I feel the same way about prose.

I have no idea what this thread is about but I enjoyed that poem. :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on July 16, 2015, 06:32:40 PM
Hi ST - this is a thread for discussing all things poetic and some things non-poetic.  It sort of fits a niche for those tidbits and bigger thoughts that pop up or that we run down with a motorcycle.  Just a chat area for topics pertaining to poming. ;D ;D 
Thanks for joining in. :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on July 16, 2015, 07:00:18 PM
Walk poem.  Watch and make no noise.

WHOA!!! I'm gonna use this! (Big talk from Ms. Overstater.) :-)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on July 16, 2015, 07:06:53 PM
 ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Jo Bannister on July 17, 2015, 02:01:41 PM
Hope I'm not being overly reactive to your point. It was a quotation, not dialogue.   

Sorry, Mark - didn't mean you.  Was suggesting it as a general rule.  Just shows: imprecise language leads to misunderstandings even among those of us trying our best!

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on July 17, 2015, 02:07:11 PM
Sorry, Mark - didn't mean you.  Was suggesting it as a general rule.  Just shows: imprecise language leads to misunderstandings even among those of us trying our best!



No worries, more like my imprecise brain... sometimes it seems maybe becoming a grocer is not such a bad idea - I mean, who ever heard of a starving grocer?  :D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on July 17, 2015, 06:59:02 PM
This doesn't seem worthy of a RMP post, but it came to mind with the poems we have just quoted, so here it is:

When the Woods Talk

When the woods talk they say
Pay attention to me! They say
hear the water trickling
through the strainer in the creek.
Don’t think about that email
that may have been misunderstood
or the phone call you haven’t made
but should have.

When the woods talk they say
hear that dead branch crashing down
and the two birds whistling; they say
look at the volunteer trumpet vine
and the spongy moss on the clay ledge.
Don’t think about what you’re going to cook
for dinner or if you have enough dog food.

Don’t think at all, the woods say,
Pay attention to me! See the red-tail hawk
gliding against a watercolor sky,
the fox squirrel scampering up the pine,
the human sitting on the tree root
writing a note to herself: “Good poem title –
When the Woods Talk.”
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on July 17, 2015, 07:33:03 PM
Just a quickie, on the same theme.

It's not my place to tell
what the woods say to me,
the whispers I hear in a still night,
the silent song of a silver moon
flooding through my tent canvas,
the dry rustle of wind borne sand
across the cracked tarmac of a beach road,
the slow breathing of the tide
in and out of a sea cave.

I can tell you the how and where,
describe the mechanisms at work,
but you have to hear with your own ears.

Gyppo
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on July 18, 2015, 03:10:39 AM

Good poeming. Great image below.

the dry rustle of wind-borne sand
across the cracked tarmac of a beach road,
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on July 18, 2015, 04:28:40 AM
Cheers.  It is one of the 'sounds of Summer', but everything else has to be pretty damned quiet for you to hear it.

I shall always remember waking up one morning next to such a road, lying on my bedroll next to my parked motorbike.  With the different perspective that comes from being at ground level, and my eyes and brain still not adjusted to everyday focus, the entire surface of the road was slowly moving, and two-grain high 'dunes' temporarily forming on the lips of the cracks before moving on looked massive.

I watched them for several minutes before sitting up to cook breakfast.  From sitting height, leaned back against my bike, it was just sand on tarmac.  Perspective is weird, and sometimes downright magical ;-)

Damn.  That memory must over 45 years old, and I'm sat here smiling, still 'in the moment' from long ago.

Gyppo
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on July 18, 2015, 04:36:26 AM

Yeah, those are the things we see in a particular moment as it passes by, never imagining they'll still be sitting there on a shelf of sepia memories one day, way down the line. Translating them into words that can be shared and preserved is one of the better elements of the human condition, I guess.     
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mrs N on July 18, 2015, 07:15:36 AM
never imagining they'll still be sitting there on a shelf of sepia memories one day, way down the line.      

Actually, I often imagine that. Sometimes I feel I'm sitting in a rocker and telling all this (my life) to someone dear to me.

Translating them into words that can be shared and preserved is one of the better elements of the human condition, I guess.     


Unfortunately, that's where I have the difficulty! :D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on July 18, 2015, 12:13:57 PM
"A man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance. So if you now number yourself among the disenchanted, then you have no choice but to accept things as they are, or to seriously seek something else. But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life." -- Hunter S. Thompson
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on July 18, 2015, 12:46:21 PM
He knew a thing or two, did Hunter S ;-)

I really liked your When the Woods Talk.  It's sent me off into cuckoo-land today, chasing memories.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on July 18, 2015, 12:53:49 PM
When the Woods Talk is a marvelous poem.  Its one of the best I've seen on MWC is quite some time.  I'm serious.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on July 18, 2015, 01:12:13 PM
I really liked your When the Woods Talk.  It's sent me off into cuckoo-land today, chasing memories.

Funny, how I can never judge (correctly) what others think.  :-\

Thanks Gyppo and Tom. I rather liked your poem, too, Gyppo. I have had that experience of lying ground level and seeing the dirt/grass/ bugs moving and it is weirdly wonderful.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on July 18, 2015, 01:20:42 PM
Funny, how I can never judge (correctly) what others think.  :-\

Thanks Gyppo and Tom. I rather liked your poem, too, Gyppo. I have had that experience of lying ground level and seeing the dirt/grass/ bugs moving and it is weirdly wonderful.

Therapeutic as well- 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on July 22, 2015, 02:41:10 PM
"Attention without emotion is reporting." -- Mary Oliver
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on July 27, 2015, 09:03:40 AM
“If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?” --Rumi
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on July 29, 2015, 11:53:12 AM
Is anyone a real Rumi fan on this site?  I'd be interested in hearing the pro's.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on July 29, 2015, 02:45:54 PM
I read a fair amount of Rumi and really like his poetry. But I read it for the spiritual value, not to study poetry.
I don't know what you mean by "pro's."
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on July 29, 2015, 06:00:31 PM
I read a fair amount of Rumi and really like his poetry. But I read it for the spiritual value, not to study poetry.
I don't know what you mean by "pro's."

pro's = opposite of con's ?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on July 29, 2015, 09:00:45 PM
Duh. I know what "pro's" means. I don't understand it in this context, in terms of "what are the pro's of a poet," i.e. Rumi. Pro's like what? Like pro's of reading Rumi versus some other poet?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on July 29, 2015, 09:03:50 PM
 ;D ;D ;D You don't always like having your rope tugged on, huh?

Are there benefits for an aspiring writer of poetry to reading his works?  Of course spiritual enlightenment would presumably help poetry writing, but I was thinking more in terms of skills, perspectives, ways to approach topics, etc.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on July 29, 2015, 09:15:03 PM
Are there benefits for an aspiring writer of poetry to reading his works?  Of course spiritual enlightenment would presumably help poetry writing, but I was thinking more in terms of skills, perspectives, ways to approach topics, etc.

Well, you know darn well I wouldn't know that. ;-) I read that he is quite accomplished as a poet. But I don't see it because I just wouldn't. And I think translation affects the final product too.

But he is/was an incredibly enlightened soul, so just read him on that account. What you might gain will be far greater than some poetry skills. :-)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on August 22, 2015, 05:23:16 PM
“If you’re going to be a writer you have to be one of the great ones, and they don’t make them anymore. After all, there are better ways to starve to death.”

--Gabriel García Márquez
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on August 24, 2015, 12:51:13 PM
I suppose writers are looking for ways to starve to death? :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on August 28, 2015, 02:43:56 PM

unseen
pearl graffiti
mocking neptune
beckons a mermaid queen
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on August 29, 2015, 03:15:00 PM
For whatever its worth:  I should not be surprised to find it hugely more beneficial to hand copy, and then type to screen each poem that I want to save - most recently 3 by Noah Falk.  I know the cut and paste function is marvelous and speedy.  But there is nothing like hand-copying a poem to let it seep into your blood stream, roll the sounds on your tongue, and let the cadences softly percolate.  If there is something special or memorable about the poem, it is there in your subconscious to quietly spread its poison while you sleep. 8) 8)

The site policy forbids the posting of other's poems in full, so here is a snippet of one of the Falk poems:

With a gauze of dark circles
under your eyes, you watch
the whole world take a rain check.
The clouds overlap until nightfall
and you twiddle your thumbs
at everyone’s mid-life crisis.

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on August 29, 2015, 03:48:01 PM
 
That's excellent writing - if it were posted here though, i"d niggle about the common expressions used in the last two lines - the champagne lost its fizz slightly.

I've only ever copied and printed one poem off this site - Prayer Call.     
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on August 30, 2015, 10:17:02 AM
Mark - I was speaking generally about absorbing poems we like - nothing beats handwriting them in order to internalize.  Just my view.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: MarcusB on August 31, 2015, 09:30:44 AM
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder for graphic arts - wouldn't understanding be in the mind of the reader for written?  i know, probably stretching a bit too far...  For me, if what i write connects with someone, i feel i've accomplished something.  My preference would be that they see it differently so in their letting me know my own mind is broadened. 
My two cents
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on August 31, 2015, 09:54:02 AM
And a good $.02 it is - this is a thread for expounding, rambling, explicating, and at times, trolling. ;D ;D

Q: does there need to first be beauty before an eye can behold it?  I know the phrase is meant to suggest that understanding / appreciation is totally subjective.  But if a piece of art with inherent beauty is viewed by two people and one person says its beautiful and the other says its junk we would be ok with that.  But if the piece of art had no inherent beauty, then wouldn't both people then have to say its junk?  The proposition is that there is no inherent beauty period.  But who makes that call - the point right?  But if ten people, or ten thousand, or 8.6 billion say it has no beauty - does that make it so?  Just asking. :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark H on August 31, 2015, 10:07:29 AM
Q: does there need to first be beauty before an eye can behold it?

Think of beauty not as an attribute of the thing being observed, but instead an emotional reaction to the thing by the observer.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: bri h on August 31, 2015, 11:46:53 AM
Surely, to further your argument T,

"Beauty is in the eye of the 'opinion'-holder?"

And a thing is, merely by existing.

Therefore any observation of it is just an opinion.

Whether it has inherent worth is subject to whoever is observing it?

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on September 07, 2015, 01:10:12 PM
Note to Self:

"We are victims of our own internalized perfectionist, a nasty internal and eternal critic, the Censor, who resides in our (left) brain and keeps up a constant stream of subversive remarks that are often disguised as the truth. . . . Make this a rule: always remember that your Censor’s negative opinions are not the truth. This takes practice. By spilling out of bed and straight onto the page every morning, you learn to evade the Censor." -- Julia Cameron
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on September 07, 2015, 04:00:59 PM
Interesting stuff. Beauty is a value word. All terms of value presuppose an idealized standard; a perfect model against which this or that instance is measured. This is not something we like to admit in a post-romantic world. We like to feel we are open-minded, etc. but, in my experience we are just as dogmatic as ever. It's simply the number of standards that has increased and their control is not limited to a religion, a state, etc. There are and always will be fashions, but even they are more fragmented than ever.

Kate, no offense, but I think Ms. Cameron's statement borders on idiocy. First the left brain/right brain thing was debunked years ago, and second, the very function she is critical of is exactly what makes us better writers. The trick is not to ignore the censor, but to educate and inform it.

As to beauty/value. I'm not saying there exist a single perfect model poem to which all others aspire. I'm say that for each poem we write there does exist a hypothetic perfect model. We may not be aware of it, but it's what we are aiming at. Its what keeps us revising and laboring over a single syllable in the fourth word of the seventeenth stanza.

That we aim, or ought to, has never changed. What has changed is the diversity of targets and not just per poet, but per poem.

... and there you have Poe's theory of relative absolutes valued at just about $.02.



 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on September 07, 2015, 04:12:00 PM
Very interesting observations, Marc. And just what I was after by posting that quote -- some healthy dialog.  :D

I wholeheartedly agree with you here: "...for each poem we write there does exist a hypothetic perfect model. We may not be aware of it, but it's what we are aiming at." I'm not sure, however, that this runs counter to what Ms. Cameron says. I can imagine a constructive Censor and another nagging devil-on-the-shoulder one as well. Who are we listening to/nurturing?

Can you tell I'm having some internal writing issues these days?!

K.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on September 07, 2015, 04:29:14 PM
I'm not sure, however, that this runs counter to what Ms. Cameron says. I can imagine a constructive Censor and another nagging devil-on-the-shoulder one as well. Who are we listening to/nurturing?

Can you tell I'm having some internal writing issues these days?!

K.

Especially when writing the first draft, I think the Censor or, Internal Editor as some refer to it as, needs to be set aside or pushed into a dark cupboard and locked in there (at least) until the draft is finished.

For what it's worth, I like many of Julia Cameron's books also.   
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on September 07, 2015, 07:42:05 PM
Kate I am with you and Alice, ACG, for the first part- the internal censor needs to STFU or be heavily sedated when the first stuff is coming out.  Sometimes I close my eyes and type as fast as I can.   This is the absolutely critical part of finding the material of a poem.   When in the car with a cheap digital recorder I close my eyes and talk as fast as can (until I hit the shoulder of the road).   The first inklings have to come out whole - the tender little thread needs to be gently pulled, but not broken. Later, during the shaping phase a highly trained censor can be invaluable.  You are right about that CP - train the bastard to be helpful in making the revisions to shape the poem instead of constipating us with writers block at the beginning.

As far as there needing to be an 'ideal' by which to measure and for which to strive, eh.   Plato marketed the idea and did very well - tens of generations of philosophers pondered the Platonic forms.  If he would have had access to the internet and a 3-D printer he'd have cornered the market.   There is no logical mandate to prefer the hypothetical "ideal" as the standard, ass opposed to the 'bad'.  Thus, anything better than bad is good, because, as we all know, good is better than bad.  That is a precept that we can all live with and not drive ourselves or significant others crazy. We are better people if we don't measure ourselves in those terms and certainly better for our spouses, friends, parents kids if we don't measure them in that way.  So, Plato might ask, What is better than better?  More better, I suppose, and at some point you probably get to 'best', which thankfully is still a relative term.  'Best' can be pretty good by comparison to bad, and good and better and more better.  But it still does not have to be the psychosis-inducing 'ideal'. We don't need to kill ourselves with that standard.  Accepting this view opens up a whole lot of life, I think, I think.

When I write a poem, I am not trying to write the ideal poem, whatever that may be.  Whoever is trying to do that, good luck.  I try to be true to the thread of the poem if I may be lucky enough to find, and perhaps luckier still to be able to follow.  I am not trying to capture the Platonic Ideal, which in my view is a critically unhealthy pursuit.  Finding the poetry is a completely different thing.  There are threads of poetry all around us - Maybe one floats by you like a seed with a parachute. :)

BTW CP, its a good thing Turnbloe is banned from this site - you got his blood boiling with this one. ::)  
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on September 08, 2015, 08:25:36 AM
I think where Plato and his followers missed the boat is not in the idea of an ideal, but in their extremely narrow definition and classifications of meaningful experience. They lived in a much smaller world than ours and within that world they occupied a small and privileged space.

My point and I make poorly, is that we all still strive for the absolute of something, even if that absolute is unhindered expression. A romantic seeking pure and raw emotional outlet is a making a value judgement between types of experience and their suitability to poetry. The romantic mindset presupposes that emotional intensity is more valuable in art that intellectual stimulation, rhetorical argument, adherence to an established norm, etc. My point it is, that they still have an ideal or goal, articulated or not.

Further, that any of this has any bearing on 'truth', or the nature of the world 'as it is' is irrelevant. It's how we behave. We make judgements all the time. Those judgments, at every level, presuppose a measure against that which is being judged is measured. I'm not saying that this is right or wrong, just that it is.

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on September 08, 2015, 10:14:52 AM
I get your point, CP, and probably a lot of folks agree with your position.  I am not one of them.  I don't believe a world of mentally constructed notions of the 'ideal' standard and the corresponding infinity of 'ideals' is something compelled by any assemblage of evidence, nor do I think the scheme has much to recommend it of its own merit.  To be honest to this scheme would be to embrace the acknowledgement that everything you do, have done, and will do is, was and will be a total failure. Everything.  Not exactly a Suzie Sunshine philosophy is it?  It makes Catholic guilt look like the minor leagues.  Just my opinion.

As to the writing of poetry, I'm not sure philosophical preconditions are always helpful.  Of course Tennyson is  one matter and Creeley quiet another.  Still, for myself only, I like the freedom to get lost and try to find my way home. :)

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on September 08, 2015, 11:57:30 AM
Still, for myself only, I like the freedom to get lost and try to find my way home. :)


Interesting analogy. I understand where you are coming from and you will probably discover far more things than I, but I don't like getting lost.

I usually have a map and a pretty strong idea of where I want to go. Both in RL and in my writing. Different approach for sure.

If all poetry is a form of self expression,  isn't what are you expressing the most important element? Am I the only one who usually starts writing with something I want to say?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on September 08, 2015, 01:04:57 PM
No real argument. This is a great topic.

" ...To be honest to this scheme would be to embrace the acknowledgement that everything you do, have done, and will do is, was and will be a total failure. Everything.  Not exactly a Suzie Sunshine philosophy is it?  It makes Catholic guilt look like the minor leagues.  Just my opinion."

T. - I'm unfairly taking a bit of your reply out of context to play a bit of devil's advocate.

An alternative view to one the presented could be a world in which there are no standards beyond personal feeling, peer acceptance, or institutional section. I find that philosophy much more frightening than the acknowledgement that my efforts, no matter how ernest, will fall short of perfection. I am aware that this is a Christian concept, or at least the accepted view of Christian doctrine since Aquinas married it to classicism.

I pose the question more as a reader than a poet. More specifically, as a critic. How can I offer 'meaningful' feedback on a poem is absence of a set of standards going in? We see these as biases, but we see them time and again. To repeat, I'm not saying it's right, just that it is.

Heidi I do reject that the goal of poetry is self expression. At least in my case, I'm not all that interesting. My personal goal in writing is to craft things that are appreciated by others.
 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on September 08, 2015, 03:56:42 PM
My personal goal in writing is to craft things that are appreciated by others.
 


And that's not self expression?  ???

You're telling me you craft poems without any of yourself in there? Without trying to show what you think about anything? How can that possibly be true?

And I don't buy the "I'm not interesting enough to have a voice." argument either. Everyone has a voice.

Admit it or not but anyone who writes poems is expressing themselves. Sorry.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on September 08, 2015, 04:54:56 PM
Interesting dialog.

Heidi -- I "go into" writing a poem often knowing what I intend to say, too. But sometimes an image or phrase gets laid down and starts to run its own course. That's why I find poetry (writing) so fascinating. The process isn't the same every time and the results are often a surprise. Usually of the let down variety.  ;)

T and Marc -- I can see both sides of your arguments as valid. When we talk about ideals, is there only one? Depending on the reader and what constitutes a premium experience, couldn't that ideal vary? (I know this isn't the Platonic version.) And, I agree with Tom that all poetry is self-expression -- no one else can pen it like you -- and why is that? Unique abilities and history coming to the table. Self expression doesn't automatically equate to autobiographical spewing. ;-)

K.

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on September 08, 2015, 06:14:38 PM
And that's not self expression?  ???

You're telling me you craft poems without any of yourself in there? Without trying to show what you think about anything? How can that possibly be true?

And I don't buy the "I'm not interesting enough to have a voice." argument either. Everyone has a voice.

Admit it or not but anyone who writes poems is expressing themselves. Sorry.


Heidi,

Even in the act of imitation, self-expression is unavoidable. Why make it the goal? A grunt is expressive, as is spitting. I know there are some at the fringes that would consider both art. I do not.

Originality is a quality and perhaps an admirable in a 'good' poem. Given the number of bad original poems I can't accept it as a defining quality.

Either we are appealing to something external to the poem and the poet against which to judge their work, and judge it we do, or we must accept every form of expression as equally valuable. Even if we select sincerity as the measure we are still applying an external criteria.

Expressing one's self through art is one of the greatest things to which we can aspire, but expressing one's self is not in and of itself art.

Kate, I tried to separate my opinion from the Platonic view. It's not one I accept. My position is purely anecdotal and based on personal observation. I don't believe there is a perfect poem, or perfect beauty, or perfect happiness to which we aspire. I think we hold nebulous and often contradictory ideals against which we judge ourselves, our work, and the work of others:

"Too many gerunds"
"I find the repeated use of 'The' distracting"
"A poem should be punctuated using prosaic standards"
"punctuation in poems is distracting"
"too abstract"...

If purity of expression define art than I can think of nothing more poetic than a warm fart after a good meal.


 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on September 08, 2015, 06:16:16 PM
Quote
Interesting analogy. . . . but I don't like getting lost.

I usually have a map and a pretty strong idea of where I want to go. Both in RL and in my writing. Different approach for sure.

The bulk of my RL has been intensely structured for decades. Perhaps that is why I am finding such freedom in the exploration poetry affords.  And perhaps my imagination is not very good because when I write the poem I decide I am going to write before I even start, then the result feels flat and uninspired.  I can plan the presentation of story narrative but not feeling, emotion, insight, and other little glimmers that may present themselves along the way.  I am best advised to remain receptive throughout the process.  I try to discover rather than impose.  

I guess each has their own things that work - Heidi I love your writing (you need to do more or post more poetry btw).
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on September 08, 2015, 06:29:16 PM
Food and Farts - nice one CP - your next poem title? ;D  JK

Donald Hall has an exceptional essay in which he notes that historically the overwhelming percent of poems were bad or mediocre, and still are.  He exhorts poets to challenge themselves by setting high goals.  Greatness is the word he uses - to try to write poems that rank among the greatest poems in the English language.  He calls on writers to increase the depth of their poetic responses to the events of their lives and the events of the world, to broaden the scope of the vision, and so on. 

He refers to the vastly increased number of poems that are currently being published -

So What? Many of the poems are often readable, charming, funny, touching, sometimes even intelligent.  But they are usually brief, they resemble each other, they are anecdotal, they do not extend themselves, they make no great claims, they connect small things to other small things.  . . . . I don not complain that we find ourselves incapable of such achievement; I complain that we seem not even to entertain the desire.

He sets forth some basis for choosing a path forward, steps to improve the quality of the poem writing.  I prefer his vision to that of the view that everyone by definition is already writing toward the ideal of that particular poem and thus no other standard has a function. :)

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on September 08, 2015, 06:32:44 PM
Interesting dialog.

Heidi -- I "go into" writing a poem often knowing what I intend to say, too. But sometimes an image or phrase gets laid down and starts to run its own course. That's why I find poetry (writing) so fascinating. The process isn't the same every time and the results are often a surprise. Usually of the let down variety.  ;)

T and Marc -- I can see both sides of your arguments as valid. When we talk about ideals, is there only one? Depending on the reader and what constitutes a premium experience, couldn't that ideal vary? (I know this isn't the Platonic version.) And, I agree with Tom that all poetry is self-expression -- no one else can pen it like you -- and why is that? Unique abilities and history coming to the table. Self expression doesn't automatically equate to autobiographical spewing. ;-)

K.



Good views, Kate - for me it is an matter of discovery as well.  And as you say not all are positive.  "all poetry is self-expression" was not my statement.  I'm not sure if I agree or disagree with that. It would be the "all" that throws me.  Obvious an element of poetry writing is self-expression, like painting, cooking, etc.  I would sooner say that poetry is self-exploration, if that makes sense. :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on September 08, 2015, 07:01:17 PM
I agree with Mr. Hall in every particular. I wasn't saying what we ought to do, but what we tend to do.

I personally believe there are great poems, just as there are great people. The reasons for their greatness are diverse.  I simply take issue with the "just go with it" approach. First, because it's a fallacy unless you believe in automatic writing and second, because it generally results in trivialized caricatures of some of our most intense and commonly shared emotional experiences.  As Hall notes, it results in a lot of bad poetry. These are value judgments. My point is that we can't make them without an appeal to an external measure. Many of us don't bother to develop, examine or questions the standards we apply. Some of us won't acknowledge we are applying standards at all.

How much reading and writing have you done? When you "just go with it" you are applying years of discipline and training, formal or otherwise, not to mention more than a fair amount of natural ability. In such cases one must strike a devil's bargain with that internal censor, as it can if fact be detrimental in the same way a jazz musician thinking through every note would ruin a performance. In other words, you practice an art. You are consciously developing your abilities all the time. When you write 'freely' that inner voice stops being a censor just long enough to become your partner.


Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on September 08, 2015, 08:13:30 PM
Are we using contradictory rhetoric to say similar things? My head hurts. :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on September 08, 2015, 08:25:42 PM
Nope, I just suck at communications. I was trying to split a hair better left laying on the head.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on September 09, 2015, 10:24:16 AM
So you're saying we are still on different sides of the part?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on September 09, 2015, 10:43:44 AM
Obvious an element of poetry writing is self-expression, like painting, cooking, etc.  I would sooner say that poetry is self-exploration, if that makes sense. :)

Self exploration is thinking. If you keep it to yourself it's strictly exploration. Once you share it with someone else, it becomes expression.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on September 09, 2015, 12:24:32 PM
Self exploration is thinking. If you keep it to yourself it's strictly exploration. Once you share it with someone else, it becomes expression.


When it is shared it becomes self expression, but it doesn't cease to be self-exploration.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on September 10, 2015, 06:05:34 AM
True.  :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: duck on September 10, 2015, 08:37:19 AM
This is going to be really banal. It seems to me that those who believe there is an ideal or an objective measure of quality, skill or artistry act accordingly so there is indeed just such an ideal. As soon as someone says I write as I feel it and don't chase some 'standard', the idealists stand up and say no you are being illusional and vice versa, the non-idealist says show me proof of those objective standards etc.

Similarly, Aristotelians who believe you should do something if you strive to make it great create just such a word in which makes senses and holds true. Create a reality of your own for your own writing might be my view of all of this. There is a contact point between creator and his or her audience and between them both and the material, one that shifts all the time. The artistry is in the ability of the artists to increase his experience of the contact points perhaps. Is Shakespeare great because there are seemingly infinite ways of approaching his plays or is he blessed because there infinite numbers of talented people who have breathed new life into his dead work?

Just thoughts
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on September 10, 2015, 09:32:50 AM
I don't mean to get off topic, but I just read this and thought it worthy of sharing.

THE FOURTH SIGN OF THE ZODIAC (PART 3)
By Mary Oliver


I know, you never intended to be in this world.
 But you’re in it all the same.

So why not get started immediately.

I mean, belonging to it.
 There is so much to admire, to weep over.

And to write music or poems about.

Bless the feet that take you to and fro.
 Bless the eyes and the listening ears.
 Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste.
 Bless touching.

You could live a hundred years, it’s happened.
 Or not.
 I am speaking from the fortunate platform
 of many years,
 none of which, I think, I ever wasted.
 Do you need a prod?
 Do you need a little darkness to get you going?
 Let me be as urgent as a knife, then,
 and remind you of Keats,
 so single of purpose and thinking, for a while,
 he had a lifetime.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on September 10, 2015, 04:44:53 PM
We receive precisely
what we need to proceed.

Judge another's course
and be sure:
Empathy is yours.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: WmTell on September 11, 2015, 11:12:54 AM
True that.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on September 11, 2015, 07:54:10 PM
Good stuff.  Gratitude.  Accepting the gift.  Of darkness - all genuine sources. So we need to get back to writing. 8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on September 15, 2015, 02:45:01 PM
"Tell the whole truth. Don’t be lazy, don’t be afraid. Close the critic out when you are drafting something new. Take chances in the interest of clarity of emotion." -- Jane Kenyon
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on September 15, 2015, 02:48:57 PM
Take chances! :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on September 15, 2015, 03:37:00 PM

Ahem - in the interests of streamlining and standardizing the review process, here is the Poetry Rating Scale 2.0


1. Terrible - don’t ever try and write poetry again.
2. Poor – rather take up garbage bag sculpture
3. Weak – start exercising with heavy tomes of poetry
4. Fair - but lots of room for a sun-lamp
5. Okay – a family member’s your biggest fan
6. Nice – interesting and shows some promise
7. Good – the strong points outweigh the weaknesses
8. Very good – a flowing cohesion of strong poetic elements
9. Excellent – a rare jewel of sublime composition
10. Immaculate – beyond superlatives – the alien police are on their way


   
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark H on September 18, 2015, 04:06:14 AM
Do not poetic this, instead poetic this: http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=58300.0
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on October 14, 2015, 02:46:32 PM
From James Wright: A Profile, by Frank Graziano and Peter Stitt:


I would like to write something that would be immediately and prosaically comprehensible to a reasonably intelligent reader.  That is all.  That is all I mean by being clear, but it is very difficult for me.  This is a Horatian idea.  It is the attempt to write, as one critic said once of the extraordinarily beautifully strong writer Katherine Anne Porter, so that “every one of her effects is calculated but they never give the effect of calculation.”  We read a story like her “Noon Wine” and it is what we call seamless.  It is almost impossible to pick that story apart and find her constructing a beginning, a middle, and end.  When you read the whole thing you do realize, and not just with your feelings but with your intelligence, that what you have just looked at is a living thing.  It has a form.  She hasn’t written in bulk, never in such bulk, as say, Edward Bulwer-Lytton.  And yet, her work has a certain largeness about it because it is so alive.  I think that she has thought very clearly and carefully about the need to make things clear to a reasonably intelligent reader of good will.  As for other kinds of readers, well there are fools in the world, and bastards.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark H on October 14, 2015, 05:07:28 PM
Prosaically ?!!!!
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on October 14, 2015, 06:03:55 PM
Prosaically ?!!!!

I think he meant more in the sense of ordinary, quotidian.
 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on October 14, 2015, 06:04:05 PM
Prosaically ?!!!!

Meriam-Webster:  

a : characteristic of prose as distinguished from poetry : factual. b : dull, unimaginative <prosaic advice> 2. : everyday, ordinary <heroic characters wasted in prosaic lives
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on October 14, 2015, 06:05:11 PM
We answered at the same time.  :D :D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on October 14, 2015, 06:06:44 PM
You beat me in speed, I beat you in . . . bulk. ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on October 14, 2015, 06:38:16 PM
We're in agreement of how he meant prosaically, but I'm not sure what your intent was of posting the quote.

Did James Wright aspire to be prose writer?  Why the praise for someone who (I don't think) wrote poetry.  Or did he want his poetry to be understood like a reader would understand prose.

I'm confused.  :-\

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark H on October 15, 2015, 02:07:13 AM
Yep, that's what we should all aspire to, being dull and ordinary.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on October 15, 2015, 08:02:24 AM
Yep, that's what we should all aspire to, being dull and ordinary.

You think prose writers are dull and ordinary?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on October 15, 2015, 03:28:28 PM
In court that would be seen as a leading question.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on October 15, 2015, 05:08:44 PM
We're in agreement of how he meant prosaically, but I'm not sure what your intent was of posting the quote.

Did James Wright aspire to be prose writer?  Why the praise for someone who (I don't think) wrote poetry.  Or did he want his poetry to be understood like a reader would understand prose.

I'm confused.  :-\

 I thought the passage is quite engaging.  The quest for writers of both prose and poetry is to communicate meaning, and Wright recognized how difficult the task can be.  He marveled at the clarity with with Ms Porter prepared her wonderful works for an audience of reasonably intelligent people of good will. I found that highly instructive, as much of Wright's later work involved the use of images in ways which some readers may complain were inaccessible.   On the one extreme, there is the view that the use of language serves in itself as enough of an offering to the reader, and on the other extreme is the position that writing must directed to the lowest common denominator.  Some of the discussion on this thread has explored these themes, and I found this passage to be germaine.    

Here is a snippet of Porter poetry:


When winter was half over
God sent three angels to the
apple-tree
Who said to her
"Be glad, you little rack
Of empty sticks,
Because you have been chosen.

In May you will become
A wave of living sweetness
A nation of white petals
A dynasty of apples"

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on October 15, 2015, 06:06:50 PM
First, I love the Porter poem. This is a wonderful quote: "“every one of her effects is calculated but they never give the effect of calculation.”

Does a touch carry meaning? What does the word "carry" in the last sentence signify? It could mean bear and that would be close, but ever so slightly different, using "bear" would give the impression of more weight. Anyway, is meaning something that can be literally borne? Every figurative expression is poetry that wiggled its is way into convention.

The term meaning itself comes with baggage (oh hell, just used poetry again).

So is the measure of validity conventional acceptance? If it were we would never have these expressions. Someone used them first and I'm sure if they had the internet back then someone else would have posted something like, "meaning can't be carried!"
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on November 08, 2015, 02:33:07 PM
I found this article very interesting and so thought I'd share the link:

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/article/178560


"Groundbreaking new art comes when artists make a changed assumption about their relationship to their audience, talk to their readers in a new way, and assume they will understand. When Melville wrote, "Call me Ishmael"; when Whitman wrote, "I celebrate myself and sing myself, / and what I assume you shall assume" ... each seemed to make transforming assumptions about his audience. Their direct address was made somehow more direct. It held, succeeded, and literature was changed."
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: lucidus on November 08, 2015, 05:18:20 PM
I did too, thanks!

It depends maybe on what we hope to achieve in writing. For me, I find something intrinsically satisfying about writing a poem. It is the sort of thing the author can write, and later read for their own enjoyment - regardless of what other people may think of it. I'm not sure how much that happens in other forms of writing (perhaps because I never produced anything other than poetry, that was good enough to enjoy reading it afterwards!). Perhaps this happens because poems are all about being distilled down and this makes them faster to read and get satisfaction from.

The other thing is poetry may express something so intrinsic to the author, that the satisfaction comes only from having expressed it so well. For the most personal of poems, the most qualified critic is the one in the author's mind. Might some of the most beautiful of poems only be appreciated by extremely few? Having said all of that, if I show another person a poem, it is because I hope that is has a more universal appeal and can speak for itself.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on November 08, 2015, 05:26:27 PM
I agree with your comments L. My poems tend to be personal, and they (the good ones) bring me satisfaction down the road. ("Good" is open for interpretation.)

What I found intriguing about this article is that I have a certain sense that poetry is stagnate right now, that we are on the brink of a new "period" or style. I hope so anyway. Maybe I am just looking for direction, because MY poetry is stagnate now. Ha!

Anyway, glad you got something out of the article.

K.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 11, 2015, 07:24:09 PM
Thanks for the link, Kate - that was a stimulating article you linked.  Maybe I feel particularly grumpy or contrary today, but I don’t accept the view of the author.  Despite what he writes, I think poetry today is anything but stagnant.  Barr states:


Contemporary poetry's striking absence from the public dialogues of our day, from the high school classroom, from bookstores, and from mainstream media, is evidence of a people in whose mind poetry is missing and unmissed. You can count on the fingers of one hand the bookstores in this country that are known for their poetry collections. A century ago our newspapers commonly ran poems in their pages; fifty years ago the larger papers regularly reviewed new books of poetry.  Today one almost never sees a poem in a newspaper; and the new poetry collections reviewed in the New York Times Book Review are down to a few a year. A general, interested public is poetry's foremost need.

My experience and perception is the converse - poetry is in a golden age – in the classroom, in public interest and participation, poetry availability, and general interest.  When I was in the 5-6th grade we were required to memorize and then publicly recite poems, those of Whitman, Longfellow, and such.  Having to do that shit when I wanted to play ball didn’t endear me to the craft.  Indeed, we were not taught the craft, nor encouraged to write.  Just to worship the old poems.  Today, students are writing their own poems, with encouragement, free verse and otherwise.  There are poets in the schools programs, writing contests, and teachers who convey an appreciation for the marvel of words and poetry.  Sure, fifty years ago newspapers and magazines published poems, and it helped sell a few more copies to those who wanted poetry and had no other access.  The estimates of literary journals publishing poetry 50 years ago was 3-400.  But the proliferation of easy access via the net and otherwise has giving poetry folks vast volumes of poetry without the need to buy a paper or magazine for one or two poems.  Bookstores?  When were there ever great quantities of bookstores known for their poetry collections? 

The fact of the matter is that there are more people writing more poems today than ever before, and in immensely large numbers.  And rather than just sticking them into the drawer to show the cousins when they come visit, today’s poems are being published in greater numbers than ever. The number of hard and soft cover poetry volumes published has mushroomed with the proliferation of small presses which can economically do small runs of chapbooks and poetry collections.  There are the online self-publishing options which the new print-to-order economies opening new doors.  There estimated now over 2,000 markets which currently accept poetry.  Moreover, the online sites available for sharing and workshopping poetry have given outlets and opportunities never before imagined.  And in staggering numbers.  And it is safe to say that there is a synergistic effect to all of this which is promoting a burgeoning of poetry as never before. 

While Mr Barr’s premise of a decline of interest and participation in poetry is demonstrably false, the same conclusion arguably applies to second premise.  He writes:   

Not surprisingly, poetry has a morale problem. A few years ago I read a review, in the Sunday Times, of three books of poetry. One was about the agonies of old age, one about bombed-out Ireland, one about the poet's dead father. The question arises: how does one rouse an entire art form out of a bad mood? Of course the tragic has a place in poetry. Indeed one of poetry's jobs is to descant on the worst that life can hand us. As Yeats said, let "soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing / For every tatter in its mortal dress." But art should not be only about malfunction. . . .   Poetry's limitations today come not from failures of craft (the MFA programs attend to that) but from afflictions of spirit. American poetry has yet to produce its Mark Twain.

The assertion that American poetry’s producing a Mark Twain, or not, is indicative of anything is at once dubious and specious.  That American poetry suffers from afflictions of the spirit is another narrow and unsupportable proposition.  Has the man not read Billy Collins?  Or the hundreds (thousands?) of spirited and upbeat poems inspired by his work?  Or the warmly human works of William Stafford or the reverential offering in the poems of Wendell Barry?  Does he claim this supposed affliction of the spirit is fueled by the works of Sharon Olds,  Matthew Rohrer, or Kay Ryan?  A person may need to look, but there is so much energy, vibrancy, humanness, resilience, and grit to be found in poems currently being written and circulated.  My examples could be endless.

Barr’s next premise is that reality outgrows the art form: the art form is no longer equal to the reality around it. And this has afflicted contemporary poetry.  Again I disagree.  There are large swaths of poetry going in lots of directions.  In the early years of romantic poetry it may not have been easy to mark the trend.  And it is with hindsight Barr is able to properly note the beginning of American poetry, and modern poetry.  Who can say what scholars in the future will look back and conclude about the current writers and writing?

I see writers fully addressing current reality - Iraq war veterans as writers, Brian Turner’s poetry in Phantom Noise about struggles veterans face, Claudia Rankine’s poetry on race, Carolyn Forche’s “poetry of witness,”  - her observations with Amnesty International of civil war in El Salvador in the late 1970s, Marie Howe’s unflinching treatment of  the AIDS crisis through a personal lens, Cathy Park Hong’s poems about our increasing dependence on collective and digitized data, Beth Ann Fennelly’s frank inclusion of sensitive  topics  – female desire, sexuality, aging, and the difficulties and joys of motherhood, and the list is endless.  There is no reality outstripping art if a person looks for the poetry of today.  Who knows where any of this will lead, but to claim stagnation is to argue the answer is nowhere for all of it. I disagree.

The other thing that seems to totally allude Mr. Barr is the changed nature of poetry interaction.  There are famous correspondence sessions between poets of old.  And meetings, and poetry groups in people’s houses.  Much of that continues today, but is eclipsed by the online groups, the participatory blogsites devoted in whole or in part to poetry that spring up, blossom, and then may go =- all in a tremendously dynamic.   Whereas in 1910 a poetry study group might be defined in large part by the geography - who lived within easy travel distance in North Chicago to meet weekly?  Who knew each other through classes or whatnot?  Today, a working group of poets can consist of folks in Dublin, San Francisco, Des Moines, Calgary, Saipan, and Rome.  All of this suggests lines forming for more germaine and substantive reasons, which can only portend exciting outcomes of unpredictable natures. 

Frankly, I’m real excited about poetry today.  Tomorrow may be different.  ;D

Sorry if this is disjointed.  I didn't go back and edit. 

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: heidi52 on November 12, 2015, 03:31:11 PM
Your love and enthusiasm for the art form just shines through in your rebuttal.  ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on November 12, 2015, 05:56:40 PM
I can hardly add to what Tom said other than I think he gives Barr way more credit than I'm willing to. Barr's recounting of poetic history is that of the high-school freshman. He write as if each 'age' of poetry was the only thing going on at any given point in history and that those involved where always active participant in some form of 'movement'. While this may be true of a few of the handful of poets mentioned in the article it is a poor recounting reality. The article does not account for the volumes of wonderful writing going on at every period that we have not discovered, decided to overlook, reject for one reason or another in favor of those in the cannon, etc.

Emily Dickinson was just an isolated girl writing in a journal before she became an icon of American literature. The difference between then and now is the number of vehicles in which she could have chosen to express herself.

Who knows what patterns future critics might pick up on from all that's being written today?

I think Tom did a great job covering the vibrancy of the art. There are more poets and more outlets for poets than at any other time in history and there are more ways for us to connect.

Barr's tone is that of the academic decrying that their field of study is irrelevant outside of academia while ignorant of the fact that the bar down on the corner is holding an open mike.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 12, 2015, 06:11:24 PM
Well said, CP - I agree completely. :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on November 16, 2015, 10:26:41 AM
Your love and enthusiasm for the art form just shines through in your rebuttal.  ;D

Ditto.

Your points are well taken, Tom. Perhaps I was disgruntled because in my ModPo course we've been reading conceptualist poetics and uncreative writing, which I don't care for at all. Kenneth Goldsmith, Christian Bok, Caroline Bergvall, Rosmarie Waldrop, among others.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 16, 2015, 12:30:16 PM
I envy your coursework - it looks like you are exploring the current trends in poetry - even those that explore the boundaries of poetry in a seeming unpoetic way.  Even the unpleasant has the benefit of juicing up the gray-matter, hopefully, no?  The folks you list are certainly experimental.   I get what you say, some of the work is really, really, not what we want of art.   :)  Much like the last poem I posted. 8)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on November 21, 2015, 11:08:03 AM
"Tell the whole truth. Don’t be lazy, don’t be afraid. Close the critic out when you are drafting something new. Take chances in the interest of clarity of emotion .... Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours." -- poet Jane Kenyon

A little weekend inspiration. I think I'll go for a morning walk now. :-)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 21, 2015, 11:16:54 AM
Yes!  All of the things that made Bukowski grate. ;D ;D ;D

She was an interesting writer.  Good quote.  Have a good walk.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: CorneliusPoe on November 22, 2015, 08:50:56 AM
Yes!  All of the things that made Bukowski grate. ;D ;D ;D

Not all, but a fair sampling :P
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on January 21, 2016, 05:48:15 PM
Hey, I read the article cited by DP - - http://aldai.ly/1V8SDB3

Really worth reading.  I grew up with the poem noted there, which is lots of fun to recite out loud.  Unfortunately the bulk of my poetry instruction in school was memorization and recitation.  While that just killed by taste for poetry for a decade, there were some residual echoes when the time came. 

 :)

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on October 08, 2016, 07:20:38 PM

Hmph - so things are real quiet on the board - I know you old lags are lurking there maybe - bumping this back up as it's a useful thread. So as a departure point. I'm inviting members to submit the poetry elements that they consider important to their personal poetry toolboxes, roughly in order of importance. Here's mine -

presentation - including visual impact of shape -(easy to get wrong though)
strong opening, a hook, then pace and impact -
provocative content, enough ambiguity for shades of interpretation -
internal but subtle consistency of sound, pace and cadence -
an elevated, jinked ending, sometimes a couplet or other flourish
and.. some kind of buried subtlety no one notices 8)

That's my goal, anyway. 
 




 
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on January 09, 2017, 12:09:18 PM
While I was recently preparing my comments for an RMP poem posting, I found myself engaged in the common labor of thinking through the process of how a poem works, how it presents itself, and what avenues there be between writer and reader.  I thought of the ratio between what work the writer should do and what work is reasonably expected of the reader (The Ratio of course is critical).  I thought about a writer's obligation to understand and strive to meet reader expectations, and how deft writing can redirect, re-write, or even annihilate those expectations midway, or en route.  

And in this context I thought of Poetry, by Marianne Moore, and her directive to would-be poets to ". . . present / for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them. . . ." [emphasis added].  I have always thought this a majestic piece of writing (and advice).  So I pulled out the poem, re-read it for the umpteenth time, and wrote my comments around it.  I ended up not posting that part of the review, but that's not the point.

The Academy of American Poets operates its website Poetry.org, which selects and circulates a Poem-a-Day.  Its an easy email to sign up for.  The range of poetry is tremendous, and the selections are great.  For anyone wanting to write poetry, it is critical to read poetry, and that's my plug for this wonderful service.

That said, when I logged on yesterday -- surprise!  The Poem of the Day was Poetry, by Marianne Moore.   ;D ;D  

Cosmic threading, so subtle as to make a silkworm's work look like ship's rigging.  

In conformity with MWC's policy against including full poems, here's the link:

http://academyofamericanpoets.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/y/285533B7074C70F8/60B30439A3F431472438807772DD75D1



  
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on January 09, 2017, 04:46:10 PM

That said, when I logged on yesterday -- surprise!  The Poem of the Day was Poetry, by Marianne Moore.    ;D ;D 
Cosmic threading, so subtle as to make a silkworm's work look like ship's rigging.   


Amen, brother. Thanks for your thoughts and the resource.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on January 10, 2017, 06:11:49 AM
In what now seems a previous life I used to send out a regular newsletter.  I often ended it with a quote or two, and my own comments.  One week I wrote this.

1:  The poet is a bird of strange moods.  He descends from his lofty domain to tarry amongst us, singing; if we do not honor him he will unfold his wings and fly back to his dwelling place.
        Kahlil, Gabran (Thoughts and Meditations, 1960)
 
        ***         
        Sure sounds like some of the poets I've known ;-)
        Gyppo, 2002
       
        2:  The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness.
        Christopher Morley (Inward Ho!, 1923)

        ***       
         There you have it, the poetic way of saying they're all mad.  Perhaps they're not so different from writers after all, damn them; we both stand in the doorway between at least two worlds, knowing both but belonging to neither.
        Gyppo, 2002

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on January 10, 2017, 09:28:51 AM
Put me on the mailing list.  ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Gyppo on January 10, 2017, 10:53:25 AM
Sadly the newsletter is no more.  Time (the lack of) and technology (too much of) slowly conspired to kill it.  Plus a few years of being quite ill.  But occasionally I find traces of it lurking in the dark corners of my archives.

It was a mixed bag, but one of the regulars was an 'Urban Poet' with the unlikely pseudonym of Evan Chu Ali.  He was allegedly a Welsh/Chinese/Arab mongrel who lived in a cave.  Most of the time I wrote his doggerel, but occasionally there'd be a 'guest Evan' who offered verse 'in the style of'.

We once sent him off to the Balkans to experience life in the war zone.   He thought he'd won a literary prize and travel grant.  He wore a helmet with the message 'War Poet - God Help Me' in about twenty different languages.  After 48 hours of being shot at, mocked, and largely ignored, he was glad to get home to Wales.

I had a lot of fun with him, writing up moments of his life in his style.

Poets, and writers in general, have this ability to slip into another's skin, to see the world through other eyes.   Some find it harder than others to leave themselves at the door, so playing around at it, casually exploring the possibilities without expecting too much or a 100% success rate, is a very useful way of finding out what you can do.  In that respect Evan was a vehicle, roughly treated and neglected at times, but he usually started as soon as a deadline appeared.

Gyppo   

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on January 10, 2017, 11:09:52 AM

Fascinating, Gyppo, thanks for sharing. Sometimes I think (real) poets are just cynical dreamers in permanent oscillation.

He wore a helmet with the message 'War Poet - God Help Me' in about twenty different languages. 
                                                             
                                                          Brilliant stuff.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on January 10, 2017, 11:49:58 AM

And more to the point, he had a head for the helmet, as I read the posting.  :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on May 27, 2017, 10:35:05 AM


Question - background sounds, and whatnot - do you have a particular place where you always write?  What about background music?  Do these things affect your writing?  The tone and timber, the pace and nuances?  I have been thinking about my own case, and wonder about others...
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: drab on May 28, 2017, 11:07:10 AM
Always music playing on my laptop as I write.
Usually (but not always) contemporary piano music. And a few beers :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on May 28, 2017, 01:05:05 PM

I seem to prefer silence, and post-midnight silence at that but I'm not fussy about it. I write at my desk which has a notebook-type PC perched on a mini plastic crate and a normal keyboard, and general clutter. My desk is an old gate that was used as a painting bench before being re-purposed by me. I really like my loft-like office space - I built it out of old dock planks and posts. It has a vertical wooden ladder with old iron bars at the top, and I've made some other furniture for it. The rest of the house is very neat and tidy - real type A stuff - but I get to be creative in my little non-visible corner cave of chaos.  
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on May 28, 2017, 02:55:29 PM
YES! that's the place! I remember the poem you wrote about it some time ago----where is it?
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on May 29, 2017, 01:37:00 PM

Ha -this is interesting, Linda. I know the piece you are referring to, you mentioned it when I unearthed the one about you and your ma squabbling in the car-park. The thing is, I wrote that piece before I knew this town even existed or that I would build a wooden loft-ish office here. Think that one talks about a wooden studio lofted with light. Let me just go and find the poem - I can't remember the title and I have no copies of my poems - all here in the MWC cloud.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on May 29, 2017, 01:45:01 PM

Here it is but this is a revision. The original appeared two years earlier. Doesn't matter.



Anachronism

In a wooden studio lofted with light
writer and poet intercept lost ideologies,
sun mythologies and blood moon prophecies;
unearthing serendipity beyond a twist of mystery.

A butterfly commits suicide
inside a prehistoric temple
as risen proto-archetypes
walk naked into legend.
Bones of souls fall into the abyss,
a chasm swallows unwritten fears
and loss and despair beckon all days
of reckoning after careless joys.

A whitened season flees before red-blue skies -
as traveller and stonemason turn forwardly,
to absolution,
toward a thorn tree silhouette
towering with epiphanies, thirst and soliloquies.

Zen is observation: chi follows the wind.


Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on May 29, 2017, 01:51:08 PM
YES! that's it. I don't remember the original well enough to know where you changed it. I don't even understand it---I just like it----copied it and sent it to myself in an email just now :)

Thanks
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on May 29, 2017, 02:06:48 PM

Glad you like it. It's just about a new relationship, she is the traveller-writer, I am the stonemason-poet, and we tried to understand myths and mysteries, each blundering about from personal loss and grief, looking for explanations.
The risen prototypes walking naked into legend are the Adam and Eve archetype. Bones of souls and the chasm refers to the previous partners passed over (at 35 and 45). But together the new pair look forward, despite the war drums beating out there. The (acacia) thorn tree represents Africa and a focus for the absolution they grant each other to progress, individually and together. Something like that.  
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on May 29, 2017, 02:10:05 PM

My 'wooden studio lofted with light'.  :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on May 29, 2017, 03:40:12 PM
OMG its all beautiful: the poem, its meanings, the studio, your new life and love.....
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on May 29, 2017, 04:18:17 PM

Well, I'm fortunate to be here, after everything. Our story, K and me, is loaded with (many) strange coincidences, and you were a tangential part of it too. In retrospect, in order for us to meet, it was necessary for me to have no telephone (and no internet) for a couple of weeks. That's what happened, the phone lines kept getting whacked by lightning, it was ridiculous, I lived on that mountain farm for 7 years and never saw anything like it. I was gone from RMP for so long, it seemed I might have written myself off. That was the beginning, although I didn't know it.

http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=55192.0

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on June 02, 2017, 02:57:45 PM
Thanks for the link Mark, what a pleasure to re-read the poem and the thread.  Very special :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on June 02, 2017, 04:13:54 PM
What T said. Mark, your poems can be so vast while not in the least too general. What a great venue MWC is---I haven't run across any other with participants that are as good and thoughtful writers
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on June 02, 2017, 06:28:54 PM
The quality here jumped about five notches with your return, Linda. :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on June 02, 2017, 08:19:32 PM
 :) :) :)
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on June 04, 2017, 08:45:08 AM

I think all the recipients of those homage poems felt good - it was an interesting exercise. I actually did one in the NaPo thread - was meant to be ______ but no-one remarked on it. Here it is again, just for fun.



Tapestries

It's Saturday morning
I'm walking through crowds to the market
fruit and vegetables, perhaps sausage and beer too.
Sometimes my bones feel that patina of another decade added
in a half-step too low for the familiar curb. It doesn't worry me,
this exchange of life for time and the entropy of unwinding days.

My trudging feet are winter-pale, daring in old leather sandals
at the first hints of summer that unfolded in the city today.
The street scene is lively, for a moment I wonder about
the population of my neighborhood, it seems more polyglot
than usual and my imagination rotates, hesitating between gears.
I shrug and keep moving, a burly fish patrolling the canyons of his reef.

At home, in my apartment, I have student books to review. Today,
I'll set out my work on the dining-room table, the light there is good
and the silent study can enjoy its weekend illusions. Later,
she'll come through the doorway, her presence familiar, welcome,
a home within a home. In between our companionable silences,
in the interaction of inconsequential things, we weave unconsciously
upon the fabric of marriage, friendship and yes, the love word too.     

Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on June 04, 2017, 11:20:17 AM
Hi Mark - I read this at the time, NaPo-time, and was justly impressed.  I didn't get right away the subject author, but when that came clear it seems to fit very well, certainly as to the ambience, tone, tenor, and laconic treatment of the subject matter.  The long lines and large stanzas of course threw me off.

As I read this again, I am again impressed.  Sweet, sweet writing, Mark.

T
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on June 04, 2017, 12:34:21 PM

Tapestries

It's Saturday morning
I'm walking through crowds to the market
fruit and vegetables,
perhaps sausage and beer too.
Sometimes my bones feel that patina of another decade added
in a half-step too low for the familiar curb.
It doesn't worry me,
this exchange of life for time
and the entropy of unwinding days.

My trudging feet are winter-pale,
daring in old leather sandals
at the first hints of summer
that unfolded in the city today.
The street scene is lively, for a moment I wonder
about the population of my neighborhood,
it seems more polyglot
than usual and my imagination rotates,
hesitating between gears. I shrug and keep moving,
a burly fish patrolling the canyons of his reef.

At home, in my apartment, I have student books to review. Today,
I'll set out my work on the dining-room table,
the light there is good
and the silent study can enjoy its weekend illusions. Later,
she'll come through the doorway, her presence familiar, welcome,
a home within a home.
In between our companionable silences,
in (through?) the interaction of inconsequential things,
we weave unconsciously
upon the fabric of marriage, friendship
and yes, the love word too.     


Hi Mark what a lovely ending---the interaction in (I prefer "through") inconsequential things weaves the fabric of a relationship---mmmm-mmm. I went through and put in some extra line breaks because I believe I might be ADHD and shorter lines keep me more inclined to continue reading (that's a joke). But I agree with T the lines are long--perhaps not a negative to T, but it is to me. Nice peek into another's life.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: kateD on June 05, 2017, 03:39:25 PM
This is all great stuff, so WTH is it here? Why not RMP? I venture to this thread about once a quarter.

Love Tapestries, Mark.
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on June 05, 2017, 04:11:10 PM

Thanks Kate. It's been recycled here after appearing in Napo, just meandering.
Ty, thanks for your thoughts, appreciated.
Thanks for your take, Linda; it feels like every poem I write is experimental in some way. The shorter lines do add something but they also taketh away. The piece was written in the compressed timezone known as Napo, so there may be fuzzy edges. But with this type of non-dense prosy narrative, it just seems to lend itself to the longer lines, for me, anyways. But Ty is right, as a homage, it's off by virtue of the longer lines/stanzas.
With homages, we are supposed to imitate the recipient poet's style. Here, it was more about the poet -  according to my imagination, that is.  ::)
The homage exercise was interesting - it really pushes outside the comfort zone.       
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: indar on June 05, 2017, 05:37:03 PM
oh I didn't realize it was written to a prompt. I remember doing that on RMP a long time ago with some impressive results
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on June 06, 2017, 05:06:35 PM

the prompt was internal only
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on June 16, 2017, 02:07:43 PM

Some critiquing inspiration - Vogon poetry. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8JJH7ZL_Fk
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on November 20, 2017, 04:04:23 PM
It took me awhile, Mark, but that was pretty good link.


It is amazing what is available on Youtube.


This of course is one of my all-time faves:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDNCEp8Utjo



Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Tom 10 on January 23, 2018, 02:13:28 PM
Sorry, Mark.


I missed the import of Vogon Poetry when you first posted this.  I am mentally strolling toward the turnip patch as I type this. ;D
Title: Re: Poetic This!
Post by: Mark T on January 26, 2018, 05:18:58 AM

Tailors go to the turn-up patch. Sorry.