Author Topic: Poetic This!  (Read 70205 times)

Offline Tom 10

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Re: Poetic This!
« Reply #465 on: October 14, 2015, 06:06:44 PM »
You beat me in speed, I beat you in . . . bulk. ;D

Offline heidi52

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Re: Poetic This!
« Reply #466 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.  :-\


Offline Mark H

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Re: Poetic This!
« Reply #467 on: October 15, 2015, 02:07:13 AM »
Yep, that's what we should all aspire to, being dull and ordinary.
Buy Bristle Side Down, The Man Who Wore Brown Shoes and Middleclass Machismo here:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=570142

If poetry is not your thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PueM04F0Qz8 or: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0Zm8cj9MGg

Offline heidi52

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Re: Poetic This!
« Reply #468 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?

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Poetic This!
« Reply #469 on: October 15, 2015, 03:28:28 PM »
In court that would be seen as a leading question.
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Offline Tom 10

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Re: Poetic This!
« Reply #470 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"


« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 05:33:35 PM by Tom 10 »

Offline CorneliusPoe

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Re: Poetic This!
« Reply #471 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!"
"Poetry is not speech raised to the level of music, but music brought down to the level of speech." - Paul Valery

Offline kateD

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Re: Poetic This!
« Reply #472 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."

Offline lucidus

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Re: Poetic This!
« Reply #473 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.

Offline kateD

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Re: Poetic This!
« Reply #474 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.

Offline Tom 10

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Re: Poetic This!
« Reply #475 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. 


Offline heidi52

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Re: Poetic This!
« Reply #476 on: November 12, 2015, 03:31:11 PM »
Your love and enthusiasm for the art form just shines through in your rebuttal.  ;D

Offline CorneliusPoe

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Re: Poetic This!
« Reply #477 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.
"Poetry is not speech raised to the level of music, but music brought down to the level of speech." - Paul Valery

Offline Tom 10

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Re: Poetic This!
« Reply #478 on: November 12, 2015, 06:11:24 PM »
Well said, CP - I agree completely. :)

Offline kateD

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Re: Poetic This!
« Reply #479 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.