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Thread: Poetry is Dead

  1. #101
    Gott weiß ich will kein Engel sein VOTE_BOT's Avatar
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    We're doomed.




  2. #102
    Bufflehead mkcbunny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger J Carlson
    Hmmmm....poetry to Pamela. How many degrees of separation?
    Only one if you count Motley Crue lyrics.

  3. #103
    Touch and go robeiae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger J Carlson
    Hmmmm....poetry to Pamela. How many degrees of separation?
    Didn't she start out on Home Improvement. Man, that Tim Allen is funny! Did any of you see Jungle to Jungle? I thought it was cute, but I liked George of the Jungle better. I really like Brendon Fraser. He was in that movie where he grew up in a fallout shelter, right? Remember when everyone lived in fear of a nuclear war? Times were tense, but look at the music that sprung up from those fears. Bob Dylan had some great songs with that theme. Blowin' in the Wind is one of my all time favorites. His band was something-The Band! The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, wow...'Course I really like Joan Baez's version, too. But as far as female performers go, I always have preferred Linda Rondstadt. I had such a crush on her when I was younger. Had a poster of her up in my room, right across from a velvet poster of a tiger in a jungle. It was called Tiger, Tiger. Wasn't that from a Blake poem?

    I think it started something like this:

    Tiger, tiger burning bright
    In the forests of the night
    What immortal hand or eye
    Could frame that fearful symmetry

    How's that Roger!!

    Rob

  4. #104
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    If someone (or your kids) think poetry is boring, sissy, archaic, or whatever, introduce them to it through their normal channels.

    Say, if your kids are into video games. Choose one (maybe a fantasy/adventure or RPG like Myst) that employs poetry.

    If they like rock music, pick a good song and discuss with them what the lyrics mean, and why it's great poetry (Queen, or Pink Floyd, for example, has some great poetry in their lyrics)...

    Can anybody find me somebody to love?
    Each morning I get up I die a little
    Can barely stand on my feet
    Take a look in the mirror and cry
    Lord what you're doing to me
    I have spent all my years in believing you
    But I just can't get no relief, Lord!
    Somebody, somebody
    Can anybody find me somebody to love?

    I work hard every day of my life
    I work till I ache my bones
    At the end I take home my hard earned pay all on my own -
    I get down on my knees
    And I start to pray
    Till the tears run down from my eyes
    Lord - somebody - somebody
    Can anybody find me - somebody to love?


    Introduce your kids to poetry through some other venues and cultural events, such as opera, musicals, plays, even movies. Frex, Nessun Dorma is very familiar, haunting song (even a Metal band sang it), and the lyrics is very poetic:



    No-one shall sleep!
    No-one shall sleep!
    You too, oh Prince,
    In your cold room, watch the stars
    Trembling with love and hope!


    But my secret lies hidden within me,
    No-one shall discover my name!
    Oh no, I will only reveal it on your lips
    When daylight shines forth!


    And my kiss shall break
    The silence that makes you mine!


    [Choir:]
    No-one shall discover her name!
    And we will, alas, have to die, to die!
    Depart, oh night!
    Set, you stars!
    Set, you stars!
    At dawn I shall win!
    I shall win! I shall win!

    I didn't want to work. It was as simple as that. I distrusted work, disliked it. I thought it was a very bad thing that the human race had unfortunately invented for itself.
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  5. #105
    Bufflehead mkcbunny's Avatar
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    First, I have to say, Haskins, you start some excellent threads.

    It's tempting to vilify contemporary media, but as mommie4a pointed out, modern life has a lot of positive things going for it in addition to whatever "dumbing down" negatives we tend to perceive. We wouldn't be having this delightful chat among distant strangers without tehcnology, for one thing. I think a lousy educational system and a f**ked-up sense of national priorites on the funding front is more to blame than media itself, because media is produced to fill popular demand. It's all business and the producers chase the audience.

    Take the movie Sylvia, a biographical drama starring an Oscar-winning actress. It had Oscar-nom written all over it. But nobody went. Well, perhaps some of the folks in this room, but "nobody" from the business standpoint. So, do many movies of its ilk get made? No. Julie Taymor's Frida did a bit better as an artist-bio, but that's because Salma Hayek was rabid about the project, backed it, and put a lot of time and publicity effort into it . But still, how many films do we get like Titus? I think you can make a valid case that some film is poetic, and a film like Titus is a synthesis of visual and written poetry that could not have been matched, obviously, before film was invented.

    I used the above examples both because the subjects related to poetry and because the films to varying degrees are poetic. But since our current culture doesn't emphasize poetry or literature, these films are a tough sell. All that said, Shakespeare is still a pretty popular guy. Film adaptations of his works are constantly coming out, some being better than others, and some being of the "reimagined" variety, aimed at the MTV generation. But, hey, Shakespeare filtered through Baz Luhrman is still Shakespeare.

    And, lest we not forget, with Titus being an excellent example, that Shakespeare himself was no slouch in the violence and "evil" department.

    That was a lot longer than I meant it to be. I have to leave NOW for dinner, or I might weed it down to about three sentences.
    Last edited by mkcbunny; 06-25-2005 at 11:07 AM.

  6. #106
    Troubled-Talks with animals. jdkiggins's Avatar
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    Yes, Haskins, I agree that you start some fascinating threads.

    Will you be my poetry mentor? I'm really lousy at it and fall into all the categories you spoke about.

    Edit: I'm also really bad on a keyboard late at night.
    Last edited by jdkiggins; 06-25-2005 at 04:04 PM.
    Joanne aka: writeafterdark
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    This essay has been published 47 times since it was written.

    Poise--the art of raising an eyebrow instead of the roof.

  7. #107
    Bufflehead mkcbunny's Avatar
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    Ok, back from dinner [Vietnamese/Spicy Lemon Grass Beef] and had to add another thought.

    This lament about the death of poetry isn't isolated to one medium; it's common to multiple art forms at the moment. We just got back from a gallery opening in the city [S.F.], and it was another case of mostly mediocre work. Painting is always "dying," in art circles. It was pronounced "dead" for nearly a decade when I was pretty sure I was still alive and making solid work. But then it surges again, and suddenly painting "is back." It's a similar discussion.

    People, especially in this area, are encouraged to express themselves freely as a form of therapy. We're "all artists inside" who should be "encouraged." I think this applies both to both poetry in the public "slam" and coffee-house environments and to visual art. Everyone's capable of picking up a brush. Everyone's a "poet inside." What happens in these non-critical, hyper-supportive environments is that people who aren't very talented are encouraged to continue on for their own pleasure. And when no one critiques them, they just continue to foist absolute crap on the public.

    In the case of visual arts, you get the annual Open Studios event, wherein hundreds of "artists" open their work spaces to the public. The public then trots around to see artists in their natural habitat and possibly get a bargain in the process. Talk about depressing.

    That's my art rant, but it's the same with poetry, I think. Blare something revealing at a coffee shop and you're a poet. I loathe free-for-all poerty events and will run the other way if I stumble upon one accidentally.

    Don't get me wrong. People have a right to paint whatever they want and write whatever they want. I just wish there was an acceptable way to let mediocre artists know their work isn't very good. As it stands, they just throw it out there, and people who don't know any better think it's high art.

    I guess it's my east-coast sensibility. Criticism is expected; you survive it and improve. Love the Bay Area, but no one out here has any idea how to critique anyone else; they're all afraid of hurting someone's feelings.

    OK, I am done. Do I feel better? No.
    Last edited by mkcbunny; 06-25-2005 at 11:36 AM.

  8. #108
    Sandwich Maker aboyd's Avatar
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    I'm here in the Bay Area, and I'm critiquing a lot -- lots of time invested, lots of detail -- and most poets get pissy about it. I have people on my board who have urged me to say 1 nice thing for every problem area I highlight. That's very karmic, but what do you do when the poem has no (or few) redeeming qualities?

    I don't know. The biggest problem for me isn't that there are no true critics. It's that the emotional-support-cheerleaders outnumber the true critics by about a million to one. Post something detailed and possibly negative (or at least, something that isn't all glitter and balloons) in the AW poetry forum, or on mine, or on wwforums. You may find that people pop up quickly with counter-comments like "well I loved it" and "this is a great, great poem." You provide depth and reasoned analysis, they provide a one-liner. Guess what? When you have 1 seemingly-grumpy critic telling you your poem needs real work, and 6 cheerleaders shouting, "yaaaay YOU" it's hard to go with the critic.

    I think one of the more annoying issues with new poets is the mindset that anyone can be an expert. Example: a generic person who has written 20 poems. That's 19 more than his/her friends ever bothered to write. Oooooo. So you give the person some pointers, and said generic person basically responds, "whatEVAR! That's not how poetry works." Yay. 20 poems, and the poet is beyond reproach. Great.

    I don't get that when I do computer programming. There are no people who pop up on the Webmaster forums and post error-prone, dangerous code and then ignore critique. I don't think I've once had a newbie geek read my suggestions and say, "OMG! That is soooo lame! Who cares if the data is lost and no one else can understand what I wrote?!?" None. Well, OK, I had a boss who said that once, but then everything he touched was hacked, and I quit. 99% of programmers accept critique eagerly.

    Anyway, sorry for the rant. I've written maybe 30 crits this week on various sites, and it's on my mind.

    -Tony

  9. #109
    Touch and go robeiae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aboyd
    I think one of the more annoying issues with new poets is the mindset that anyone can be an expert. Example: a generic person who has written 20 poems. That's 19 more than his/her friends ever bothered to write. Oooooo. So you give the person some pointers, and said generic person basically responds, "whatEVAR! That's not how poetry works." Yay. 20 poems, and the poet is beyond reproach. Great.
    You make a valid point, I think, one that applies equally to literature and art, as well.

    Here's a question: how "good" should poetry be in order to be recognized as good poetry or maybe even published? Quite obviously, almost anything can end up in book or on a frame. Hell, I've seen photagraphy collections with pictures that my 7-year-old could have taken (and probably has). Yet, some of them have been published and made into coffee table books. I was able to attend some special events to see some private art collections recently, all contemporary art, and I was blown away by what was being labeled as "significant." And of course, for regular literature (and poetry, as well) there are all the vanity presses. However, I happened to browse through the poetry section in a local Borders, not too long ago. I wasn't particualry moved...but maybe it's too early and I should have some coffee before I start critiqueing poetry collections...

    Rob

  10. #110
    back door man Godfather's Avatar
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    i agree with william.

    poetry is dead.
    music is dead.
    politics are sh*t.


    we need another bob dylan
    somebody to revive... life.
    we need a revolution.
    He could not get out the answer for the sum but it did not matter. White roses and red roses: those were beautiful colours to think of.

    - Joyce

  11. #111
    It's a New Year! rhymegirl's Avatar
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    I think the irony of this thread titled, Poetry is Dead, is that in discussing it here, we've brought poetry back to life.

    I've always liked this poem by E. E. Cummings. (I also like "my father moved through dooms of love", but it's mighty long to reprint here.)

    since feeling is first

    since feeling is first
    who pays any attention
    to the syntax of things
    will never wholly kiss you;
    wholly to be a fool
    while Spring is in the world.

    my blood approves,
    and kisses are a better fate
    than wisdom
    lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
    -the best gesture of my brain is less than
    your eyelids' flutter which says

    we are for each other: then
    laugh, leaning back in my arms
    for life's not a paragraph

    And death i think is no parenthesis.

  12. #112
    "I know that poetry is indispensable, but to what I could not say." - Jean Cocteau

    "A poet in history is divine; but a poet in the next room is a joke." - Max Eastman

    "There is no money in poetry; but then there is no poetry in money, either." - Robert Graves

    "Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo." - Don Marquis

    "A publisher of today would as soon see a burglar in his office as a poet." - Henry de Vere Stacpoole
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  13. #113
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    A song without poetry is like a body without a soul...

    I didn't want to work. It was as simple as that. I distrusted work, disliked it. I thought it was a very bad thing that the human race had unfortunately invented for itself.
    -- Agatha Christie





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  14. #114
    Touch and go robeiae's Avatar
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    Not a big fan of Foghat, I take it...

    Rob

  15. #115
    Bufflehead mkcbunny's Avatar
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    Haskins: You always provide such terrific quotes. Your new User Title cracks me up.

    I want you all to know that I still have that accursed Rush song stuck in my head today, and I am not happy about it. Those responsible know who they are.

    Quote Originally Posted by aboyd
    I'm here in the Bay Area, and I'm critiquing a lot ...
    Call us the grumpy Bay Area critics group. Don't get my husband started, he'll offer a rant that would put both of us to shame.

    I recall college days when year-end painting critiques would roll around and some people would be in tears by the time it was over. There were always people who added positive comments where warranted, but the "guest critics" [who were usually gallery owners, newspaper reviewers, and the like] were extremely blunt. Rarely were they intentionally mean. It was merely objective critisicm, but artists would take it all so personally. It's hard not to. But that training is what prepares you for rejection in any creative endeavor.

    Relating to what aboyd just said, I spent five years as a film critic and editor here in S.F., in which capacity I exchanged editorial critisicm with my fellow editors day in and day out. It's part of the job, and if you can't do it, you get fired. Nobody fires a poet for her coffee-house ramblings. Especially in the East Bay.

  16. #116
    yeah, a lot of it is the PC "inclusiveness" that tony speaks of. i do my best to encourage young poets; not from any feeling that i'm qualified to make grand pronouncements, but simply because i want to ensure survival of the species.

    but i will state, without hesitation, that simply stringing words together in verse form does not a poet make.

    the bar has been lowered in many facets of our culture, largely due to the (beneficial, in my opinion) deconstruction of formalism that occurred over the past 125 years or so.

    the downside of that experimentation, however, is that it makes various disciplines (painting, music and poetry, in particular) appear deceptively simple. with no rules, there can be no criticism -- or so some would think.

    the uniformed could look at a later picasso and say, "hell, i could do that", without any knowledge that picasso painted on par with the great masters as a young teenager; he had excelled in formal style before he ever broke its rules.

    the catch-22 for me is that valid poetry is largely locked in the ivory tower of academia. among the unwashed masses, poetry is generic and wide-ranging and, for anyone who wants to see the artform not only survive, but thrive, they will find themselves caught between pushing people away with real, incisive criticism or opening their arms to the intellectually lazy, the historically ignorant and, let's face it, the talentless.
    Last edited by William Haskins; 06-26-2005 at 01:31 AM.
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  17. #117
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    ... i promise i won't bastidize poetry anymore...

    I didn't want to work. It was as simple as that. I distrusted work, disliked it. I thought it was a very bad thing that the human race had unfortunately invented for itself.
    -- Agatha Christie





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  18. #118
    trust me, sir. you don't. i like your work.
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  19. #119
    Bufflehead mkcbunny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Haskins
    yeah, a lot of it is the PC "inclusiveness" that tony speaks of. i do my best to encourage young poets; not from any feeling that i'm qualified to make grand pronouncements, but simply because i want to ensure survival of the species....

    ... the catch-22 for me is that valid poetry is largely locked in the ivory tower of academia. among the unwashed masses, poetry is generic and wide-ranging and, for anyone who wants to see the artform not only survive, but thrive, the find themselves caught between pushing people away with real, incisive criticism or opening their arms to the intellectually lazy, the historically ignorant and, let's face it, the talentless.
    There's the rub, indeed. Survival of the fittest is irrelevant if the species becomes extinct.

  20. #120
    practical experience, FTW jackie106's Avatar
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    Poetry Post-Mortem

    I take issue with the way that poetry is taught in many workshops. The focus is often on "finding your voice" or "unlocking your creativity" rather than on learning the fundamentals of the craft. This method of teaching assumes that everyone has poetry inside of them, they just need the right tools to find it.

    It takes more than glorified navel-gazing to write poetry. Many would-be poets don't read enough poetry to become competent.

    Learning to write poetry involves a lot of reading, a lot of writing and a lot of failures. I look at the poetry that I wrote a few years ago--even the poems that I got published in semi-well known journals--and cringe. Everything turns to dust with time. I write, rewrite, rewrite the rewrite, fall in love with with my own work and shove it in the back of the closet. Months, days, years later, I pull it out and start the process over again. Gutting my work and compulsively rewriting is the only way I know how to write fiction or poetry.

    Jackie

  21. #121
    Mother of All Addictions mommie4a's Avatar
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    I don't know the answer to this question, but I would like to know the answer. In all of time since poetry has been available to read, has it ever been the predominantly read form of written expression? Is the decline of poetry, as described in this thread, relative to poetry only? Or do you believe that it used to be on par - as far as a form pursued by writers and readers - with other forms (prose, fiction, other forms of storytelling) but is now in decline due to competition from 20th and 21st Century elements?

  22. #122
    Touch and go robeiae's Avatar
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    A loaded question, since that portion of a society that was/is literate has varied greatly, both in comparison to other societies and across time in the same society...but an excellent question nonetheless!

    Rob
    I put for the general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death. --Thomas Hobbes

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  23. #123
    Mother of All Addictions mommie4a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robeiae
    A loaded question, since that portion of a society that was/is literate has varied greatly, both in comparison to other societies and across time in the same society...but an excellent question nonetheless!

    Rob
    Hmm - didn't mean to make it loaded. I really meant it as it stands - I don't know the history of poetry as a form embraced or ignored by people through time. I only know it as I learned it, was exposed to it, in school and then occasionally on my own.

    Any ideas as to the answer?

  24. #124
    Touch and go robeiae's Avatar
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    I think it was largely a function of proficiency. When the most proficient creative talents in period chose poetry, the general inclination of the talent pool was to follow suit. Also, the dominate form of public entertainment would tend to affect this inclination.

    Now there are several schools of thought out there that seek link methods of expression with culture. Nieztschean thought, for intance, places poetry with music as form, insofar as it is more linked to emotion and tends to the formless. Here, it is the Dionysian element that is more true; those cultures that are more Dionysian are more real and more poetic/musical (and vice-a-versa). Thus Greek trumps Roman, but Romantic trumps Enlightened, etc. If this anlysis is correct, poetry would be "bigger" in the former cultures of each pair. What do you think? (I think this view is flawed, though somewhat consistent with the development of historiography)

    It's late, isn't it?

    Rob
    I put for the general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death. --Thomas Hobbes

    Quote Originally Posted by CassandraW
    You're a smug, sneering, ranting asshole, and yet even when I despise your position, I like you.
    Quote Originally Posted by swachski
    You're a gentleman and a scholar...
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  25. #125
    Mother of All Addictions mommie4a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robeiae
    I think it was largely a function of proficiency. When the most proficient creative talents in period chose poetry, the general inclination of the talent pool was to follow suit. Also, the dominate form of public entertainment would tend to affect this inclination.
    Well - I have to reach back into my history annals but I think of Greek plays as a dominant form of expression for a long time. And of course, it depends on the eras and cultures as you suggest other schools of thought believe. What about tribal cultures where oral storytelling survived for hundreds of years. But I think overall, this premise (in your first sentence) is logical.

    Now there are several schools of thought out there that seek link methods of expression with culture. Nieztschean thought, for intance, places poetry with music as form, insofar as it is more linked to emotion and tends to the formless. Here, it is the Dionysian element that is more true; those cultures that are more Dionysian are more real and more poetic/musical (and vice-a-versa). Thus Greek trumps Roman, but Romantic trumps Enlightened, etc. If this anlysis is correct, poetry would be "bigger" in the former cultures of each pair. What do you think? (I think this view is flawed, though somewhat consistent with the development of historiography)
    I think it is in fact late. I also think, based on my cursory recollection of the Englightenment and subsequent eras, that as science and industrialization took hold in certain societies and economies, they too affected the use of and view toward poetry.

    I think any poet who would refuse to go on Oprah might also help tighten the noose around the accessibility and interest in the form.

    Jill

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