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kborsden
03-14-2016, 01:45 AM
“Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people.”
~ Adrian Mitchell (24 October 1932 – 20 December 2008)

I remember an old mantra from the creative writing classes: 'only write from what you know'. Now, that doesn't mean one should only write pages from a personal journal, but that whatever we write, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, romance, the reality of it, the humanity, emotion and social aspects should have foundation in the world as we have personally experienced it. To an extent, this makes sense—but it quickly becomes restrictive; a poet/writer can find themself isolated by their own experience, or worse, trapped in their own work. The only way out seems more to study the lives of others, to observe not just what they have experienced but how, and take from them what we don't know.

Fernando Pessoa (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?311818-Rate-a-Poet-Fernando-Pessoa) is a perfect example of a poet who broke free of the chains of his own experience. The body of his work questions the notion of authorship, ownership and individual identity. It's been said many times that we all wear many masks and behave differently depending on where we find ourselves. Indeed, even in writing we should lean on 'register' and vocabulary to establish voice and tone when inventing characters or speaking on a certain topic. Pessoa says it best [35 Sonnets, Sonnet VIII]: "How many masks wear we, and undermasks, upon our countenance of soul ...". This is by no means a new concept. However, it's not just masks we wear nowadays. People seem to have evolved new virtual appendages from their skulls with the uncanny ability to morph their actual faces, each new visage with a perpetually shifting variation of the personality. Identity politics is the new set of commandments, and the metrics of profile status seem to outweigh authenticity. It's hard to know what true reality lies between the one projected on the internet and the one behind closed doors.

I'm not bashing social media—I'm not bemoaning the evils of a digital social landscape; I'm not up on my soapbox (yet). However, I am saying that really knowing people is growing harder, and the smaller the world becomes, the closer it nits itself, the more extreme the projected faces become, the more detached and distant we get to what we ever did know to write from to begin with.

My poetry is primarily first person, and the bulk of it stems from my personal experience. I try to capture a moment of thought. I attempt to crystallize that moment and portray through my verse not only whatever sparked it, but also its legacy. That doesn't mean I can't pretend a moment belonging to someone else, or that I can't inject what I believe another may take from it. But I do often wonder how much of what I write is relevant to anyone but me. Of what I write, what is important/real and not just ego? Should I even care? I'd like to think that what I share in my poetry bridges the gap between poet and reader; I'd love to believe that a poem cannot simply be ignored because it expresses one person's crystalline 'moment'. Yet, the more I think of how social media should bring us closer and allow us to dip into a wondrous pool of shared experience, the more I see that job having once belonged to poetry before it: for centuries poetry has been used to record events and happenings, personal endeavours and the entire spectrum of human emotion and rationality—and the greater disconnect I see. The new shared world is not a shimmering pool of memories stored in binary objects. It's a homogeneous chorus of voices shouting 'look at me!'. There's no denying the power of escapism gained from the brave new frontiers we've ventured into from the comfort of our living-rooms and this is also not a new phenomenon. Looking back through history, there have been many shared worlds introduced (radio, cinema, tv to name a few), each of them providing immediate escape; the internet in all of its offerings differs because what is shared doesn't have to drift in vibrations on the air, it isn't intangible images trapped behind glass, it isn't contained to ink on a page.

I don't believe Mitchell's 'most people' ever ignored poetry because it ignored them; they came to ignore poetry because they found more interesting things to help them ignore themselves and for a time put on a face for others to notice. And you know what? I don't mind that at all. In many ways, my poetry serves a similar purpose. Every poem I've ever written is a piece of me I didn't want forgotten embellished in metaphor, draped in flowery phrase—my poetry is my facial appendage and I'm always happy for it to be looked at; happier still to hide behind it.

CassandraW
03-14-2016, 05:39 AM
I do not think a poem about an individual's experience = a poem to which others cannot relate. To the contrary, I think a well-written poem about a personal experience can tap into the universal -- and indeed, can do so more profoundly than a more generic poem.

We were just having this discussion in critique the other day (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?316709-Last-Kiss-Before-Dying) -- if a poem is, e.g., just about sorrow for some dead person, with no individual detail, it tends to elicit a "meh." But something that comes straight from the wellspring of the poet's experience can elicit emotion. The poet's individual sorrow resonates with the reader, makes him feel it, and perhaps brings to mind his own experience of sorrow.

That doesn't mean a poem necessarily has to be confessional or in the first person to resonate -- but I would maintain a poem needs something of individuality to resonate.

So. I really do not think most people ignore poetry because it is personal/confessional. I think they ignore it because:

(1) Schools drummed poetry into many children's heads as a tedious duty they could escape after high school, rather than as a pleasure. It's difficult to escape associations like that, especially if nothing comes along later on to make you reconsider that prejudice.

(2) Bad teachers sometimes make students feel like idiots if they don't immediately grasp metaphor and symbolism. A patient teacher who helps students learn how to delve into metaphor and think in terms of metaphor is a godsend. Alas, that's rare, and getting rarer, since schools are now teaching to the multiple choice standardized test. And few parents are reading poetry with their kids. So many people grow up with an insecure (or downright hostile) "I just don't get poetry" feeling that they never shake.

And even taking aside the hostility/insecurity, if you never learn to read for metaphor and nuance, you probably are going to miss a lot in poetry. You might catch the pretty meter and rhyme, if there is any, but you'll miss much of the poem. It's not that it's that hard to learn, but you do have to learn to think in those terms (IMO) and many don't.

(3) short attention spans -- people have become accustomed to skimming through media, not focusing on every word. But a really good poem requires you to focus on every word because every single one is important. The line breaks are important. The title is important. Miss one small detail, and you might miss the point of the poem -- and certainly you will miss some of the beauty. I don't think it's rocket science, but I do think it requires some thought and attention.

Most people aren't really into reading carefully and contemplating nuance these days. And they can easily find plenty of media of all kinds that won't require them to do so.

I don't think that other media is "more interesting" than a good poem. But I do think much of it is less effort than appreciating a poem. And many people prefer easy. If they don't think of unpacking poetry as a profound pleasure (as I do, as I know many of you do), but instead think of it as a hideous task inflicted on helpless schoolchildren by pedants, then they aren't going to bother.


I accept that most people in my life are never going to look at any of my poetry. (No one in my family has read the poem I wrote about my father's death, for example.) I'll keep writing it anyway.

ETA:

In part because I assume a certain amount of reluctance on the part of many readers to engage with a poem, I usually try to provide something easily graspable on the surface that might tempt them in -- musicality, an obvious meaning, a nice clear image or two, a story -- something that makes them say "oh, I get this!"

I usually try to put in a good bit more than that in terms of metaphor, but I get that not all readers are going to bother digging for that. But at least, I hope, they'll walk away with something. And a wee part of me hopes that if they enjoy the candy on the top, they'll bother lingering around long enough to open the box and poke around a bit. An incurable optimist, c'est moi.

Smirkin
03-14-2016, 07:03 AM
I'm a teacher, and points (1) and (2) above are spot on in my experience. To add insult to injury, many many schools are dumping poetry altogether from curricula. It's too "hard," kids (and many teachers) "hate it," and it's not on the test so why bother. I recently saved my soul and got a job at a private school which prioritizes poetry (and other creative writing styles) so heavily that people complain it's too much :) Kids in grades 1-8 write and read poetry for 6 full weeks every year, and that's just official Poetry Season - lots of poetry is woven into the rest of the year as well. And of course they love it, and of course it speaks to them, and they write it beautifully. I have so many little budding poets it makes me cry to think of how many more are being snuffed out every day in most other schools.

However, I often think of things like hip hop culture, and the rising popularity of spoken word, and bumper stickers, and even pop music. It's not poetry I know, but these things prove that people still love words, and they like spending time listening and thinking about them, and there's still a respect for the power of language. Kids still have their favorite lines of their favorite songs, and it's not a huge leap from there to poetry in my view. It might be a while before they get to sonnets, but I had a lot of positive experience introducing the "I hate poetry" crew to poets like Emily Dickinson and Billy Collins and Mary Oliver and Robert Frost, and we always found something everyone liked. In the classroom I relied heavily on Billy Collins's Poetry 180 project, and he did a great thing there for all teachers looking for a quick (because we're not granted much time by The Test) foray into poems that had half a chance of attracting kids who, as CassandraW rightly pointed out, have been completely trained to think they hated poetry.

As to the idea that poetry is self-indulgence, this is one of the main things that keeps me from putting myself out there. I am often paralyzed by the thought that, as Kie says, my poems are only relevant to me. I did take a conference once with Peter Murphy and his advice to "tell one truth and tell one lie" has always intrigued me, and I've wondered whether this might help me feel like my poem goes outside of my own realm and perspective to a place where others could enter. I think about this a lot lately.

CassandraW
03-14-2016, 07:12 AM
heh. On the self-indulgence front -- I was just fretting about that. (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?314085-Adrift-on-a-Wine-Dark-Sea&p=9769246&viewfull=1#post9769246)

I do not feel my poetry itself is self-indulgent. But knowing how few people care about poetry, I do sometimes worry I will seem self-indulgent if I wave it around too much trying to get people to read it.

ETA:

Indeed, even the most self-indulgent poetry (and in my view, only really bad poetry can qualify as that) cannot come close to the self-indulgence of much popular culture, especially these days. Listen to Kanye sing about how he made Taylor Swift, for example. For that matter, aren't most of Taylor Swift's songs confessional? Aren't many pop songs? And let's not even talk about facebook, twitter, instagram, etc., etc.

A good poem that ties a personal experience into the universal? That is not self-indulgent.

Alas, though, people are clamoring to hear Kanye make an ass of himself, and only a tiny minority are genuinely into reading poetry. Hence, I cannot help but feel self -conscious -- and yes, a wee bit self-indulgent -- waving my poem about and asking people to read it. (Too bad Kanye doesn't have a touch of that feeling, actually. The world would be a less annoying place.)

Kylabelle
03-14-2016, 02:47 PM
Smirkin, that school you've found to teach in would have been heaven to me. God, the fact it even exists gives me such a lift!

CassandraW
03-14-2016, 04:12 PM
Smirkin, that school you've found to teach in would have been heaven to me. God, the fact it even exists gives me such a lift!

Agree. I do know they exist -- a friend of mine's daughters attend such a school. It costs the earth, but I'm truly impressed by the imaginative, interesting things they're doing. I've read some of the stories and essays the kids are turning out and they're terrific.

Alas, though -- that does not seem to be the direction most schools are heading.

kborsden
03-14-2016, 04:26 PM
Alas, though -- that does not seem to be the direction most schools are heading

I think it depends on the funding/business model. At least, in the UK it does. My kids attend a so-called 'free' school (I think Charter/Chartered school is comparable in the US). As such it is only part funded by the state, so all additional funding comes from the parents and the body of governors and charities. They have to follow the basics of the national curriculum to some degree adhering to equivalent bench marks (tests like SAT, GCSE and A-level), but are exempt from being tied to it explicitly. The stuff my kids come home with astonishes me and makes me wish I was 7 years old again, just so I could have a week there.

CassandraW
03-14-2016, 04:41 PM
In the US, many of our public schools are sucking much of the joy and beauty out of learning, and teaching the kids to pass standardized tests. A couple of my teacher acquaintances think it's terrible, but there is little they can do -- these decisions are made higher up. The private schools seem to do better, but few can afford them.

It sounds like the UK isn't there, and that's a very good thing.

ETA:

What makes me a little crazy is that some of my parent friends seem to conclude "well, if the kids do well on those tests, it must be a good school." Which of course helps drive the whole miserable rat race.

But the one friend whose kids attend the cool school -- their homework is so interesting, and so are the kids.

gettingby
03-20-2016, 02:22 AM
Smirkin -- I, too, love the what your school is doing. There are so many benefits those kids are going to get out of that. I was turned off to poetry at a young age. We actually did have poetry introduced to us in school. I was so excited about it and loved what we were reading and the chance to write it. However, the poems we wrote were graded. I remember pouring my heart out and trying so hard, but I could never get an A on any of my poems. I didn't really care about the grade, but I wanted desperately to hear some encouragement, and I never got it.

I went on to be a writer -- first a journalist, now mostly fiction. I kind of always thought I just wasn't good enough to be a poet. Now, I'm taking a poetry class. I'm probably the worst in the class. I say that because my classmates are really good and many of them already have long-standing relationships with poetry. It's a challenging course with a great professor. And I think reading and discussing and writing poetry is such a great experience. Though I will get a grade for this class, my professor isn't giving us grades on each poem we write. We get comments, and even when the comments aren't exactly what I was hoping for, my professor encourages revisions. I have taken his comments and gone back to rework every poem I have done for this class. He is teaching us we can be better and exposing us to truly great works.

There is a world of poetry outside the classroom, too. I love going to poetry readings. Some of the bookstores and even bars around me have them. I would say there is a pretty eclectic mix that shows up at these poetry reading. I really enjoy them, and there is always quite a crowd. People still want poetry. They're just tucked in the back room of a dive bar. :)

Smirkin
03-20-2016, 04:26 AM
well funny thing is, my little poetry-loving school is also a nontraditional school in which there are no grades whatsoever. I know that's not everybody's cup of tea, but in the classroom with young writers, it is so amazingly freeing to just have kids write until they (or we) feel a piece is what we want, or need, it to be at that moment. We do corrections, we discuss revisions, we talk about what we learned to apply to the next draft, but there is no grade to label anything as "good" or "bad." I think for the work of writing in particular, this is a huge part of helping kids to see themselves as writers.

Steppe
03-20-2016, 04:32 AM
Kie - Loved your essay. I really liked, "I attempt to capture a moment of thought." And "My poetry is my facial appendage and I'm always happy to be looked at; happier still to hide behind it".

I will reread this again. Also enjoyed everyone's comments as well.

Fruitbat
03-20-2016, 04:45 AM
I don't know that more people should like poetry any more than more people should especially like anything else.

I like to write flash fiction and find that many people just aren't interested in reading that, either. They'd rather read a novel. Okay, then.

kborsden
03-20-2016, 12:28 PM
I don't know that more people should like poetry any more than more people should especially like anything else.


I'm not saying they should. I'm simply responding to the quote I opened with and questioning the relevance of poetry in a world where 'sharing' experience and cataloguing one's life is done via tools other than poetry (something poetry was once used for by many). The post is nothing more than thoughts on that...

ZachJPayne
03-20-2016, 12:46 PM
In re teaching: It's been my dream to (okay, write, but) teach English. I went in to my first ever education class, and it just completely broke that. Dear God, the bureaucracy.

I owe my love of poetry to an AP English IV teacher. This woman was wonderfully reclusive and self-deprecating. Most senior English teachers spent the entire year teaching the district-mandated Senior Project, going over it in painstaking agony. With this teacher, we spent two days on it, and spent an entire semester on poetry. It was god awful, it was magical, and I understand meter because of her.

To the original point: for me, it's not that people don't like poetry as much, it's that they don't acknowledge the poetry in everything. The poetry in math and science, the poetry in music, the poetry in spoken language.

I wish I'd had this quote from The West Wing as a sign, to wear through many high school and college classes that have required students to read:


Words, when spoken out loud for the sake of performance, are music. They have rhythm, and pitch, and timbre, and volume. These are the properties of music, and music has the ability to find us and move us, and lift us up in ways that literal meanings can't. Do you see?



Poetry is music in language, folks. :)

Kylabelle
03-20-2016, 01:04 PM
In re teaching: It's been my dream to (okay, write, but) teach English. I went in to my first ever education class, and it just completely broke that. Dear God, the bureaucracy.

I owe my love of poetry to an AP English IV teacher. This woman was wonderfully reclusive and self-deprecating. Most senior English teachers spent the entire year teaching the district-mandated Senior Project, going over it in painstaking agony. With this teacher, we spent two days on it, and spent an entire semester on poetry. It was god awful, it was magical, and I understand meter because of her.

To the original point: for me, it's not that people don't like poetry as much, it's that they don't acknowledge the poetry in everything. The poetry in math and science, the poetry in music, the poetry in spoken language.

I wish I'd had this quote from The West Wing as a sign, to wear through many high school and college classes that have required students to read:



Poetry is music in language, folks. :)

Zach. Thank you. This was one of those comments that went to the place where I say, yes, THAT's what I mean. I don't care what kind of beer you drink; you definitely add class to this joint. :D

kborsden
03-20-2016, 04:06 PM
... for me, it's not that people don't like poetry as much, it's that they don't acknowledge the poetry in everything. The poetry in math and science, the poetry in music, the poetry in spoken language.

I know you're apparently the class among the classless, but I think that's an overly simplistic answer that more or less just re-dresses the question instead of answers it--you're actually saying: most people ignore poetry because people don't acknowledge it (= people ignore it because they ignore it). You are of course correct that the poetry in everything goes unacknowledged... but why? I think because it's more seductive to put the mind to quick, easy and instant information. The smaller and less complex/layered that info is, the more immediate--and thus more consumable in greater volume.


ETA:
There is more than linguistic musicality to poetry. There's metaphor, connotation, evocative and expressive phrase. That's actually a rather complex and multi-layered delivery of information.

Kylabelle
03-20-2016, 04:15 PM
No, Zach is additional class among the classy. :)

kborsden
03-20-2016, 04:28 PM
End of the day, it takes effort to write poetry; there is some minor effort required to understand it (small tax on time and individual thought, not necessarily actual intellect). That doesn't fit the instant gratification model, and the model has been pushed and cleaned of its fuzzy edges over time... it gets more angular every day. Its not just poetry either, any art form or expressive medium suffers the same. It's only when we're willing to slow down for a minute or two that we really appreciate art, the art in the everyday, and the poetry. I'm not saying that people are incapable of 'slow down'; I'm not even being negative about it to be completely honest. I am saying that the allowances we as individuals make for that 'slow down' is what's on the decrease. Life is hectic and filled with much more easily accessible distractions. I enjoy writing poetry, and I make time for it. I make time to write it, and I make time to read it; I make time to critique it. That's an allowance I make consciously. No matter how passionate I am about what I do in it, it's still a conscious effort to fit it in, and there are days when I'd prefer to just zone out to some mind-numbing shit of a non-poetic persuasion, and I'd enjoy that too!

Kylabelle
03-20-2016, 05:54 PM
Good point.

Fruitbat
03-21-2016, 11:41 AM
.

kborsden
03-21-2016, 12:17 PM
Fruitbat, neither my post nor my response refers to writers (I'm not sure if you've read my opening post or whether you are just responding to the comments)--I'm discussing the reader base. I also agree whole-heartedly that novels and flash fiction fall under the same (hence I restated my point by mentioning art in general; writing of any form is an art and skilled craft in my view). Example: my brother who is now 24 once had to write a report for school discussing his hobbies and fun things done over the summer holiday. Now granted, he's on the spectrum, but he chose to write about his love of reading. He'd read 8 books in those six weeks and basically produced a book report. The teacher marked him down and sent him home with a note for my mother for him to do it again about something which was 'an enjoyable pastime and not study'. For my brother, reading books is his favourite pastime. So yes, I do know what point you want to make (although I don't understand why you're getting so defensive), and again, I also agree with it. I also think it fits my point without argument.

Preferring other things is my entire point… the reason for which can be tracked back to many factors. I’m not saying it’s a deficiency per se; neither did I say explicitly that I think it’s a problem. If anything, my post explains that I totally get it that for many people poetry/art/written word is not a ‘thing’. Each to their own, but what I consider my own is my love for reading poetry. It’s the reading of it that led me to start writing it.

On another note, I do think comprehension of written text is important. It’s a life skill—indeed, it makes so much that little more interesting. It’s also gleaned and practiced by reading (be that reading fiction, non-fiction or poetry). << to be clear, this is not a slight. I am not inferring that you lack this skill.

Fruitbat
03-21-2016, 01:13 PM
I am not sure where you got the idea that I was "getting defensive" when quite the opposite is true. I deleted my last post before I even saw your reply above because I realized I wasn't interested enough in the discussion to continue on with it. My earlier post was to the thread in general and not to you.

kborsden
03-21-2016, 01:46 PM
Ok. Thanks for clearing that up. Apologies for my mistake and if you felt in any way offended at any time. I'll not delete my post because it is still relevant to the discussion. As was yours... shame you deleted it.

Norman D Gutter
03-21-2016, 06:14 PM
(1) Schools drummed poetry into many children's heads as a tedious duty they could escape after high school, rather than as a pleasure. It's difficult to escape associations like that, especially if nothing comes along later on to make you reconsider that prejudice.

(2) Bad teachers sometimes make students feel like idiots if they don't immediately grasp metaphor and symbolism. [emphasis added] A patient teacher who helps students learn how to delve into metaphor and think in terms of metaphor is a godsend. Alas, that's rare, and getting rarer, since schools are now teaching to the multiple choice standardized test. And few parents are reading poetry with their kids. So many people grow up with an insecure (or downright hostile) "I just don't get poetry" feeling that they never shake.

And even taking aside the hostility/insecurity, if you never learn to read for metaphor and nuance, you probably are going to miss a lot in poetry. You might catch the pretty meter and rhyme, if there is any, but you'll miss much of the poem. It's not that it's that hard to learn, but you do have to learn to think in those terms (IMO) and many don't.

(3) ...a really good poem requires you to focus on every word because every single one is important. The line breaks are important. The title is important. Miss one small detail, and you might miss the point of the poem -- and certainly you will miss some of the beauty. I don't think it's rocket science, but I do think it requires some thought and attention.

Most people aren't really into reading carefully and contemplating nuance these days. And they can easily find plenty of media of all kinds that won't require them to do so.

Without a doubt this has been my experience. A whole series of English teachers (I'm trying to remember events 50 years ago; maybe it was just one or two teachers) insisted that I see "Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening" as a suicide poem. I couldn't, and felt stupid when everyone else in class did, and got the teacher's approval but I didn't. That started my decades of poetry hating. If I couldn't see what everyone else saw, why bother? Now, I read poems for their surface meaning and enjoy them. Do I miss something the poet was trying to say? Perhaps, but I get enough to enjoy the poem, which is enough for me.

Concerning #3, poems are the most intense form of language, even when just looking on the surface. People don't seem to want to read with such concentration. Whether that's short attention spans, or whether it's because you have only words to pull out images you're used to seeing on video presentations, I'm not sure. But lack of concentration seems to me to be a big reason.

Best Regards,
NDG

CassandraW
03-21-2016, 06:36 PM
I'm a huge fan of teasing out the metaphors in poems.

I spent a brief stint student teaching 9th --12th grade English before I went to law school. When I taught a poem, I would take each word and each line and show how it played into the metaphor -- I wouldn't expect a kid to just "see" it if he were new to poetry. If he saw something different, I'd encourage him to show me exactly which words supported his interpretation, or why he felt mine was not supported. (Heh. I do the same thing here in the poetry forum, I'm afraid.). The kid's grade would not depend on his mechanically agreeing with my explanation -- if he could make a good case for his own, he'd get points for that. Indeed, if he did it well, he'd get extra points in my book --and it could make for a great, lively class discussion.

But I'll admit I have little patience with adults or kids who stick their fingers in their ears and say "neener neener neener -- there's no such thing as a metaphor and I won't even listen!" That is how you earn an F in Miss W's class. And alas, many kids and adults will do that.

Eta:

It would have been interesting to see how this method would have fared if I'd stayed in teaching. Probably in your typical public school, I wouldn't be given the time. And as far as effectiveness goes -- my 9th grade class took to it beautifully. They were marvelous kids. The senior class -- I regret to say keeping their attention on anything at all was challenging. (It probably did not help that I was 21 and looked about 16.)

TECarter
03-21-2016, 06:42 PM
I don't like the "blame the teachers" response, since that seems to be everyone's response to pretty much everything that goes wrong in the world. Teachers get a lot of heat for everything kids and eventually adults do. There ARE teachers who are like this, yes, although the bigger issue (as was mentioned earlier in the thread) is that poetry is not considered necessary anymore. The humanities as a whole are not as important to the current educational climate. It's all about STEM, because STEM makes money and produces results. (While I don't disagree that there are benefits to STEM, I do think it's short-sighted to view those "results" as the only thing kids gain from education. I think most writers recognize the value of the humanities and what we gain from learning them.)

I would argue the biggest challenge facing poetry - and honestly most arts in general - is that it's work. It's a lot harder to sit down with Keats or Tennyson than it is to sit down with an easily digestible book. Let's face it - reading itself is work. I love The Walking Dead comic and have had numerous people ridicule me for reading it when I've pointed out things the show doesn't do as well as the source material. It's 32 pages a month with pictures and that's too much work for a lot of people. I've seen people complain about episodes of Game of Thrones where there has been no sex or violence; they call these episodes boring and say it's all talking. People, as a whole, don't like to work for things. They don't like to think. This isn't true of all people, but sadly, it's true for a growing number of people.

shadowwalker
03-21-2016, 07:11 PM
I love reading the "old" poetry - the Keats, the Tennyson, the Frost, etc. It's modern poetry I steer clear of, the poetry that seems to be just a bunch of words tossed together. When I went to school, our teachers introduced us to all kinds of poetry and poetic forms, letting us investigate and experiement - and I loved it. And I continued to read various kinds of poetry - until it seemed like it all turned to such esoteric nonsense, with authors bristling at the stupidity of readers who didn't catch their brilliance.

So I think it's like Picasso and Rembrandt - hate one, love the other, but have nothing against paintings in general.

CassandraW
03-21-2016, 07:15 PM
I think you are making rather a blanket characterization of "modern poetry" based on a stereotype -- and it is a characterization that in fact applies to a tiny, tiny minority of it.

I've seen very little poetry that was just "a few words tossed together" -- or at least, very little of such stuff that anyone (other than perhaps the author) was touting as any good.

kborsden
03-21-2016, 07:58 PM
How wide are those goal posts, shadow? When did modern begin? Please don't say 'with free verse' because un-measured poetry (in the modern sense circa last 500 years) actually pre-dates what we consider traditional verse forms... strange that what we consider classical is actually more modern in composition--save for vocabulary and syntax.

Anyway, my question, from which period forward do you count modern?

I think we do agree on work/effort though.

TECarter
03-21-2016, 08:02 PM
I think you are making rather a blanket characterization of "modern poetry" based on a stereotype -- and it is a characterization that in fact applies to a tiny, tiny minority of it.

I've seen very little poetry that was just "a few words tossed together" -- or at least, very little of such stuff that anyone (other than perhaps the author) was touting as any good.

This. One could say the same about art (and I think it was said here). Some people feel "real" art is the Italian Renaissance. Others like Impressionism and others enjoy Surrealism. Lots of people whine about the state of modern and contemporary art but people did that when Monet and Van Gogh were painting. Time changes the art, not people. In 100 years, the modern poetry that is "words thrown together" could be the poetry being read in school. Tupac was great. Billy Collins is great. It's subjective, like anything else. Lots of critics said Eliot was a hack. Keats died a failure in his own mind. Dickinson couldn't sell poems. Plath was told to quit.

We simply cannot evaluate art now with the same lens, because we don't have rule of time to give us perspective.

shadowwalker
03-21-2016, 09:25 PM
Why do I get the feeling that one is supposed to like all poetry or they're considered some kind of neanderthal? Are we also supposed to like all fiction? Poetry is very diverse and yet I see here, as in various discussions of fiction, that teachers are screwing up students and that's why they don't like Poetry, or that readers aren't "dedicated enough" to appreciate Poetry. There doesn't seem to be any room for personal likes and dislikes; if you don't like a particular type of poetry, it's the "fault" of teachers and/or defective concentration/intelligence. Speaking as if poetry was one homogenous entity that cannot be divided by type or style is pretty meaningless.

CassandraW
03-21-2016, 09:43 PM
Why do I get the feeling that one is supposed to like all poetry or they're considered some kind of neanderthal? Are we also supposed to like all fiction? Poetry is very diverse and yet I see here, as in various discussions of fiction, that teachers are screwing up students and that's why they don't like Poetry, or that readers aren't "dedicated enough" to appreciate Poetry. There doesn't seem to be any room for personal likes and dislikes; if you don't like a particular type of poetry, it's the "fault" of teachers and/or defective concentration/intelligence. Speaking as if poetry was one homogenous entity that cannot be divided by type or style is pretty meaningless.

I can't imagine where you're getting the idea that anyone is saying one is supposed to like "all" poetry. I'm quite frankly a wretched snob about what I do and don't like.

But a blanket statement about all modern poetry being just a jumble of words carelessly thrown together is wildly inaccurate in any number of ways.

I don't like "all" poetry any more than I like "all" art or "all" music. But I cannot think of any art form, including poetry, where one can, with a sweep of one's hand, dismiss everything past a certain era or not in a certain style as garbage. Particularly if one has not spent much time reading, listening to, or looking at that art form.

You are perfectly free not to read modern poetry, or not to enjoy it. But to dismiss it all as just a carelessly thrown together jumble of words shows me you haven't read much of it.

Eta:

To draw a musical analogy:

It is perfectly legitimate to say "Jazz does not appeal to me; I prefer the structure and formalism of classical music." We are all entitled to like what we like.

But if you dismiss jazz as "nothing but noise and dischord and musicians blurting out notes any which way and it doesn't require any skill," you would be displaying that you don't know very much about jazz.

Eta:

Here, you did not simply say you prefer poetry with meter and rhyme. You made a sweeping and inaccurate statement about all poetry past a certain era.

For one thing, if you think all modern poetry contains no structure or rhyme, you're quite wrong. For another, if you think all older poetry rhymed and had regular meter, you're wrong.

And if you think that all poetry that does not have regular meter and rhyme is just "thrown together," and takes less work and skill than poetry that does have regular meter and rhyme, you are wrong.

I could write all of my posts on AW in regular meter and rhyme if I took it into my head to do so. It comes quite easily to me. That alone, frankly, doesn't impress me much in a poem.

I both write and enjoy formal poetry as well as free verse. But when I choose not to use formal structure, it is not because I can't -- it is because I choose not to do so. You might not like the results -- that is your prerogative -- but that doesn't mean the poem is just a mish-mash of thrown-together words.


Eta:

I will grant you that some poorly-written free verse is a mere blurt of words on a page. But so is some rhyming poetry. Crap exists, in every art and in every era. Unfortunately.

William Haskins
03-22-2016, 04:12 AM
Why do I get the feeling that one is supposed to like all poetry or they're considered some kind of neanderthal?

because they are. and the irony is they're such neanderthals that, not only can they not understand that all poetry is the sunday dinner flatulence of god, they don't even know they're neanderthals.

even so, i don't blame them because they're adorable, throwing rocks at trees and stuff.

CassandraW
03-22-2016, 06:00 AM
because they are. and the irony is they're such neanderthals that, not only can they not understand that all poetry is the sunday dinner flatulence of god, they don't even know they're neanderthals.

even so, i don't blame them because they're adorable, throwing rocks at trees and stuff.

I suppose they're cute enough, but they make such a horrid mess of the lawn. And they're hell on furniture.

William Haskins
03-22-2016, 06:34 AM
and don't get me started on denisovans.

CassandraW
03-22-2016, 06:36 AM
Ugh, how they shed. And no appreciation at all for meter.

Kylabelle
03-22-2016, 06:42 AM
Barbecue of the Barbarians, or
This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

I pick my teeth
with your bones
who would call my work
stray or ill-gotten.

Your flesh is charred
toothsomely grilled
and gnawed with relish
by the partygoers of truth.

Replete, we rest
and suck the sauce,
the sweet success
of survival.

CassandraW
03-22-2016, 06:50 AM
They smell all right while they're cooking, but I've always found them a bit too tough and stringy for my tastes.

shadowwalker
03-22-2016, 07:37 AM
Perhaps I quit reading modern poetry because all I found were word jumbles. But of course, because I don't know all the terminology, I'm not qualified to say what I like.

Carry on...

CassandraW
03-22-2016, 07:54 AM
You see, William? I told you it was a bad idea to bring up denisovans.

Latina Bunny
03-22-2016, 08:51 AM
I'm not into poetry much because I may be simple minded (or literal? Straightforward?) to understand the meanings or whatever metaphors of poetry.

It's why I don't read literary novels, either. I don't like to think too much or analyze my entertainment. My brain is already fried from a lifetime of school and work (where I work is...at schools, lol).

I just can't wrap my brain around poetry, or some types of literary stories, and it can get very frustrating when that happens. I would like the sound of some of them, but then I sometimes get confused on what is the meaning or metaphor (if it has any) the poem is trying to communicate to me. I don't like vague or obtuse stuff.

The closest to something similar to poetry, (albeit more straightforward or literal in meaning), that I like are mostly song lyrics set to music or sung in a catchy or lovely musical way. :P

(I'm more into novels, video games, or TV/movies. You know, typical short attention span, young adult stuff.)

Poetry is not bad. It's just not what interests me, most of the time. *shrugs* (And I sometimes get antsy/anxious if I don't understand their meanings, lol.)

poetinahat
03-22-2016, 10:17 AM
Perhaps I quit reading modern poetry because all I found were word jumbles. But of course, because I don't know all the terminology, I'm not qualified to say what I like.

Carry on...


I'm not into poetry much because I may be simple minded (or literal? Straightforward?) to understand the meanings or whatever metaphors of poetry.
<snip>


I'm very happy to see voices like yours in this discussion. I'm no expert on poetry, but I feel comfortable enough with it to admit I don't like this poem, or I don't understand that one. It will always be that way.

I subscribe to the Poem-A-Day email from poets.org, and... well, quite often, I'll read one and think, "this is crap" or, "I just don't get this at all".

But often, I'll think, "I love this one", or "that's wild -- how did she come up with that?", or, "I'd like to write something like that".

I love music - love it to distraction. And some of it, I just can't abide listening to; there's no way I'd expect a listener to love every piece of music she hears.

Why we should expect readers to love, or understand, every poem, I don't know.

In 1980, I was in high school in the Midwest. Where I lived, you were either into Rock, or Disco (or the deep brew of Soul and Funk that lay beyond). Top 40 didn't count, and Jazz and Blues were nowhere to be seen.

One day, my local record store had a new display for a new record: The Specials. Black and white (in format and in personnel), the band dressed in suits and porkpie hats. Nothing like anything we had. I bought that album, and it lit me up -- this was fun. There was other music out there! That was a big moment: I thought I'd heard it all, but I hadn't even started.

Sometimes, a poem will spark something like that moment in me - it's not something I'm supposed to like, but I just do. I don't need a rosetta stone to figure it out, but it challenges me - it's just beyond what I can grasp.

That's something that I hope you find from time to time in poetry. Among the ones that do nothing for us, if we stick around, we'll find our own sublime moments now and then.

Or something. Anyway, thank you for posting -- if it's all just People Who Love Poetry, why bother?

kborsden
03-22-2016, 10:45 AM
The Specials were also very politically charged with their lyrics deeply rooted in post-punk Thatcherite Britain... one of my favourite two-tone/ska bands actually; I'm surprised it lyrically resonated with you, musically I'm not though, cracking tracks!

I'm happy for non-poet opinions too; I see in the posts that my assumptions aren't far off the mark--however much that saddens me :(

Smirkin
03-22-2016, 08:00 PM
I just can't wrap my brain around poetry, or some types of literary stories, and it can get very frustrating when that happens. I would like the sound of some of them, but then I sometimes get confused on what is the meaning or metaphor (if it has any) the poem is trying to communicate to me. I don't like vague or obtuse stuff.

Poetry is not bad. It's just not what interests me, most of the time. *shrugs* (And I sometimes get antsy/anxious if I don't understand their meanings, lol.)

I think many many people (perhaps the "Most People" in the title of this thread) would agree with this. I know my husband would. It took me years to figure out I was torturing him by excitedly reading my newest poetic discovery to him. One day, right after I sat down next to him with shining eyes and a Mary Oliver book, he blurted out without thinking, "Oh please don't make me read right now." And in that moment (okay, after recovering from my brief pity party), I realized that poetry just didn't speak to him like it does to me. And just like PoetinaHat said, I cannot deny the millions and gajillions of times this has also happened to me - it usually goes something like this: I open an anthology or journal or website, and begin my frantic skimming for a poem that jumps out at me. And the reason said poem does jump out at me is that something about it makes sense to me. So I can completely understand those who say poetry, some kinds or all kinds, just doesn't speak to them because I experience this all the time, and when I do, I do make myself do a quick second read, but if there's still no "click," I move on. The more I've become interested in being a better poet myself, the more I force myself to go slow and spend time on poems I normally wouldn't, but that's because I have this ulterior motive to understand poetry in general, not because the poem itself is speaking to me.

Yes, it is sad to think that poetry doesn't appeal to "most people" simply because they don't want to spend time using their brains. But I'm not sure that's completely how I would describe my own experience in rejecting certain poems, or being uninterested in exploring them very far. In those moments I am actually actively seeking some intellectual connection, but that poem is just not giving it to me, for some reason definitely related to me, not the poem.

I'm risking exposing my ignorance here, but isn't history full of moments in which wordy intellectual-types are viewed as marginal, and the masses are seen as less interested in "brainy" wordy stuff and more interested in fun and less wordy kinds of entertainment? I'm thinking of Gladiators, novels and fiction writing in general (in which the most widely read genre to my knowledge has always been romance?) obviously radio, tv, movies. In other words, isn't this just the way it's always been? Most people would rather play than think? And if so, can't we use that as our excuse to relax and not worry about the death of poetry, but just enjoy each other's company in this poetry loving bubble?

--> ETA: I can't quite edit the presumptuousness out of my last paragraph there! I don't at all mean poetry-loving people are smarter, or better. My husband is not a poetry loving man yet he is waaaay smarter than me in many areas. I think I am just trying to wonder about whether the idea of sitting down to read something complicated (ie poetry, literary fiction, etc) has always appealed to fewer people than the idea of going outside, reading something quick, building things, or being entertained in ways that don't involve reading complicated things.

Kylabelle
03-22-2016, 08:45 PM
Smirkin I think those are very good points. Taste varies widely as far as enjoyment goes. This gets complicated for poetry because there are so many "shoulds" that seem to be attached to it. Not that many people get the same kind of chastisement for not liking rock climbing or football or computer coding or gardening. But there is a kind of cultural low-grade "poetry shaming" that goes on. Where it comes from I don't really feel I know.

And then there are creative explosions like this one:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/shortcuts/2016/mar/20/medium-message-power-public-poetry-robert-montgomery


He has been called a vandal, a street artist, a post-Situationist, a punk artist and the text-art Banksy. Scottish poet Robert Montgomery has consciously made an “awkward space” for himself in between artistic categories – and he thoroughly enjoys it. His work puts poetry in front of people in eye-catching visual formats: from advertising billboards he has covered with poems, to words he has set on fire or lit with recycled sunlight in public spaces – including the Sussex seafront and a Berlin airport (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/52/a9/fa/52a9fa8b2175adecd4bf472cc173e073.jpg). Recently, he has been working on today’s World Poetry Day “Pay with a poem (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/mar/18/poetry-coffee-pay-with-a-poem-cafes-world-poetry-day)” campaign, through which customers can get coffee in exchange for poetry in cafes across the globe. Montgomery will then collect the public’s poems to create an installation in a secret location.

It's a fun article and an inspiring one. I love the idea of billboard poems. :) And these are impactful ones.

William Haskins
03-22-2016, 08:46 PM
but "poetry" is no more monolithic than is any other art form. it's interesting that we take for granted that some people get poetry or like poetry as a categorical.

most everyone i know has tastes in music, film, art, etc that includes certain genres/approaches/movements/subjects and excludes others. it's rare that anyone categorically states that they don't "get" or "like" music or movies.

our culture just has an easier time lumping all poetry into the type of poetry that, at one point or another, turned them off.

shadowwalker
03-22-2016, 08:50 PM
I'm risking exposing my ignorance here, but isn't history full of moments in which wordy intellectual-types are viewed as marginal, and the masses are seen as less interested in "brainy" wordy stuff and more interested in fun and less wordy kinds of entertainment? I'm thinking of Gladiators, novels and fiction writing in general (in which the most widely read genre to my knowledge has always been romance?) obviously radio, tv, movies. In other words, isn't this just the way it's always been? Most people would rather play than think? And if so, can't we use that as our excuse to relax and not worry about the death of poetry, but just enjoy each other's company in this poetry loving bubble?

--> ETA: I can't quite edit the presumptuousness out of my last paragraph there! I don't at all mean poetry-loving people are smarter, or better. My husband is not a poetry loving man yet he is waaaay smarter than me in many areas. I think I am just trying to wonder about whether the idea of sitting down to read something complicated (ie poetry, literary fiction, etc) has always appealed to fewer people than the idea of going outside, reading something quick, building things, or being entertained in ways that don't involve reading complicated things.

And again - there are different poems, just like there are different novels. Why is that so hard to accept? Why is it that because we don't like certain kinds of poetry, we're supposedly only interested in the "easy stuff"? Just like saying we like light reading is interpreted to mean we NEVAH EVAH read "heavy stuff". Why does it always boil down to all or nothing? Good grief, people. I've read book-length poetry that I had to be totally into to keep up with - and I've tossed one pagers that were no heavier than Mary and her lamb. And guess what? I've done just the opposite as well! OMG

"A" doesn't like what "B" does - that doesn't mean "A" is only into "quick" or simple things. It means they just don't like what "B" does.

KTC
03-22-2016, 08:53 PM
God's fartsack aside, poetry is there when and if you want it. The mandate is simply for it to exist. Poetry doesn't care if you read it or not. Poetry is the art of poeting. It dies once its dispelled. What poetry readers are reading is the dead breath of thought. They need not read it if they desire not to. Maybe this isn't God's fartsack aside. You either smell a fart or you avoid it. The fart just is.

Magdalen
03-22-2016, 08:54 PM
because they are. and the irony is they're such neanderthals that, not only can they not understand that all poetry is the sunday dinner flatulence of god, they don't even know they're neanderthals.

even so, i don't blame them because they're adorable, throwing rocks at trees and stuff.

...and voting for Donald Trump.

Even if, somehow, Poetry (of any or some kind besides pop-song lyrics) became chic or (god forbid) wildly, virtually popular, and I personally became modestly successful in my work (& could travel to visit some AW pals & then return to my beach-side home where would reside a lovely yellow Lambo & a frolicking black lab) as a poet, I would rue the day, I would, because (most Likely) if poetry were popular it would become totally fucked (for the most part - perhaps small enclaves of the real thing would survive) just as all the others arts have become, so I'm OK with most people not liking poetry (of most kinds - strange how many folks speak of the humble Haiku with great affection) and when I do meet someone who genuinely likes poetry, I usually get along fine with them, and often come to form strong bonds with them. On the other hand, if "most people" somehow underwent a radical change and the very fabric of personhood somehow became enmeshed in the delicate strands of poetry without damage or harm to present & future poetry (or if indeed it managed to survive the likelihood of frequent flashes of pop culture status shifts) that might be a fine world in which to spend my golden years. But not likely, so I guess I won't be gettin' that Lambo.

Latina Bunny
03-22-2016, 09:48 PM
I don't hate poems. There were some good ones I've read back in middle school/high school. It's just a medium that doesn't satisfy me as much as other mediums.

I don't often like novellas, either. They feel like they're over too soon, and short poems make me feel the same.

Random question: Are classic stuff like the Odyssey, Grendel, and Paradise Lost (Dante?) considered poems? I've read excerpts of those in high school and enjoyed those, (though I did need the school book and teacher to help translate or interpret some stuff for me). I like narrative stuff. I like, well, stories. I'm not fond of the abstract stuff.

I also liked this one famous poet's poems about spring and countryside. (Can't remember his name right now.) I wished they were longer, though. They're more description-type poems with pretty descriptions. (They felt "pretty" to teenage me, lol.)

So, I don't hate all poetry. I just have a harder time finding stuff I can understand and can feel satisfied with. I like more straightforward stuff, in general.

Sometimes, I can't feel anything about some poetry. There are also times when I've been told I was supposed to feel something about a particular poem, and I just don't feel anything about it...

And sometimes, some poetry (and types of litery novels) make me feel stupid. And I don't think I'm stupid. At least, I don't believe I'm stupid. (I was on Honor Roll a few times in school, and almost did well in college, though I wasn't a super-A+ student.)

kborsden
03-22-2016, 09:55 PM
Yes. Those are epics. some of them pretty heavy stuff (Milton's Paradise Lost for example).

It sounds to me like you'd appreciate pastoral poetry and narrative poetry. Try googling those and let me know--from what you're saying it sounds like you connect there.

Actually, I'd love to hear your thoughts on my poetry. I'm not saying you'll love it or that I'll change your opinion. But as an experiment for my benefit...

Latina Bunny
03-22-2016, 10:17 PM
Yes. Those are epics. some of them pretty heavy stuff (Milton's Paradise Lost for example).

It sounds to me like you'd appreciate pastoral poetry and narrative poetry. Try googling those and let me know--from what you're saying it sounds like you connect there.

Actually, I'd love to hear your thoughts on my poetry. I'm not saying you'll love it or that I'll change your opinion. But as an experiment for my benefit...

Oh, thank you! :D

I looked them up, and yes, I think those are the types of poems I've enjoyed in the past. I will keep looking up more poems and poets, then, that write those types of poems.

Are those (pastoral; narrative) considered a type of subgenre in the poetry world?

Oh! I think I remembered one of the poets I've enjoyed. I think it was Robert Frost? He had one poem about a traveller only being able to take one of two roads at a crossroad or something like that.

I think he wrote some countryside/rural poems. I think. I would have to look him up, but I feel sure that he's one of those poets that write countryside stuff.

ETA: I'll be happy to read your poetry, Kborsden. Send me the link. :)

TECarter
03-22-2016, 10:48 PM
Oh, thank you! :D

I looked them up, and yes, I think those are the types of poems I've enjoyed in the past. I will keep looking up more poems and poets, then, that write those types of poems.

Are those (pastoral; narrative) considered a type of subgenre in the poetry world?

Oh! I think I remembered one of the poets I've enjoyed. I think it was Robert Frost? He had one poem about a traveller only being able to take one of two roads at a crossroad or something like that.

I think he wrote some countryside/rural poems. I think. I would have to look him up, but I feel sure that he's one of those poets that write countryside stuff.

That would be Frost. Road Not Taken is basically the most famous poem in the history of poetry. At least in the US. It's on millions of posters and used at graduations.

William Haskins
03-23-2016, 12:32 AM
also the most misread.

http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2015/09/11/the-most-misread-poem-in-america/

kborsden
03-23-2016, 02:04 AM
Oh, thank you! :D

I looked them up, and yes, I think those are the types of poems I've enjoyed in the past. I will keep looking up more poems and poets, then, that write those types of poems.

You're welcome ;)


Are those (pastoral; narrative) considered a type of subgenre in the poetry world?

Not so much a subgenre, more a flavour. It's difficult to call genre in poetry (in a thematic sense; many do it though)--for me it's more stylistic and that level of 'flavouring' per poet; other times it's a change of medium. Frost makes use of pastoral imagery because that's the world he's from; similarly John Clare (the so-called peasant poet) also speaks more of the natural world and uses seasonal references to convey his thoughts. Dylan Thomas, from my neck of the woods, makes use of language and imagery that transitions between pastoral and industrial--but Wales is like that. We have some of the most beautiful landscapes in Britain, encroached upon by monolithic industrial monsters of concrete, steel and smoke.


I'll be happy to read your poetry, Kborsden. Send me the link.

There are links in my sig; and many, many poems on this forum in critique and main. Consume what you will :)

Latina Bunny
03-23-2016, 04:06 AM
That would be Frost. Road Not Taken is basically the most famous poem in the history of poetry. At least in the US. It's on millions of posters and used at graduations.


also the most misread.

http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2015/09/11/the-most-misread-poem-in-america/

I'm confused.

Am I supposed to feel better or worse from this article?

Does that mean I can't be part of the true poet's clubhouse, lol? :P

I never liked that snooty attitude of how non-poets can't understand the "true" or "correct/right" meaning and stuff like that.

I'm just going to stick to interpreting the best I can from what I am given than to be told what is the "true" meaning or subtext or intent from other people (including the author/writer/poet himself).

If I get confused, I guess I can just use SparkNotes to cheat, lol. :P

Poetry is like some complex (and frustrating) charades game, or like translating a foreign language, most of the time, for me. I can only do the best I can in struggling to understand the underlying meaning of the poems...

If the poet, and/or diehard poem fans, don't want me (and apparently many other non-poet readers) to misinterpret the vague poem, then maybe the poet can be more straightforward in the actual text, sheesh. *rolls eyes*

(Don't complain about misinterpreted if you're going to be purposely vague like that. That's opening up to different interpretations, I feel.)


Not so much a subgenre, more a flavour. It's difficult to call genre in poetry (in a thematic sense; many do it though)--for me it's more stylistic and that level of 'flavouring' per poet; other times it's a change of medium. Frost makes use of pastoral imagery because that's the world he's from; similarly John Clare (the so-called peasant poet) also speaks more of the natural world and uses seasonal references to convey his thoughts. Dylan Thomas, from my neck of the woods, makes use of language and imagery that transitions between pastoral and industrial--but Wales is like that. We have some of the most beautiful landscapes in Britain, encroached upon by monolithic industrial monsters of concrete, steel and smoke.

There are links in my sig; and many, many poems on this forum in critique and main. Consume what you will :)

Ah, I see. I'll continue looking up some of those kinds of poems, then.

William Haskins
03-23-2016, 04:10 AM
i was just riffing on frost's "road."

there's a clubhouse?




Sometimes
I like to write in red
of blood and passion,
carnal sin,
of violence and
blinding rage—
the words leap wicked off the page.

Sometimes
I like to write in green
the deepest forests
haunt my eye,
fertile fields and
ancient earth—
the path I trace back to my birth.

Sometimes
I like to write in blue
of endless sky and
whispered winds,
of rivers’ crawl and
foaming seas—
the depth of possibilities.

Sometimes
I like to write in black
of desolation,
searing fear,
of shadow lives and
tragic deaths—
this is how I count my breaths.

Stew21
03-23-2016, 04:23 AM
^^^^
Check out this guy.

Nicely done, William.

I also didn't know about the clubhouse.

If there's a secret handshake im'a be pissed.

Latina Bunny
03-23-2016, 04:35 AM
Sometimes
I like to write in red
of blood and passion,
carnal sin,
of violence and
blinding rage—
the words leap wicked off the page.

Sometimes
I like to write in green
the deepest forests
haunt my eye,
fertile fields and
ancient earth—
the path I trace back to my birth.

Sometimes
I like to write in blue
of endless sky and
whispered winds,
of rivers’ crawl and
foaming seas—
the depth of possibilities.

Sometimes
I like to write in black
of desolation,
searing fear,
of shadow lives and
tragic deaths—
this is how I count my breaths.

My interpretation:

It's how we think and write about things in life.

*Red: The red part represents the passion or anger we have throughout our lives. We can write with love, passion, or anger, or even hate. Whether it's a love letter, a love poem, a love song, a love card, an angry complaint letter, a written argument. Or even a threatening letter to kill.

*Green: This is a tough one. Maybe thinking on earthly special events or moments, like congratulating a friend on a new baby or wishing someone a happy birthday.

Unless this is about how people reminisce about their past? Maybe they write with nostalgia, whether it's talking to an old friend about the old times, or creating a story (of whatever medium) that reminds them of the good old times or childhood.

*Blue: I'm guessing it's writing with inspiration or creativity, or finding solutions? We can write stories, poems, scripts, or maybe something in preparation of creation, like various tips for various types of craft, and receipes, etc. Maybe inspirational quotes or inspirational real-life experiences, or inspirational memoirs/autobiographies?

*Black: Writing about death or mortality. Can be writing a will, a depressing story, a suicide note, a confession of causing death or can lead to death, death threats, etc. Could also be writing for forgiveness or mercy, or just writing about one's fears, etc. Ooh! A cop/police or corner doing paperwork for a murder investigation.

...And that's how I interpret that poem, lol.

Did I get it right? Am I hot or cold? :D

*sparkly eyes* Do I get a prize?! ;) (Just joking, lol! I just wanted to try my hand at interpreting a poem. Haven't done that in a while, heh. :) )

kuwisdelu
03-23-2016, 04:57 AM
There's no "right" in poetry. That's the problem with how it's often taught. There are many "right" interpretations.

I try to write poetry that can be enjoyed on every level (though I'm sure I rarely succeed).

Don't like interpretation or wrestling with metaphors? There is poetry that can be enjoyed without doing those things.

But there is always the danger you might end up thinking about it anyway. :tongue

poetinahat
03-23-2016, 05:04 AM
I don't think anybody here is saying who can be a poet, and whether anyone got it right. Is there a trust issue here?

One person's strawman is another person's scarecrow, I guess.

Latina Bunny
03-23-2016, 05:12 AM
I don't think anybody here is saying who can be a poet, and whether anyone got it right. Is there a trust issue here?

One person's strawman is another person's scarecrow, I guess.

I aplogize for misunderstanding...?

I was talking about the article (and personal experiences). The article brought up bad feelings for me. I did not understand William's "riffing" (whatever that means, um...).

The thread was bringing up some theme about why most people don't get into poetry, and the snooty attitude mentioned the article (and/or the way poetry is taught and treated in schools) can be part of the reasons why...

ETA: William, I do love your poem! :) Even I'm way off on the interpretation, this poem is very lovely to read.

Smirkin
03-23-2016, 05:23 AM
Sometimes
I like to write in red
of blood and passion,
carnal sin,
of violence and
blinding rage—
the words leap wicked off the page.

Sometimes
I like to write in green
the deepest forests
haunt my eye,
fertile fields and
ancient earth—
the path I trace back to my birth.

Sometimes
I like to write in blue
of endless sky and
whispered winds,
of rivers’ crawl and
foaming seas—
the depth of possibilities.

Sometimes
I like to write in black
of desolation,
searing fear,
of shadow lives and
tragic deaths—
this is how I count my breaths.

I'd like to hang this on my wall. Wow I am just going to gush here but your work truly takes my breath away. Did you just spit this one up right now?? Amazing. Inspiring. Beautiful. I am so excited for my book - it shipped today :)

And I must say, bunnygypsy - your line-by-line interpretation is all fine and good, keep it, it's yours! And it's just as valid in meaning as the poem. But for me, I prefer the lines themselves. I sometimes say to students that if a poem wanted to be fully understood in the same way by every reader, it would have been an essay instead :)

ETA: another :) because god forbid I post anything without punctuating with endless smileys...

poetinahat
03-23-2016, 05:59 AM
Don't go!


I aplogize for misunderstanding...?
Perhaps it's I who misunderstood. I took your comment as meaning you referred to the people here, not the article.

I hadn't done any actual poet-ing since high school, aside from a couple of tribute poems for friends. They probably don't bear reading. But I thought, "People here are writing, and they'd like feedback -- so I'll do my best". That's all. And they give it back. That's what qualified me to be here: wanting to help, regardless of whether I was right, whatever that was, or even any good.


I did not understand William's "riffing" (whatever that means, um...).
In this case, I read that as "writing in the style of", or "following the theme of" - something like that.
In "the words leap wicked off the page", I hear an echo of "...and miles to go before I sleep".


The thread was bringing up some theme about why most people don't get into poetry, and the snooty attitude mentioned the article (and/or the way poetry is taught and treated in schools) can be part of the reasons why...
Gotcha. So I hope this means you'll come back here, if you find us a little more welcoming and open?

In retrospect, personally, I don't think of interpretation as a reader's goal. I like to enjoy it first, then if it leads me to wonder what it might be about, that's great. If it doesn't, and I just enjoy the music of it, then that's great too.

I think it's possible that teaching puts poetry in a difficult position. If a teacher asks, "What do you think it means?", I'd like to think they're more interested in the quality of the answer, not whether it's right or wrong. To look only for an answer means a poem is a cypher, nothing more. For that, I've got crosswords and so forth.

Of course, if we get some insight into the poet's circumstances, it might shed some light on how the poem came about. For some, like Wilfred Owen's Dulce et Decorum Est (http://www.english.emory.edu/LostPoets/Dulce.html), there's really no doubt of it.

Latina Bunny
03-23-2016, 06:44 AM
Don't go!

Perhaps it's I who misunderstood. I took your comment as meaning you referred to the people here, not the article.

Don't worry.

I'm not going anywhere, lol. :D I'm too opinionated for that. ;)

Yeah, I was thinking of the attitude in William's linked article, and those snooty attitudes in other places, offline and online.

I wasn't talking about the AW members in this thread, lol. AW has some pretty cool peeps. :D



But I thought, "People here are writing, and they'd like feedback -- so I'll do my best". That's all. And they give it back. That's what qualified me to be here: wanting to help, regardless of whether I was right, whatever that was, or even any good.

That's how I tend to go about life; all I can do is do my best, and to help others, if I can. I can do the same with the critiques/feedback or just giving my thoughts on various works here. :)



Gotcha. So I hope this means you'll come back here, if you find us a little more welcoming and open?

Thank you. :)

AW is already a pretty welcoming place. :) Thank you for the kind words.



I think it's possible that teaching puts poetry in a difficult position. If a teacher asks, "What do you think it means?", I'd like to think they're more interested in the quality of the answer, not whether it's right or wrong. To look only for an answer means a poem is a cypher, nothing more. For that, I've got crosswords and so forth.

That's the thing. School has a strict curriculum in which students must learn something in certain ways in order to pass tests and stuff.

It's tough to have such open-ended, organic, and creative stuff being stuffed into such a strict, rigid curriculum. (I work as an assistant teacher in school.) There is a call for more open-ended answers and more flexibility in allowing multiple interpretations, but most of the currulum is pretty rigid and the testing is very standardized. It's not very good for creativity. :(

BTW: I did enjoy William's poem. I just wanted to try my hand at interpreting it. (I have to, have to interpret stuff, most of the time. It might be part of my OCD-ish mentality, lol.)

KTC
03-23-2016, 04:10 PM
I once danced with a scarecrow. Sure, he was light on his feet...but I could have sneezed all night.

kborsden
03-23-2016, 06:12 PM
I love hearing the many interpretations of my poetry--I don't ever want to dictate to any reader that my poetry says THIS and only THIS. I like that it organically becomes more about the reader, more personal to them when they read it. We all fill in the blanks and make sense of things from our own frame of reference; that's a quality of poetry as a poet I hope to make allowances for. That makes for an amazing and personal experience; the reason I enjoy reading poetry. I love analytical responses just as much. When someone takes the time to dig into it and attempt to not only interpret along the lines I composed but also offers feedback on where that falls short or creates problems--equally when that feedback describes what works and why. Someone said further up that there is no 'right'---I agree and disagree on that. There is no 'right' for personal enjoyment, interpretation, but for a poet who wants to convey one thing, and one thing only, there could be. But then that poet shouldn't be dismayed or disappointed should it not be the case for every reader. Poetry is ultimately about sharing, and the worlds we create in it are not to be observed through binoculars, but experienced up close.

Rufus Coppertop
03-26-2016, 12:33 PM
What poetry readers are reading is the dead breath of thought.

The words arranged as seeds of thought
from a poet's psychic toil
can spring as flowers to live anew
within perception's humid soil.

I_love_coffee
03-26-2016, 05:51 PM
I devour novels and am trying to write one. That's my thing, but, I've been lurking in the poetry forum and I occasionally comment.

Poetry is a bit intimidating to me because I thought there was only one way to interpret a poem, and I wasn't interpreting it correctly. I like to stay open to the possibilities, to other meanings. To me that's the cool part. If a whole class thinks one thing about a poem, I'm most likely the lone dissenter who sees something else.

But, despite that, I'm sticking around here and I'm open to learning.

A good poet can put all the meaning and emotion into a few lines that, I, as an aspiring novel writer, can only hope to do. Putting emotion, a feeling, a moment into words is what ALL of us here at AW are trying to do on some level.

But I gotta say, that article about the Robert Frost poem being misinterpreted really bugged me.

Latina Bunny
03-26-2016, 06:03 PM
But I gotta say, that article about the Robert Frost poem being misinterpreted really bugged me.

Glad I wasn't the only one, lol. :D

kborsden
03-26-2016, 07:59 PM
I've seen your comments, coffee. I don't think you have anything to feel intimidated about. Your comments so far have all been thoughtful and well worded and worthy of being read as much as written.

Lillith1991
03-26-2016, 10:00 PM
I love reading the "old" poetry - the Keats, the Tennyson, the Frost, etc. It's modern poetry I steer clear of, the poetry that seems to be just a bunch of words tossed together. When I went to school, our teachers introduced us to all kinds of poetry and poetic forms, letting us investigate and experiement - and I loved it. And I continued to read various kinds of poetry - until it seemed like it all turned to such esoteric nonsense, with authors bristling at the stupidity of readers who didn't catch their brilliance.

So I think it's like Picasso and Rembrandt - hate one, love the other, but have nothing against paintings in general.

I have to agree with the others about the above post containing a very unfortunate generalization. Speaking as an individual, I can't agree with your assement of modern poetry. Modern poetry includes Maya Angelou, Tupac Shakur, Ernestine Johnson, and some really great SFF poets. Is their work just a jumble of words? I don't think it is.

That said, people can pry my Poe, Shakespear, and Langston Hughs out of my cold, dead hands.

Albdantesque
04-03-2016, 05:46 AM
Poetry is a bit intimidating to me because I thought there was only one way to interpret a poem, and I wasn't interpreting it correctly. I like to stay open to the possibilities, to other meanings. To me that's the cool part. If a whole class thinks one thing about a poem, I'm most likely the lone dissenter who sees something else.



A good poet can put all the meaning and emotion into a few lines that, I, as an aspiring novel writer, can only hope to do. Putting emotion, a feeling, a moment into words is what ALL of us here at AW are trying to do on some level.


I mostly agree in what you say and I feel the same (I would prefer novels to poems). There are poets, however, who have said many things through their poetry (Hesiod, Lucretius, Goethe, Whitman, etc). Some philosophers (like Schopenhauer) quote poets all the time, and their quotations fit very well their arguments. So there might be a subtext in some poets (though it happens very rarely) an that subtext is much more difficult to discover in a poem, than in a novel (though there are novelists with subtexts that very few can see).

With re to the second part of your reply, I totally agree. That emotion is probably the best a poem can offer today. Though I write mostly novels, I always felt the need to read poetry, since in poetry you can taste the bliss faster. Hence, a writer's morning starts with the coffee you love and poetry too. All the bliss created by the poet's words can give you a lot of inspiration to transfer the emotion/feeling into a novel. On my case, I focused on novels once I realized that I could not make a good poet :)

Kylabelle
04-03-2016, 05:53 AM
in poetry you can taste the bliss faster.

:heart:

Debbie V
04-06-2016, 12:05 AM
I'm going to go through and tackle some points from throughout the thread. Some of it will summarize while expressing my own views.

My kids are in public school in NY. My son's teacher is submitting one of his poems to a contest. Poetry is still in our curriculum. A bad teacher can ruin any subject for a kid. In fact, many of the mags for kids still contain poetry. Highlights and Cricket both do. (These are the top two in the US. Canadian mags and the ones in New Zealand also take poems as I recall.) Picture books are often poetic. All of the best are. If Owl Moon by Jane Yolen isn't a poem, I don't know what is.

Poetry isn't just one thing. Frost's take was that poems should sound like what people would actually say. I think that's why he appealed so broadly. We identified with his work. We knew those folks. The devil is in those details. Poems without the personal details don't resonate because they lack that sense of the human, the reader's way in.

Analyzing poetry can be work. It doesn't have to be. This depends on the reader and the poem. When I crit poems, I look for my way into the piece. If I don't find one, I say nothing. If I see a hint at one, I'll comment that it's not really there - something's missing. If I can get fully in, I may do a line critique. Others will connect with poems I don't. Sometimes I reread to see the comments and then find a way in. The same thing happens with poems that aren't on the crit boards. Some just don't appeal. Some will be more work than I can manage at the moment. Has nothing to do with whether the poem or poet is any good.

Poetry can come off as snobby. The article points to that. Some bad teachers do too. I think this has turned off a lot of people over the years. But my inability to get into a poem is not a sign of my intelligence. It may be laziness or exhaustion, but not stupidity. (I know none of you think it's stupidity, but there are elements of the community at large that have promoted this stigma.)

That's all I have to say on the topic for now. Kie, thanks for starting this thread. I haven't been able to stop by here much because business is also a factor, but I hope to see how this conversation progresses.

I_love_coffee
04-09-2016, 06:16 PM
Analyzing poetry can be work. It doesn't have to be. This depends on the reader and the poem. When I crit poems, I look for my way into the piece. If I don't find one, I say nothing. If I see a hint at one, I'll comment that it's not really there - something's missing. If I can get fully in, I may do a line critique. Others will connect with poems I don't. Sometimes I reread to see the comments and then find a way in. The same thing happens with poems that aren't on the crit boards. Some just don't appeal. Some will be more work than I can manage at the moment. Has nothing to do with whether the poem or poet is any good.

.

I like the way you do things :)

In NJ, poetry is still in the curriculum. Earlier this school year my son had to pick a poet from a list and write a research paper, using 3 sources, and 3 critics or something along those lines. He was so stressed out about the whole thing because it wasn't just, "hey lets read this poem and analyze it and discuss it and deepen our love for poetry", he also had to learn to write a research paper and the teacher wanted a very specific format.

According to my kid, anytime someone in the class asked about a question about this project, they were yelled at and directed to look at the instructions ( I looked at the instructions, and they confused me). My kid chose Langston Hughes, and his thesis was something along the lines of metaphors and imagery in the poem "Harlem, a dream deferred". The whole process of pairing the analyzation of the poem with trying to learn to write a research paper with an intimidating teacher may have killed off any inkling of a 16 year olds window of opportunity to feel like, Hey poetry is kind of cool.

William Haskins
04-10-2016, 12:04 AM
that's a goddamn shame.

kborsden
04-10-2016, 02:50 AM
I wonder if the same type of 'thesis' approach to music, film, tv or a book report would similarly kill any inkling of affection to those... to be honest, I doubt it. The problem is that already before any teacher approaches the material there will already be a preconceived negative notion of what the focus content will be--the teacher's academic approach only strengthen that.

I don't really like the whole blame the teachers idea to be fair. True, there are 'bad' teachers, but there are also a great many really good teachers who are constrained by the curriculum, score tables and educational politics. There are also teachers who follow process to the letter, and those that dare to bend it. Either way, numbers carry the most weight and school administration must always justify the results against those numbers. It's a damn shame.

My eldest (as I've already mentioned he attends a school which frequently colours outside the lines) came home a few weeks ago before the Easter holidays wit some 'poetry' homework. He came through the door, dumped his bag and asked immediately, 'how do I write a poem, Dad?'. He had to write a poem about Easter--together we decided that we would focus purely on one thing and what that represented to him. We drafted up a few lines, clapping out the beats of the words he chose, stamping our feet if the beats were off--he loved it; he went to his bedroom (lots of banging and drumming going on), and after 30 minutes he came down. This was his poem:



It is that time we like
for chocolate and bunnies.

Mam has made a bonnet
for my brother's parade.
He'll only wear it once,
next year she'll do it new.
I have all my old ones.
Mam keeps them safe and sound.

One day when I am grown
no one will buy me sweets,
my head won't fit bonnets
but I will buy for Mam
all of the eggs she wants.


OK, it's not the best poem ever written, but it says something about my boy; his view of what is happening to him as he grows; his relationship with his mother in some tiny sense. There's an innocent maturity to it, and I'm proud of what he's written. It wasn't a chore to write, nor was it a chore to teach--it was fun, and from that fun, something lovely came out. He turns 9 at the end of this month, and I don't plan on ever letting that fun be snuffed out. When he's 16, I hope that whatever kind of teacher he has, and whatever approach they take to poetry, or whatever approach he encounters along the way (and they will vary), I hope that the fun of the content will be his preconceived notion.

I_love_coffee
04-10-2016, 04:36 PM
Kborsdon, your son wrote a lovely poem. He is lucky to have a poet for a father that was able to teach him at home how to write a poem. Not sure if the other kids in his class were so lucky. You have a specific knowledge set about writing poems that you were able to pass down to your child. Which is a wonderful gift.

I don't want you to have the idea that I am the kind of person who makes blanket statements about "blaming the teacher". Both of my children have had wonderful teachers throughout their school years, however, they have also had an occasional bad teacher. Not every teacher is wonderful and that's the reality. Just like there's bad doctors, and bad bosses and bad people. In my attempt to help my child with this assignment, the written instructions were unclear/non-existent, and attempts to clarify became the issue. I spent time talking with my son about how he would like to handle the problem. I figured the learning lesson at that point was more of a problem solving one rather than a creative one.

I think if you are already intimidated abut something (poetry) that a lot of people are intimidated about, and you pair it with another new subject that someone is intimidated about (writing a thesis/research paper), then you add a horrible teacher to the mix, you may have lost a window of opportunity there. Just saying.

Kylabelle
04-10-2016, 04:53 PM
Yeah, I don't think the requirement to write a research paper was the damage-doer here; it really sounds like the teacher in question is a poor one.

For me, what generated love for poetry was that my mother read narrative poetry to us quite often, before we could read for ourselves. And she had been raised to appreciate it, and was a musician and had voice and trained rhythm, but those qualities only helped and were not central. What was central was that she did that and the poems were good ones, and she loved them.

No teacher -- and I had some right sour ones -- could ever take that away from me.

There is a huge difference between a scholarly approach and one that invites pleasure in the art. To learn well, they must be balanced.

TexasPoet
04-13-2016, 09:47 PM
Sentimentality in poetry....over and over again I hear it in the workshops and podcasts....avoid it. I get what that means now. Lyric poems should point to the universal....the point is to twist in the center (change direction) and end with a big ending that nods to the beginning. Queen of this is Ada Limon......read "Bright Dead Things". Visit her site at http://adalimon.com/.

kborsden
04-14-2016, 08:09 AM
Coffee, to be honest, I didnt really teach him how to write a poem; what I taught was a very rudimentary sense of scansion, a way to feel the rhythm of language, and how to focus on the core subject. We haven't even touched upon the complexity of metaphor, connotation or layering, metrical theory etc.--that's there for him to discover as he grows (and I'll happily be there to explore that with him). Like zach said earlier on, and kyla a few posts up, the way poetry sounds, the musicality is the gateway. If I'd started with analysis and ramming all the rest down his throat, I'd likely also bore him and make him dislike poetry. That's where the teaching falls down in my view. Teach the primitive elements first with passion and fun.

I get what you're saying though. It's true that if the teacher has an affinity for the material, that their passion can be inspiring, even contagious. There's a theoretical physics professor on the bbc, Brian Cox, and although his open university lectures cover some mind numbingly complex subjects, and usually quite stuffy and 'should be' exclusive, his passion creates a near child-like wonder when he explains it--it's infectious, and you cant help but enjoy and learn without realising it.

Mink Stollen
04-16-2016, 09:52 AM
If a factor in the lack of a broad readership for poetry lies in part due to some failure of pedagogy, then I think, for me personally, any statement about what poetry should be is intimately implicated in the wrenched perspective. Okay, most people want the security of knowing how things should be and feel some predictable safety when what is conforms with what should be. You can set up boxes of apples and oranges and label them and price them, compare and contrast, and when one gets in the wrong bin we can pick it out and put it back where it belongs with a knowing little laugh or practiced wag of a finger. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Lets have order. After all isn't that what meter and rhyme are all about? And aren't meter and rhyme the historic foundations of poetry?

Bah, humbug. Meter and rhyme are mnemonic devices that made the telling and remembering of history along with its moral and societal importance easier to convey and remember. Now we have infinitesimally tiny bits of silcon chips that can remember more than any person, and probably more than any whole society, ever could. Poetry's role doesn't have to cleave to the old standards any more. History has undeniable importance to the survival of a society. As does the rote replication of successful forms from the past. But creativity and the formation of completely new forms has an equally important role in the survival of a society. And I think one of poetry's leading roles is to be on the cutting edge of that creative blade. Language is what binds us as intelligent beings. Language gives us an edge over other species and is central to our survival. Poetry is one massively important linguistic force that keeps that tool honed and sharp, that can cut innovative figures through swathes and blocks of inert text to help lead society in appropriate directions and to reflect the innovations that keep society moving forward.

That cutting edge is not for everyone. To want to make it so is a betrayal of the power contained in poetry. Expressed through poetry. Wielded by poetry.

CassandraW
04-16-2016, 09:34 PM
You may keep your cutting edge. The primary purpose of my work is to express my truth, not to "help lead society in appropriate directions and to reflect the innovations that keep society moving forward." I'd rather my words cut because people relate to them. I have little interest in leading a movement.

Mink Stollen
04-16-2016, 10:51 PM
Your truth. I'm glad you took it personally and I'm heartened that you write personally and that you dissociate yourself from any movements. I would hope, and personally ascribe, that that is the only way a person can authentically create poetry that matters. Whatever way you may want to interpret that. Your position and mine are not so different, I think. I don't write for "most people" and I don't put stock into poetry that intends its audience to be most people. I barely know myself, my work is an exploration to further my desire to reflect and express my experience in the world. But it's my experience that the folks that are writing poetry are not identifying themselves with any sort of mainstream, common experience. Not the poetry I want to read. If it's possible to draw a fat line between prose and poetry (likely that it's not possible) it's already clear to me that even within this forum the poets are niche segment. Poetry is a harder taskmaster, a purer distillation of the abilities and capabilities of language as a means of expression. It's the edge of the blade, not the strong, dense metal that gives language its ability to power through the gross, meaty problems of communication. It is surgical and delicate and exquisitely elegant. Distillation creates spirits. Spirits are volatile and evanescent by nature. I think most people do not, consciously or unconsciously do not, want to examine the evanescent nature of their being.

CassandraW
04-16-2016, 11:09 PM
But it's my experience that the folks that are writing poetry are not identifying themselves with any sort of mainstream, common experience.

In my opinion, good poetry generally touches a universal chord -- some mainstream, common experience -- in a fresh way.

Of course nothing resonates with everyone -- not poems, novels, songs or jokes. But I can't see any reason a good poem (unlike a novel or song) should deliberately strive to resonate only with some small, elite audience.

We all love, hate, and fear; we've all experienced loss, exhilaration, abandonment, despair, lust, jealousy, and tenderness. I at least try (though I do not always succeed) to tap into that reservoir of fundamental human experience through the pipe of my own.

ETA:

To the extent I share my poems (I do not share all), I aim for "most people" to get at least a superficial meaning and appreciation. I aim for something more as well, for those who care to dig beneath the language for metaphor.

Certainly some readers are more discerning than others, and I'm thrilled when one of them sees exactly what I'm trying to do with a poem. However, I'm also thrilled when someone says "you know, I don't usually get poetry, but I like this. It made me think of xyz." I prefer to write something that might reach them, too. Certainly I do not write to exclude them.

kuwisdelu
04-16-2016, 11:31 PM
But it's my experience that the folks that are writing poetry are not identifying themselves with any sort of mainstream, common experience.

I write from my own experiences.

It's not my fault that being Native American is not a "mainstream, common experience".

Mink Stollen
04-16-2016, 11:33 PM
I can't see any reason a good poem (unlike a novel or song) should deliberately strive to resonate only with some small, elite audience.

Or even a bad one. I'm in agreement that you can only strive to capture in the most effective, elegant way what is the kernel of an experience as you perceive it within yourself when composing a poem. Achieving that goal is what should account for the creation of a good poem, in my opinion. The realm of shared experience is damn near infinite. No, it is infinite. And still, I'm happy connecting with an audience of one. Elite or commoner, I don't care. I value my unique existence even as I value my commonality with humanity. But humanity is an abstraction and each individual is a valued identity without equal. The tightrope is as thin and resilient as a strand of spider's silk. Moreover, I'm serious about the endeavor to distill experience in the process of transposing it into poetry. It is a surgical process. A dull machete or meat cleaver just won't do. Then all you can do is hack. That's just painful.

CassandraW
04-16-2016, 11:42 PM
I write from my own experiences.

It's not my fault that being Native American is not a "mainstream, common experience".

And yet I've found your poems tap into something essentially human. I feel your experience, and your poems resonate with me. They are not limited in appeal to those who share your Native American experience.

Pretty much everyone has something in our experience that is not mainstream or common, and very likely it influences how we see the world and write about it. But I submit that the best poetry does so in a way that allows those who have not shared the same experience to nonetheless feel the poet's at some level.

ETA:

Similarly, I am not Welsh; indeed, I've never been to Wales. But when I read Kie's What's Occurrin' series, I feel plunged into the life of a little Welsh town.

I've never been an orphan whose father killed his mother. But I read William's Thorn Forest, and I feel Jacob's pain and bewilderment. (I rather doubt William was an orphan whose father killed his mother, for that matter. But I'll bet nonetheless he tapped into some emotions and experiences of his own when writing about it.)

It's not about sharing exactly the same background and specific experiences. It's about using your own unique experience and viewpoint to tap into the more general reservoir of human feeling and experience.

ETA:

Heh. I actually do write my poetry primarily to satisfy myself. I didn't share any of it for years. But here's the thing -- it doesn't satisfy me (even if no one will ever see it) if I don't feel that at some level it taps into something more universal.

Your mileage may vary.

kborsden
04-17-2016, 12:05 AM
I write from my own experiences.

It's not my fault that being Native American is not a "mainstream, common experience".

But regardless, there will be some universal commonality... humanity. I write my poetry from my personal experience too, that means my view points are typically Welsh = both intrinsically industrial and pastoral. As a software engineer, my poetry is also densely logical, and as an individual who struggles with expressing sentimentality and the emotive, my language equally expresses that distance and conflict between the rational and irrational. Now, I don't think that is particularly mainstream, but some of what I write, on some layer, will be a common touching point for others. Perhaps that is in my own naked vulnerability; who knows?

Likewise, your poetry doesn't alienate me as a reader.

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 12:25 AM
I myself am very fond of and feel an intimate connection with a good bit of dada texts, language poetry and to the extent I'm familiar with it flarf. I like a good deal of conceptual art, including textual. I feel a good piece viscerally. It connects. It reflects my experience in the world. I'm moved emotionally, physically and intellectually by a successful abstract poem. It has meaning. Even when it's nonsense. I mean, is there really anyone here that doesn't appreciate Lewis Carroll? Hell, Shakespeare coined neologisms. Poetry is a motive force as well as an emotive force. That kind of power intimidates many people. That kind of connection to the world and to others is more than many people bargain for. Poetry is a hell of a lot more demanding than ten frames at the bowling alley.

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 12:27 AM
I'll add this -- if a poem doesn't tap into something within me, I forget it the instant I turn away from it.

That doesn't mean the poet shares my background, or that I've experienced whatever his poem about it. But something in his poem must reach out to something in me, or I shrug and move on. For that reason, I strive to have my poems hold out a hand, though not everyone will bother making its acquaintance.

kborsden
04-17-2016, 12:34 AM
"It is fatal to decide, intellectually, what good poetry is because you are then in honour bound to try to write it, instead of the poems that only you can write."
~ Philip Larkin
____________________________________________

"Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world."
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley (A Defence of Poetry)

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

"Poets aren't very useful. Because they aren't consumeful or very produceful."
~ Ogden Nash

"I've had it with these cheap sons of bitches who claim they love poetry but never buy a book."
~ Kenneth Rexroth

kborsden
04-17-2016, 12:48 AM
I mean, is there really anyone here that doesn't appreciate Lewis Carroll? Hell, Shakespeare coined neologisms. Poetry is a motive force as well as an emotive force. That kind of power intimidates many people. That kind of connection to the world and to others is more than many people bargain for. Poetry is a hell of a lot more demanding than ten frames at the bowling alley.

The internet provides a far greater connection, simpler, and much more immediate. Neologisms are coined through Twitter, Facebook et al nowadays. It is incredible to think how much of our language has come out of the classic poets--but future generations will look back to internet memes instead. I don't see the masses holding back from that medium with any intimidation.

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 03:47 AM
Surfing the innerwebs is roughly equivalent to bowling, except you can engage in as many frames as you want. Shakespeare was the jukebox at the best bowling alley of his day. The working class that could spare a couple pence for entertainment filled the floor and howled at the bawdy entrendres. I'm not sure who sat home reading his sonnets, though.

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 03:53 AM
I'll add this -- if a poem doesn't tap into something within me, I forget it the instant I turn away from it.

I absolutely agree, and say to each their own (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?317730-Mathematical-Poetry-Challenge).

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 03:54 AM
Have you made a point somewhere, or is it all just fancy talk to while away the idle hours? You lost me somewhere back at the jukebox.

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 04:01 AM
Mostly nonsense, in a fanciful pass of sound and fruition. But that speaks to the heart of my existence in this wind-blown world.

You're free to ignore me. Just as most people are with whatever it is that impinges on them when they could engage in something more entertaining.

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 04:11 AM
Ah. I see. Flarfing.

I prefer bowling. And I loathe bowling.

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 04:19 AM
Life's too short not to enjoy yourself. Oddly, many partake of flarf with unrestrained relish, not knowing the poetry it exposes in their soul. You needn't feed the unwashed masses bread and circuses when they are passing poetry through their very virtual pores. A smorgasbord awaits.

Latina Bunny
04-17-2016, 04:20 AM
...I'm lost.

What are dada text? What is flarfing?

I had to look up Neologisms, and yes, people can totally learn new words/terms/slang from the Internet, lol.

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 04:22 AM
If you must flarf, the toilets are in the bowling alley, just to the left of the jukebox.

Kylabelle
04-17-2016, 04:30 AM
If you must flarf, the toilets are in the bowling alley, just to the left of the jukebox.

But leave your dada by the door.

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 04:31 AM
The inherent idea is that all life is art and all speech poetry. The mind is an unwitting filter. Artists train their minds to notice what is around them and what is in them. And then reflect it back. Presence of mind allows every banal bit of bullshit to be revolved, reviewed and admitted to the canon of life. Embrace it. Not to do so is to be subsumed into the indifferentiated swamp of inane sameness. Everybody's idiocy is worthy of notice. A pissoir is not necessarily just a pissoir. Ask R. Mutt.

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 04:33 AM
But leave your dada by the door.

Specifically, wrapped in a bag and deposited in the bin by the door. For the love of god and clean shoes, don't just drop it on the welcome mat.

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 04:36 AM
Every arrangement is part of the job. Can't shirk the details. Finding the prize is only the beginning. And the end. In between intervenes life.

Kylabelle
04-17-2016, 04:44 AM
There are prizes?

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 04:49 AM
A pissoir is not necessarily just a pissoir.

It's a symbol of oppression by the cissexist patriarchy!

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 04:49 AM
Not when it become a fountain. Think of it as a bidet.


There are prizes?
But of course.


Definition of prize

1
: something taken by force, stratagem, or threat

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 04:49 AM
There are prizes?

yes, the winner gets his choice of a bowling ball or a pissoir.

there's also a smorgasbord, I understand.

Kylabelle
04-17-2016, 04:51 AM
May I please have a bidet instead?

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 04:52 AM
It's a symbol of oppression by the cissexist patriarchy!


fuck the prizes. let's revolt.

- - - Updated - - -


May I please have a bidet instead?

that's a symbol of oppression by the cissexist matriarchy. I think. I'll have to check.

in any case, I'm up for revolting immediately after the smorgasbord.

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 04:53 AM
Not when it become a fountain. Think of it as a bidet.

Have you ever tried to use a urinal as a bidet? It doesn't work.

- - - Updated - - -


fuck the prizes. let's revolt.

Huzzah!

Kylabelle
04-17-2016, 04:53 AM
But of course.

Definition of prize

1
: something taken by force, stratagem, or threat



Well, if I am going to go to all that much trouble, I sure as fuck want something better than a bowling ball. Or the other thing. Whichever.

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 04:54 AM
this whole thread has become revolting.

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 04:54 AM
May I please have a bidet instead?

I was disappointed on my trip to France. I didn't encounter a single bidet.

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 04:55 AM
The mind is wonderful thing to prize (verb).

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 04:55 AM
Who's better at revolting? Americans or the French?

Kylabelle
04-17-2016, 04:56 AM
I was disappointed on my trip to France. I didn't encounter a single bidet.

The last one I saw was in Baltimore.


The mind is wonderful thing to prize (verb).

And that's where I lost it, too. Baltimore.

*sigh*

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 04:56 AM
I was disappointed on my trip to France. I didn't encounter a single bidet.

I once scored a hotel room on a business trip to Paris that had two bathrooms and two bidets. I made sure I used them both, because I could. It was the highlight of the trip.

William Haskins
04-17-2016, 05:00 AM
if "most people" weren't already turned off by poetry, this thread should do the trick.

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 05:01 AM
I piss in urinals at airports to assert my womanhood.

- - - Updated - - -


if "most people" weren't already turned off by poetry, this thread should do the trick.

Too much potty language?

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 05:03 AM
There should be more poetry scrawled in public bathrooms.

Next time you find yourself sitting in a stall, leave it more poetic than you found it.

:)

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 05:03 AM
I think most people only read poetry that contains potty language. Lowest colon deliminator.

Kylabelle
04-17-2016, 05:03 AM
if "most people" weren't already turned off by poetry, this thread should do the trick.
Don't worry; most people will have stopped reading here long before this turn.

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 05:04 AM
Never mind.

Kylabelle
04-17-2016, 05:05 AM
There should be more poetry scrawled in public bathrooms.

Next time you find yourself sitting in a stall, leave it more poetic than you found it.

:)

Now that is one splendid idea.

/KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK! "What'r ya doin in there, moving in?"

/"Go away. I'm trying to compose a sonnet to uplift your toiletting experience. You're scaring my muse."

William Haskins
04-17-2016, 05:05 AM
Don't worry; most people will have stopped reading here long before this turn.

sadly, i was not one of them.

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 05:06 AM
if "most people" weren't already turned off by poetry, this thread should do the trick.

I thought that was the point.

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 05:07 AM
Now that is one splendid idea.

/KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK! "What'r ya doin in there, moving in?"

/"Go away. I'm trying to compose a sonnet to uplift your toiletting experience. You're scaring my muse."

If we want to write poetry for most people, we have to write it where they'll see it. :)

Kylabelle
04-17-2016, 05:07 AM
Repair to the stalls, boys and girls. We have work to do.

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 05:09 AM
Repair to the stalls, boys and girls. We have work to do.

We have to repair them too now? Ugh I just wanted to write poetry, not become a plumber.

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 05:09 AM
sadly, i was not one of them.

you are a glutton for punishment. and here, of course, we had a smorgasbord.


If we want to write poetry for most people, we have to write it where they'll see it. :)

I shall carry a sharpie to every dive bar I go.

- - - Updated - - -


We have to repair them too now? Ugh I just wanted to write poetry, not become a plumber.

Is there a difference?

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 05:10 AM
Stall walls won't fit my printer.

Latina Bunny
04-17-2016, 05:28 AM
Now that is one splendid idea.

/KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK! "What'r ya doin in there, moving in?"

/"Go away. I'm trying to compose a sonnet to uplift your toiletting experience. You're scaring my muse."

I can't believe we're condoning vandalism here. :0

Soooo tempting, though...

But if even I wanted to desecrate the sacred stalls, I don't know how to write poetry for shit.

AW Admin
04-17-2016, 05:30 AM
I piss in urinals at airports to assert my womanhood.

https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=micturate&submit.x=47&submit.y=25
Men piss; women micturate.

* Cognate with mistletoe (https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=Mistletoe&submit.x=43&submit.y=12)!

Implies "seeping" or "drizzle"; the same IE root *meigh (https://ahdictionary.com/word/indoeurop.html#IR065600) gives us mist.

Xelebes
04-17-2016, 05:33 AM
How wide are those goal posts, shadow? When did modern begin?

Roughly around World War I. From when abstraction became important after the power of the church receded and mysterious ideas began creeping from the east (theosophism, mysticism, orientalism) that resulted in many well understood concepts being discarded.

Latina Bunny
04-17-2016, 05:34 AM
Men piss; women micturate.

I had to look up "micturate" as well. XD

All I learned from all of this is that my vocab seems to be very limited, lol. :P

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 05:36 AM
Men piss; women micturate.

Not the ones I pee with... XD

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 05:38 AM
But if even I wanted to desecrate the sacred stalls, I don't know how to write poetry for shit.

Who said anything about shit?

Girls can poetry while peeing. :tongue

Just drink a lot beforehand. XD

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 05:41 AM
on the bright side, I don't see how this thread could possibly get any worse.

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 05:42 AM
on the bright side, I don't see how this thread could possibly get any worse.

Worse?

This is an improvement. :)

Latina Bunny
04-17-2016, 05:44 AM
Worse?

This is an improvement. :)

Exactly. I at least understand shit and bidets.

Before that, I had trouble understanding the whole flaffing and dada text stuff.

Talk about lowest common denominator (if that's how the phrase goes), lol.

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 05:48 AM
* Cognate with mistletoe (https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=Mistletoe&submit.x=43&submit.y=12)!

Wait, what?

God, Xmas will never be the same...

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 05:50 AM
Worse?

This is an improvement. :)

True. Perhaps that is why William is silently weeping in the corner.

AW Admin
04-17-2016, 05:51 AM
on the bright side, I don't see how this thread could possibly get any worse.

I submitted about 16 pages of pre-1600 attestations of shit to the OED. I bet I still have the notes . . .

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 05:54 AM
I submitted about 16 pages of pre-1600 attestations of shit to the OED.

N.B.: For the new-to-AW... She isn't being figurative. :tongue

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 05:56 AM
I submitted about 16 pages of pre-1600 attestations of shit to the OED. I bet I still have the notes . . .

Presumably none of it related to flarf or dadaism. Bring it on, I say.

tiddlywinks
04-17-2016, 07:54 AM
*delurks*


The inherent idea is that all life is art and all speech poetry. The mind is an unwitting filter. Artists train their minds to notice what is around them and what is in them. And then reflect it back. Presence of mind allows every banal bit of bullshit to be revolved, reviewed and admitted to the canon of life. Embrace it. Not to do so is to be subsumed into the indifferentiated swamp of inane sameness. Everybody's idiocy is worthy of notice. A pissoir is not necessarily just a pissoir. Ask R. Mutt.

:roll:

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 08:14 AM
yes. it is ridiculous.

William Haskins
04-17-2016, 08:23 AM
True. Perhaps that is why William is silently weeping in the corner.

weeping is such a simple word for the complex grief i am feeling.

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 08:28 AM
It was impossible to do justice to your grief in a mere post. I shall write a poem about it and perhaps choreograph an interpretive dance.

AW Admin
04-17-2016, 08:36 AM
Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

--Percy Shelley, Wanker

tiddlywinks
04-17-2016, 09:05 AM
if "most people" weren't already turned off by poetry, this thread should do the trick.

For the record, I was rather enjoying the discussion here until it devolved into bidets. And Shakespeare as a jukebox in a bowling alley smacked me as very Johnsonian in tone. How now, n'uncle. I suppose I shall go back to no, no, no life as I attempt a turkey on the lanes.

I don't write poetry because it's not an art form wherein I can best distill the vagaries of my brain. As many of you know, I'm a rather wordy devil, so I shall stick to novels, thank you kindly.

Yet, that does not mean I don't read or appreciate poetry, or the poets on AW. I have my personal favorites because they speak to me. That being said, I don't spend as much time with poetry, not because I'm some easily entertained, flighty individual who can't grasp the deeper meaning or some other nonsense. No, it's because I have only so much time and choose to derive my meaning from other art forms and experiences that resonate for me - you tell me how many people will sit for half an hour (or more) in front of a painting these days and happily discuss it . :( Unless it's a bidet--Er, excuse me, a fountain. I prefer not to discuss that, even with R. Mutt.

Carry on, and my apologies for what may be a ramble derail from the current frivolity.

Silva
04-17-2016, 10:06 AM
I regret everything I googled from this thread.

kborsden
04-17-2016, 11:27 AM
Intimately connected to Dada? Hmm, surely that misses the entire point. Dada, like Flarf, was a reaction and critique, an expression against the intelllectualization, academic formality, and commodification of art. They are counter-intellectual, counter-societal and intentionally disconnected--Flarf (as a 21st century incarnation of that generated from random google search results) explicitly intended as 'bad' and inappropriate where the originators shared amongst themselves and riffed on each other in order to devolve the poetic further. Essentially they are an in joke, and jibe at the classes that elevate the 'cutting edge' and avant garde. Neither was ever really intended to be taken seriously and viewed as more than a reaction. Dada died out once those it poked fun at accepted and adopted it; Flarf, equally, all the while pseudo-intellectuals ooh-ing and ah-ing over it and making vapid statements on driving a self-assumed yet ultimately false sense of innovation, not realizing they are the butt of their own joke...

[If you really believe in and want to promote the autonomy of art as poetry, in the Borges sense, then perhaps you should be looking more to how original Berlin Dada splintered and evolved into Surrealism and Merzism--or how 'de Stijl' influenced Dutch poetry, focusing on pure abstraction and neoplasticism, and how that was eventually turned against in the COBRA movement where static abstraction and the natural world became the enemy. Flarf is not new, not cutting edge, it is a shallow repeat of something that happened nearly a hundred ears ago with much more cause and reason behind it, political and artistic]

...that is a direct representation of Mitchell's 'most people' ignoring poetry because it ignores them; hell, even poets might add themselves to that group in this case. The point of Dada and derivative movements was/is to destroy that sense of elitism and the divide, but ingratiating the methodologies and proclaiming them as more than that actually only serves to strengthen what they rile against.
________________________________


It was impossible to do justice to your grief in a mere post. I shall write a poem about it and perhaps choreograph an interpretive dance.

Or you could simply do this:

https://www.google.co.uk/search?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&q=Dutch+surrealist+movement&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gfe_rd=cr&ei=gzwTV5u2KMLS8AfBuoG4Dw#channel=fs&q=grief
https://www.google.co.uk/search?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&q=scrotum&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gfe_rd=cr&ei=RD8TV_nOC-PU8geHi724DQ
https://www.google.co.uk/search?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&q=bitch&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gfe_rd=cr&ei=1T8TV8q9NaLS8Afc9pKQCA
https://www.google.co.uk/search?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&q=aids&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gfe_rd=cr&ei=dz8TV-DzB-PU8geHi724DQ
https://www.google.co.uk/search?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&q=sadness&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gfe_rd=cr&ei=ez8TV83dOOPU8geHi724DQ
https://www.google.co.uk/search?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&q=lyrics+fuck+you&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gfe_rd=cr&ei=eUATV-3zG-nS8AfR4abQDA
https://www.google.co.uk/search?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&q=wrinkly+bastard&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gfe_rd=cr&ei=B0ETV9GkO4aCaMHar9AI

Look inside,
underneath the penis. It is the small
depression who thought they were merely sad
tips for coping, and information about
books he's written alone...
look inside your tiny mind,
gossip about me and mock my work;
threatening infections with early diagnosis
'cause we're so uninspired.
Now look a bit harder,
open the hollow door on an old one-eyed
bastard in a faded military uniform
so sick.

Now, let's batter and dissociate that through conscientious piss-taking and obtuse commentary so we intellectualize the entire process and feel clever about it while stroking our egos for being so 'out there' and edgy :).

Basically, Flarf is an active commentary against poetry, the writing of it, the grouping of like-minds around it, workshopping, and the want for sharing it. The joke has a punch line... as said before... in those that flarf seriously approaching it and using it as a medium--indeed discussions about discovering the poetry of the soul through it--funny, right?!

But seriously, let's get to it, with conviction this time.

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 01:44 PM
I think you may fail to see that Dada and Flarf, while originally posited as self-destructive reactionary movements, were, and remain, at the same time positive, generative forces. Art that was created to negate Art. Creation and negation are both integral to the aim. I understand that on an intellectual level this kind of cognitive dissonance is emotionally destabilizing for some people. But it's the way reality is (light, for all that the most brilliant physicists can figure, is both a particle and a wave, finite and infinitely extensive at the same time. It has practical, scientific utility and predictive power to hypothesize it thus. Who am I to argue?). And it's one of the things that Art (and poetry as a subset of capital "A" Art) has always been better at embracing than science and rationality in general have historical been able to. M.C. Escher's drawings are parlor game illustrations of the concept. Dada stepped up and threw the shit at the revolving fan blades laughing to see who would flinch. The punch line was that we were already covered in mire and no one that recognized this pre-existing condition batted an eyelash at it. The rest fled thinking they were clean and well ordered not wishing to admit their already befouled state. The mouldy old figs.

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald

kborsden
04-17-2016, 02:04 PM
Point proven perhaps?

But more to it, the passive needling and soft implication of being the smartest person in the room that your posts maintain; the craftsmanship in over abundance of words and wrought self-divination, I find it all so endearing. In particular how much duller we must be for not understanding things, being afraid of things we don't. Yet you have no idea who anyone is, haven't taken the time to discuss, just spewed your bloated posts.

Thing is, most poets will have flirted with various daist methodologies -- some may have discovered merit, others appreciated for what they are. Some may have even experimented deeply: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?213760-Project-Conceptual-Dada-esque-Derived-Method-Poetry-%28not-ACTUAL-Dada%29

poetinahat
04-17-2016, 03:08 PM
tl;dr version for those of us with middling brows: are we all acting of good will toward one another here? Please let me know, so I can decide how pained I should be at the notion of a poetry row.

thank you!

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 03:15 PM
I'm just here for the bathroom revolution.

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 03:34 PM
Well poke me in the eye with a broken spork. I might get to like you.

Not knowing who anyone is is precisely the reason for the appearance of words I would rather elide when conversing with cozy knowns. Thanks for setting the crumbs out to follow to that feast you served some five years ago. Smorgasbord indeed. Sliced, diced and sutured tight. Don't know how I could have missed it with its rather large blocks of multicolored egolessness. Very nice, I learned something there.

Now would you mind if I munch some popcorn while I continue under your tutelage? It'll keep my mouth full and fingers off the keyboard.

Never fear, all kumbaya here

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 04:26 PM
William, have you a spare handkerchief?

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 05:12 PM
Not knowing who anyone is is precisely the reason for the appearance of words I would rather elide when conversing with cozy knowns.

the tl;dr version.

Latina Bunny
04-17-2016, 05:45 PM
I'm just here for the bathroom revolution.

Viva la bidet!


the tl;dr version.

I tried to read it, and I still don't understand it, lol. No entiendo.

I think the technobabble from Star Trek/Star Wars/various scifi made more sense to me.

(ETA: Sounds a little bit like some highfalutin artsy stuff? Art to negate art, what now?)

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 05:55 PM
you tell me how many people will sit for half an hour (or more) in front of a painting these days and happily discuss it . :( Unless it's a bidet--Er, excuse me, a fountain. I prefer not to discuss that, even with R. Mutt.



I, for one, have been known to stand for half an hour at a painting I like. If only I had someone to discuss it with, I would, but you're quite correct that few are interested in doing that.

But I don't have more than half a second's interest in the pissoir unless I need to take a whiz.

Give me a well-crafted metaphor, and I will ponder over it for hours. Give me a jumble of words intended solely to cause dissonance and thumb a nose at the reader and I will shrug.

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 06:18 PM
...words intended solely to cause dissonance and thumb a nose at the reader and I will shrug.
One woman's jumble... If the words are arranged into a metaphor with the same intention you're okay with that? And if you have no way of discerning intent, what then?

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 06:22 PM
I'm just here for the bathroom revolution.

Viva la bidet!



Sorry, there's nothing new under the pudendum.

kborsden
04-17-2016, 06:27 PM
Surrealism intends to remove all tangible reality and any influence from the original author--this via purest abstraction to deliver a poem unique to every reader as their own personal experiences fill the gaps. That is a skilled and highly involved method of composition...

there is a goal and a purpose in that. It's not for everyone, and not everyone gets anything out of it, but that's a matter of taste I suppose--not intellect :)

I appreciate surrealism, absurdism, nonsense, paradox and most experimentation; I experiment furiously within my own poetry--I don't expect it always to work, and by no means think that doing so puts me and my poetry on some kind of pedestal. Many times I actually feel it can actually detract.

Ari Meermans
04-17-2016, 06:33 PM
Surrealism intends to remove all tangible reality any influence from the original author--this via purest abstraction to deliver a poem unique to every reader as their own personal experiences fill the gaps. That is a skilled and highly involved method of composition...

there is a goal and a purpose in that. It's not for everyone, and not everyone gets anything out of it, but that's a matter of taste I suppose--not intellect :)

Just so.


One woman's jumble... If the words are arranged into a metaphor with the same intention you're okay with that? And if you have no way of discerning intent, what then?

A writer--whether of poetry or of prose--should learn to give their readers credit. Your reader is rather better at discerning intent than you might think.

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 07:03 PM
"The only genre of imaginative writing in which a search for intention is legitimate is satire, and only then if we consider satire to be referential rather than rhetorical in nature."
-- James A. Parr, "Don Quixote, Don Juan and Related Subjects"

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 07:25 PM
My views of discerning intentionality aside,


Give me a well-crafted metaphor, and I will ponder over it for hours. Give me a jumble of words intended solely to cause dissonance and thumb a nose at the reader and I will shrug.
vs.
Give me a well-crafted metaphor... intended solely to cause dissonance and thumb a nose at the reader...and I will ponder over it for hours.

Is the second rearrangement of the senses (so to speak) valid for you? Is metaphor the driving force for you? I'm curious.

For me a jumble of words with the stated intention is far more benign than the metaphor intending the same thing.

And for there are some really exquisite jumbles of words or arrangements in Flarf that I really think are dynamite, I don't give a flaccid clock's second hand what the intent of the writer was. Paradoxical intent be damned.

Latina Bunny
04-17-2016, 07:28 PM
I don't purposely look for the writer's/artist's intent, but I would think I'm smart enough to sometimes notice a writer's/author's intent or biases, prejudices, philosophy, etc.

I feel that sometimes a person's worldview or biases (or intent) can sometimes bleed through the work, in some way.

tiddlywinks
04-17-2016, 07:33 PM
A writer--whether of poetry or of prose--should learn to give their readers credit. Your reader is rather better at discerning intent than you might think.

Indeed. As are readers of posts here on AW.

Latina Bunny
04-17-2016, 07:41 PM
vs.
Give me a well-crafted metaphor... intended solely to cause dissonance and thumb a nose at the reader...and I will ponder over it for hours.


I'm guessing it's a matter of preference?

I personally don't always care for art that patronizes me, the reader/viewer. I don't like to be looked down upon or be made fun of, but that's just me being a serious and hyper-sensitive, lol. :)

Now, if it's supposed to be a subversive or satire piece, then I can understand and appreciate what the artist/writer is trying to communicate. (Though that depends on whether or not I understand what it's trying to satire or subvert.)



And for there are some really exquisite jumbles of words or arrangements in Flarf that I really think are dynamite, I don't give a flaccid clock's second hand what the intent of the writer was. Paradoxical intent be damned.

I would assume the reason an artist/writer/poet/etc is putting something out there in public is to communicate something--or trying to get some kind of reaction.

Otherwise, why bother exposing the art to the public eye? Might as well keep it in your house, in your drawer, or in your computer hard drive, etc.

Mink Stollen
04-17-2016, 07:52 PM
Indeed. As are readers of posts here on AW.

That's what Ari said.

Yeah, figured that one out straight off. Anyone got a rep for me?

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 08:21 PM
I give reps to posts for many of the same reasons I give them to poems -- because they moved me to think of something in a new way, because I found them amusing, insightful, intriguing, moving, original, intelligent and/or well-considered, or perhaps simply because I like the person posting them.

I rarely award reps when I find posts condescending or lacking substance.

And if they're too fucking long and meandering, I often give up halfway through and find something better to do long before I ever get to the rep button, which is inconveniently located at the bottom.

If you'll excuse me, it's a beautiful day outside and I have a poem to write.

William Haskins
04-17-2016, 09:24 PM
nature drops the pretense. go with god.

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 09:53 PM
as if god would have me.

AW Admin
04-17-2016, 10:04 PM
Just so.



A writer--whether of poetry or of prose--should learn to give their readers credit. Your reader is rather better at discerning intent than you might think.

And some of us have ban hammers.

And have been trained to discern undergraduate pedantry fueled by navel lint and malice.

So back to the topic at hand:



''The written word
Should be clean as bone,
Clear as light,
Firm as stone.
Two words are not
As good as one.''

This is by Anonymous.

I first discovered it as a teen reading Madeline L'Engle's A circle of Quiet; she says there it's anonymous 12th century.

It is much anthologized and much quoted on the 'net, but no genuine attribution. I've found it in a high school English text book from 1919, so it's pre-1919.

It is anonymous; it isn't listed in any of the standard references for medieval lyrics.

It might be medieval; one thing that makes me question that is the use of should; it's not typical to use in that exact way, and the meter with the use of end-rhyme is also not quite typical, and there are other linguistic suggestions that make me doubt its possible medieval origins.

But I likes it.

CassandraW
04-17-2016, 10:08 PM
undergraduate pedantry fueled by navel lint and malice.



Now that's a poem.




''The written word
Should be clean as bone,
Clear as light,
Firm as stone.
Two words are not
As good as one.''



As is that.

kuwisdelu
04-17-2016, 10:41 PM
I pride myself on my navel lint inspired poesy.

kborsden
04-18-2016, 01:31 AM
I pride myself on my navel lint inspired poesy.

To nod back to an earlier post, surely there's something universally mainstream in that? I know I can relate ;)

The curious truth about belly button fluff (http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150709-the-curious-truth-about-belly-button-fluff)



Ode to Belly Button Lint!

When I awake from a long night's sleep,
I stretch, yawn and take a leap.
A leap to the bathroom where a shower is coming,
This makes me happy so I begin humming.
The humming turns into a happy tune,
And I know I'll be clean very soon.
But before I can jump into the shower,
There is one thing I need to do at this hour.
It starts with an itch, a scratch as I linger,
With a piece of lint on the edge of my finger.
The lint is a speck of fuzz from my button,
That little part of my belly that's not good for "nuthin."
I place that speck right on the sink,
And wonder how could it
be filled with such stink?

~ source: Prince Pal, Fiction press (https://www.fictionpress.com/s/1894605/1/Ode-to-Belly-Button-Lint)

poetinahat
04-18-2016, 04:30 AM
I generally think of Dada and the like as important, but momentary: once the exercise is complete, and the examination of Art has happened, the work itself is over. It's worthy to consider as a concept, but the work itself doesn't really endure. Which, I think, is essential to the concept itself.

Yeah - Duchamp's urinal on the gallery wall* is Art because he says so. But the point's been made, and putting up a series of urinals just turns the gallery into a latrine. Still Art, I suppose, but, let's say, less and less interesting with repetition.

At some point - sooner or later - the What is Art? exercise needs to include actual art be art. It's not just what Art is that matters; it's why.

--
*: I've cited this example before, because it's so clear. Which, ironically, probably underscores its very significance. But, I would say, nobody remembers the guy who showed up the next day and put up the hand-dryer.

frimble3
04-18-2016, 08:15 AM
''The written word
Should be clean as bone,
Clear as light,
Firm as stone.
Two words are not
As good as one.''

But I likes it.
I like it, too. It so clearly explains why I suck at poetry. I'm better with many, many, unclean, unclear, somewhat soggy words.

Debbie V
04-19-2016, 08:09 AM
I took a course on Surrealism in college and wrote a paper on "The Wall" (the movie, not the album.) Some of this does endure. Why? Because, as we said before, people have a way into it. For some that way is the music or just the familiarity of having heard it before. For some, it's the art of the animation within. For some it's knowing there is a basis in the history of a performer. I argue that what the way is doesn't matter. Everyone who gets in finds meaning. Otherwise, they'd be out. I also argue that intent doesn't matter either. We can't control interpretation.

But intent may matter in the creation and to the creator. I write for children for a reason. To impact the future. Miguel de Unamuno argues that writing a novel (or creating any other work of art) is a path to one form of immortality. I believe I'm only immortal for as long as my work is remembered. How many of you remember the picture books you read as young children and shared those same books with your own kids?

I write for children for another reason. They are less jaded about other people's truths and are in the process of discovering their own. I hope to help.

In writing for the educational markets, a subset of writing for kids, intent is everything. What are you trying to teach and do they actually learn it? It matters on both ends.

(Oh, and the poetry forum may not be as insular as you'd think. Once I've more time again, I'll be back to the writing for kids and YA forums as well as novels and SF. Perhaps not in that order. It's all about time.)

But this is a discussion of how poetry relates to the masses, or doesn't. We are all among those masses, no matter which styles we write or prefer to read. Art is and has always been in the eye (or other senses) of the beholder. Or did no one else agree to hang Duchamp's urinal and come to see it? For someone it likely provided them a way in, even if only with a chuckle.

(P.S. Thank you for answering the honest questions about Dada etc.)

Stew21
04-19-2016, 08:53 PM
I missed a troll? and a ban?

and also, I never before realized that poets like to go to bathrooms together much like young ladies in bars.

kuwisdelu
04-19-2016, 09:00 PM
and also, I never before realized that poets like to go to bathrooms together much like young ladies in bars.

Cass is my designated bathroom buddy.

CassandraW
04-19-2016, 09:03 PM
I missed a troll? and a ban?


and a full-scale restroom revolution. it was a big weekend here in the poetry forum.

Stew21
04-19-2016, 09:05 PM
Excellent choice, Kuwi. Cass has everything you might need in her handbag: sharpies, weapons, watermelon LipSmackers, booze, safety pins, super glue, dictionary...

Stew21
04-19-2016, 09:06 PM
and a full-scale restroom revolution. it was a big weekend here in the poetry forum.

Hhmm... that is a big weekend.

Did anyone actually write any poetry?

kuwisdelu
04-19-2016, 09:06 PM
Excellent choice, Kuwi. Cass has everything you might need in her handbag: sharpies, weapons, watermelon LipSmackers, booze, safety pins, super glue, dictionary...

I hear she can take out a whole room with a stapler.

CassandraW
04-19-2016, 09:11 PM
Hhmm... that is a big weekend.

Did anyone actually write any poetry?


Hey! I totally posted a new addition to my narrative. I sweat my ass off all weekend and you didn't even notice.

William, do you have a spare hanky?


Cass is my designated bathroom buddy.


Excellent choice, Kuwi. Cass has everything you might need in her handbag: sharpies, weapons, watermelon LipSmackers, booze, safety pins, super glue, dictionary...

Heh. I am, in fact, known to my friends as the person who inevitably has that one thing in her handbag someone needs, no matter how small the handbag. I always have safety pins, for example. At least half a dozen times, I've rescued friends with spaghetti strap emergencies.

Kuwi gave careful consideration to her choice of bathroom buddy.

kuwisdelu
04-19-2016, 09:25 PM
How I imagine Cassandra. (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/143553/Anime/senjougahara-staplers.jpg)

William Haskins
04-19-2016, 09:42 PM
William, do you have a spare hanky?

afraid not. i need them all to fashion a noose.

CassandraW
04-19-2016, 09:45 PM
How I imagine Cassandra. (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/143553/Anime/senjougahara-staplers.jpg)

it's pretty much dead-on. only I have a watermelon lipsmacker.


afraid not. i need them all to fashion a noose.

may I borrow your noose when you're done with it?

Fruitbat
04-19-2016, 09:45 PM
Anyone got any weed?

CassandraW
04-19-2016, 09:46 PM
try the cabaret.

Fruitbat
04-19-2016, 09:51 PM
Thanks, dawg.

kborsden
04-19-2016, 09:55 PM
Hhmm... that is a big weekend.

Did anyone actually write any poetry?


I've been writing like a thing possessed... not sure if any of it is any good, but work has been suffering.

kuwisdelu
04-19-2016, 09:57 PM
Hhmm... that is a big weekend.

Did anyone actually write any poetry?


Love, I am poetry.

Stew21
04-19-2016, 10:24 PM
yes you are, darling.

KTC
04-19-2016, 10:28 PM
i poeted causin' i've been seein ghostses.
all over the f'in place.
they're in my heart
they're in my soul
they're in the fucking grout. i shit you not. i see them but theys faces be like dont look at me. everyone i know is dying. it's so weird. i had to be poeter this weekend past. felt the need. i saw her face on another. with a different sneer, though. they wore it wrong.

William Haskins
04-19-2016, 10:32 PM
/ties knots faster

CassandraW
04-19-2016, 10:34 PM
/ties knots faster

for the love of god, don't leave me alone with these people.

KTC
04-19-2016, 10:40 PM
afraid not. i need them all to fashion a noose.

you no say a frayed knot.

CassandraW
04-19-2016, 10:43 PM
/frantically digs through handbag for rope

Fruitbat
04-19-2016, 10:53 PM
afraid not. i need them all to fashion a noose.
...
Nooses give
...
You may as well live.

CassandraW
04-19-2016, 10:56 PM
Perhaps instead William and I could douse ourselves in gasoline and light a match.

Alternatively, we could set fire to the thread.

Stew21
04-19-2016, 11:17 PM
Cass, you have to choose. You can't use fire and ropes.

However, in this scenario, I think someone in this thread would appreciate if you fashioned the noose from hemp.

Fruitbat
04-19-2016, 11:37 PM
Thanks, Boo.

Magdalen
04-19-2016, 11:46 PM
Cass, you have to choose. You can't use fire and ropes.

However, in this scenario, I think someone in this thread would appreciate if you fashioned the noose from hemp.

Yea, tomorrow is Hemp day, so plz do. . . btw I'm at the end of my rope. . .

tiddlywinks
04-20-2016, 02:59 AM
Am...am I still in the poetry section? Because this sounds frighteningly similar to the cabaret.

Fruitbat
04-20-2016, 03:03 AM
Yea, tomorrow is Hemp day, so plz do. . . btw I'm at the end of my rope. . .

No, tomorrow is hump day. Silly Maggie.

CassandraW
04-20-2016, 03:03 AM
It's funny. People say the same thing whenever I'm in a P&CE thread.

Magdalen
04-20-2016, 03:19 AM
Perhaps instead William and I could douse ourselves in gasoline and light a match.

Alternatively, we could set fire to the thread.


Cass, you have to choose. You can't use fire and ropes.

However, in this scenario, I think someone in this thread would appreciate if you fashioned the noose from hemp.


Yea, tomorrow is Hemp day, so plz do. . . btw I'm at the end of my rope. . .


Am...am I still in ...the poetry section? Because this sounds frighteningly similar to the cabaret.

...the poetry section?

It is in you. The rope & noose are metaphorical references to despair (not, mind you, quiet desperation) and while the hemp ref was a bit non sequitur, most people wouldn't notice!



...the poetry section?


Thanks Cass - your passion is more than heartwarming!!

tiddlywinks
04-20-2016, 03:22 AM
Thanks for clearing that up, Magdalen :greenie

poetinahat
04-20-2016, 03:30 AM
What the hell happened here?

Hey Mink, wait up..

kuwisdelu
04-20-2016, 04:01 AM
We need to make bathroom revolution t-shirts.

tiddlywinks
04-20-2016, 04:28 AM
Can Viva R. Mutt! be the slogan?

With a poem about the poetry within you?

Hmm. Too much perhaps.

kuwisdelu
04-20-2016, 04:36 AM
Can Viva R. Mutt! be the slogan?

With a poem about the poetry within you?

Hmm. Too much perhaps.

Mmm no. I'd prefer not to glorify individuals.

And I'm rather attached to my interpretation of the urinal as a symbol of patriarchal oppression.

Viva la toilette revolución!

kuwisdelu
04-20-2016, 04:39 AM
I propose the Shewee (https://www.shewee.com) as our symbol.

CassandraW
04-20-2016, 04:39 AM
What the hell happened here?

Hey Mink, wait up..

William and I are committing suicide. You're welcome to join us.

It's the only sure way out of the thread, unless you can get someone to ban you.

poetinahat
04-20-2016, 05:11 AM
William and I are committing suicide. You're welcome to join us.

It's the only sure way out of the thread, unless you can get someone to ban you.
Bless you two. Lead on, and hurry.

All this toilet tittering and litterbox alliteration is bruising my leaflike eyelids.

Xelebes
04-20-2016, 05:50 AM
The passing of their souls rouses your eyes awhisper?

poetinahat
04-20-2016, 06:18 AM
Aye, through the green fuse.

A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou...
never mind. Gimme a pigfoot and a bottle of beer.

AW Admin
04-20-2016, 07:00 AM
Ich am of Ireland
And of the holy londe
Of Ireland.
Gode sire, preye ich thee,
For of saynte charite
Come and dance with me
In Ireland.

This is another of what I think of as Medieval found poetry; it's a fragment of parchment containing a handful of Medieval lyrics that at some point were bound together with other texts in the Bodleian Library's MS. Rawlinson D. 913. Ten other short lyrics in English, and two in French, like this lyric that later inspired Yeats, only survive in this parchment scrap. We know nothing about them except what the words tell us.

KTC
04-20-2016, 04:19 PM
i once had leaflike eyelids
alas, came the fall,
now i sleep
with two eyes open

Stew21
04-20-2016, 05:41 PM
Ich am of Ireland
And of the holy londe
Of Ireland.
Gode sire, preye ich thee,
For of saynte charite
Come and dance with me
In Ireland.

This is another of what I think of as Medieval found poetry; it's a fragment of parchment containing a handful of Medieval lyrics that at some point were bound together with other texts in the Bodleian Library's MS. Rawlinson D. 913. Ten other short lyrics in English, and two in French, like this lyric that later inspired Yeats, only survive in this parchment scrap. We know nothing about them except what the words tell us.


I love it when you come to the poetry forum, Lisa.

Xelebes
04-20-2016, 11:56 PM
Aye, through the green fuse.

A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou...
never mind. Gimme a pigfoot and a bottle of beer.

Picking jolly hocks now are we? Well, sounds like fun either way.

Samsonet
04-27-2016, 08:24 PM
I guess it's a bit late to bring this up, but better late than never...

There's another reason teens might be turned away from poetry: the stereotype of the "angsty kid who listens to sad music and writes bad poetry".

I hate this stereotype for a looooot of reasons. The one most relevant here: someone who might not have read good poetry will definitely have seen people mock bad poetry. And I know you're thinking, "forget the haters", but it's hard to do that when it becomes part of your thinking: Wow, this poem I wrote when I was twelve IS REALLY BAD, better make sure it never sees the light of day again or, maybe worse, Pfff, this guy's poetry IS REALLY BAD, better make sure I never read him again. This woman too! And this one!

Luckily for poetry, enough people present it in a positive light that I don't think it'll die off any time soon... I think a lot of aspiring poets just need to be told that their words matter and that poetry is something that gets better the more you work at it.

/two cents

CassandraW
04-27-2016, 08:31 PM
I think learning your angsty teenage word-belches are terrible (and why) is the first step towards writing better poetry.

Stew21
04-27-2016, 09:13 PM
It's interesting because I believe that as a teen, the one component of poetry that is easily accessible is emotion. As we get older and more of life gets in the way and our hormones settle down a bit, and we become more confident in who we are, those urgent gut emotions and instincts are less accessible.
So then we focus on the words, and the metaphors and the forms, and more complex ideas, and lots of other things that draw emotion to the surface, but in a more controlled way. Angst gives way to what I would call emotional forethought.

I'm not proud of the crap I thought was poetry when I was 15, but I had to write it (because I'm a writer and I write stuff and always have even when it was bad). And without those horribly awkward first trips up the stepping stones, we don't get to take bigger leaps and easier strides with confidence later.

And yes, recognizing that our old angsty stuff is crap makes all the difference. The trick is to recognize it and move forward instead of recognizing and quitting.


All it takes for a teen to move past the "my poetry sucks. poetry just sucks. poetry is hard" thing is for one poem to come along that resonates with how they feel in some way.

kuwisdelu
04-27-2016, 09:39 PM
I think angst makes for fine poetry at any time in life. The problem I often see there is over-reliance on cliches and trying to describe emotions and abstractions rather than simply using concrete imagery.

Stew21
04-27-2016, 09:47 PM
hmm. I agree with you. Hadn't really thought of it that way.

In fact, I'd say I didn't express myself accurately.

It's that "unfiltered" angst that is a problem. Angst without a frame. Angst without perspective. Angst that hasn't been aged long enough. Undistilled Angst.

And possibly that teens are more likely to have unfiltered angst simply based on time, experience and (maybe) hormones.

CassandraW
04-27-2016, 09:52 PM
It's interesting -- I think my gut instincts and emotions are more accessible than when I was a teen simply because I understand them better. As a teen, I had the hots for someone and thought it was love. I felt jealousy and thought it was anger. I felt anger and didn't stop to ask myself whether it was justified. I often acted as soon as I felt.

I'm still capable of the same intensity of emotion. Only now I've learned some restraint. It's a lot easier for me to stop and analyze what it is I'm feeling and why. And it's easier for me to step back and take a deep breath before acting. I know from experience that I might regret it, and/or that I might not feel the same way forever. I look much calmer and less emotional, but really, I'm not.

So I feel as though I am dipping into a broader and more nuanced (and probably deeper) emotional well than when I was a teen. And with a buttload of work, I've gotten better with metaphor, etc., which means I'm much better able to express it. Both play into why my poetry is better now than it was then.

My process of writing angst-ridden poetry today tends to involve digging under an emotion and taking it to pieces to figure out what goes into it and how I can best express that with my toolkit. My process of writing angst-ridden poetry as a teen tended to involve just blurting out how I was feeling that moment on a piece of paper (which is why it was so often self-pitying and/or self-justifying).

Stew21
04-27-2016, 09:58 PM
The feelings that we label incorrectly, and react to and act on too soon (and often inappropriately) are exactly what I was talking about in regards to emotion being accessible.

The understanding it, showing restraint, time and confidence, experience and all of those things definitely make the emotional well deeper; it also filters. We rationalize, justify, and try to convince ourselves of lots of emotions before we move on them. That depth requires restraint.

I'm not arguing with you. Just explaining myself.

Point being, the maturity and the toolkit temper the angst. (and, in some cases, temper the emotion, invite cynicism, etc.) But we improve our craft through it, not around it. We improve our craft on it.
Some emotion is bedrock. That quick, alien flood of emotions experienced as a teen is probably less bedrock than grist.

Stew21
04-27-2016, 10:07 PM
Also, just because we understand it more, or label it more accurately, or have previous experience with and recognize an emotion more easily doesn't mean we feel it more acutely or make the emotion more accessible. It makes our understanding and management of it more effective. It makes our conclusions more accurate.

It can be dealt with and compartmentalized as necessary. Sure, we "get it", but doesn't mean we do (or don't) feel it the same or differently or more "effectively".

To me that seems absurd.

CassandraW
04-27-2016, 10:17 PM
I think my teen angst included a hell of a lot of chaff! It took a lot of threshing to get the grist.

My better poetry as a teen (at any rate, as a high-school-age teen -- things got better in college) was my rhyming satirical or funny stuff, mostly because it sidestepped my self-absorption. I think my skill with rhyme and meter is more advanced now, of course, but it doesn't embarrass me to look back at the humorous poetry I wrote back then. Whereas the poems about love and heartbreak -- oy.

Stew21
04-27-2016, 10:26 PM
Ah yes. the big giant flood of "I feel this way! What do I do with it?" stinks. And there really is no around it; just through it.

To me, the benefit of having been that writer back when I was a kid, is that as I got older, and calmed down, and got more comfortable in my own skin, was being able to apply craft to it, to put the filter on, to open the toolkit you have and a full cohesive idea emerge. And suddenly it isn't a lump of self-absorbed crud. It has an actual shape.

Re: my comments above, I think that unbridled unfiltered emotion drives us to purge it and explore it (if the teen in question is the writing type). That's the accessibility. (at least this is me trying to make 5 posts take some sort of shape, as I think I'm not doing a good job of explaining myself at all).

Melanii
04-27-2016, 10:36 PM
Ahhh teen poetry. I wrote all that (crap too). There's that as part of a stigma. I see things that still encourage poetry today. Including the closest bus system. O.o

Some people still believe poetry MUST rhyme.

I learned really recently that I've been writing poetry without even knowing it.

"I'm a poet and I didn't know it. HAR HAR HAR." XD

Stew21
04-27-2016, 10:59 PM
So I feel as though I am dipping into a broader and more nuanced (and probably deeper) emotional well than when I was a teen. And with a buttload of work, I've gotten better with metaphor, etc., which means I'm much better able to express it. Both play into why my poetry is better now than it was then.

My process of writing angst-ridden poetry today tends to involve digging under an emotion and taking it to pieces to figure out what goes into it and how I can best express that with my toolkit. My process of writing angst-ridden poetry as a teen tended to involve just blurting out how I was feeling that moment on a piece of paper (which is why it was so often self-pitying and/or self-justifying).


Back to this bit.
the difference for me between angst poetry and (more mature) emotional poetry is the ability to use the emotion, give it a context, give it a metaphor, create a story with it, rather than merely purge it onto a piece of paper with a green gel pen. (I never used those. it just seemed teen angsty.)
I think at the point emotion can be cast in such a way renders it less angst and more craft. Emotion becomes a tool. (as a teen it might have been one of the first tools we tapped).

I can see how it might be seen as a stigma to poetry for "most people", but for writers of poetry, it didn't stop us from writing it. We just kept going.

Stew21
04-27-2016, 11:07 PM
As a side note: my boys just finished up the latest round of standardized testing. School curriculum is written around that testing.
They spend maybe 2 weeks a school year on a poetry section. It's quick and dirty and not tested. Because it is not tested it is basically not taught. Not anymore. Of course my kids don't have a desire to pursue poetry. They really aren't given the depth or breadth of exposure to poetry for it to even register in their brains.
And you know, the purpose of the tests is not to see if the teachers are able to develop passion for creative arts in their students. Society has pretty much told them it isn't valued and isn't important.
(They also get very limited exposure to art class).

Xelebes
04-27-2016, 11:10 PM
My teen poetry was completely the opposite. Emotionless, narrative-focused, probably more verse than poetry. The stories sucked, the words were naff but they helped me nail down rhyme and meter.

kuwisdelu
04-28-2016, 12:21 AM
I actually think I wrote much better poetry in high school than I ever did in college undergrad.

Part of it is I think I felt more, and more was happening in my life in high school than in college.

That unfiltered angst served me well.

Though certainly my later high school stuff eclipses my early high school stuff, a lot of which (like Xelebes') was emotionless narrative verse. Once I started reading more widely and became more comfortable expressing emotions rather than philosophy, I got much better. And then just totally stagnated in college, before getting better again (I think) recently in grad school. Again, thanks to reading more widely and feeling more comfortable writing from parts of myself I was afraid to express or couldn't express before.

kborsden
04-28-2016, 01:29 AM
Angst is a valid subject in any time of life, but there is a broad spectrum. My teen angst is an entity wholly separate to the angst I experience presently. I don't look back and cringe at old poems--they're a record of me; little pieces that together make a whole. I do laugh at some of it. In particular the melodrama of what now seem minor things... then there's also the question of my influences back then (Poe has a lot to answer for).

As I've grown, read more, learnt more, matured and experienced more of the world, met different people from various walks of life, become a father, lost close ones, shuffled my deck of friends, and transposed myself from job to job, carving out an attempt at a career, and through it all continually asked myself who I am, who I want to be--so too has my poetry evolved and attempted to answer those questions, or put some sense into the volatility of that changing life landscape, my perspective in constant shift. Evolving personally in parallel to writing has a kind of Doppler Effect to it.

As odd as it sounds, for a while I was actually afraid, and a little ashamed to talk about, or admit that I wrote and enjoyed poetry. It was almost as if I needed to 'come out' as a poet before I could truly progress with it. From my mid-teens to early twenties, it was a kind of dirty personal secret. I had an amazing English teacher at comprehensive school*, Mr. Hotton, who was one of the most passionate teachers I've ever encountered with regards to the English language. As I grew up, suffered and recovered from a nervous breakdown, I found myself looking back more and more frequently to that period (as if in an attempt to rebuild who I believed I was) and finding inspiration in his lessons years after. It was revisiting those lessons that pushed me to start seeking publication for some of my work, and the feedback from publications that drove me to look at it with a more discerning eye; getting a few pieces out there validated me and gave me the nudge I needed to stop hiding the poet--then of course discovering AW was a blessing.

But I digress, we were talking about sentiment, emotive writing, angst, et al -- these are the most common crux of any art form, and in poetry that means mountains of samey-samey shit, tired phrasing and worn imagery. The trick as I've learnt it, is to step away and distance the writing from it. To compose in 2 layers almost, one on the irrational and emotionally driven, the other on the rational, logical dissemination--write from a distance but inject the occasional touchpoint of closeness. That works for me anyway. But I'm also not one for following a specific formula, I did that as a teen attempting to emulate my heroes (damn you, Poe! <fist shaking>); it was a necessary part of my evolution. One I am happily passed now. I tend to play with assumed convention instead nowadays. To varying effect, but I can't say doing so means, or implies that I feel anything any less. I feel just as much, but I represent those feelings, interpret and utilise them to a different extent. I have become more methodical and contained in what I do with them. Even if I have become emotionally flatter, which may very well be the case, that flatness could only apply to certain areas of my life as other things rise to prominence and take priority--certainly my children are on a level not shared by anything or anyone else (as mean as it sounds, even my partner and far-better half is surpassed by what I feel for my kids). My poetry has come to embrace those changes, and profound tweaks they are.

* secondary school / high school

Xelebes
04-28-2016, 06:01 AM
Though certainly my later high school stuff eclipses my early high school stuff, a lot of which (like Xelebes') was emotionless narrative verse. Once I started reading more widely and became more comfortable expressing emotions rather than philosophy, I got much better. And then just totally stagnated in college, before getting better again (I think) recently in grad school. Again, thanks to reading more widely and feeling more comfortable writing from parts of myself I was afraid to express or couldn't express before.

It wasn't about philosophy for me. It was about what I was being exposed to. A lot of Rudyard Kipling, Robert Service, Shakespeare and Jonson. Not a lot of Thomas, Yeats or Frost yet (and by the time I was, I was falling apart medically so not being particularly productive then.)

poetinahat
04-28-2016, 07:28 AM
To me, the subject matter isn't what makes a poem strike a chord in me. Angst, faeries, plagues, dust on a glass -- doesn't matter. Write a vivid poem, make music of the words, and any subject (or lack thereof) can be made beautiful.

Equally, a wondrous vision can be turned to rubbish by sloppy, trite, self-indulgent, or tone-deaf writing.

When writing introspective or cathartic poetry (or prose, for that matter), the poet runs the risk of losing perspective: will the reader know what the writer was feeling? The poet feels a swell of emotion as she writes. Will the reader feel it too? It can be difficult to judge that for oneself.

As always, it's important to be clear about the intended audience: their education, vocabulary, knowledge of history, physical circumstances (are they in a library, on a train, in a treehouse?), anything else that could influence how they read and understand the poem.

Typically, though, I like the words to have been put together with skill and art. I can get cacophony or freestyle words anywhere. And this is why I don't post much; I don't want to put my name on half-assed poems. It had better be the full ass.

kuwisdelu
04-28-2016, 08:18 AM
It wasn't about philosophy for me. It was about what I was being exposed to. A lot of Rudyard Kipling, Robert Service, Shakespeare and Jonson. Not a lot of Thomas, Yeats or Frost yet (and by the time I was, I was falling apart medically so not being particularly productive then.)

That's basically true for me, too. I was heavily inspired by Kafka, Borges, Eco, and Pynchon early on in middle school and high school, along with the Beat poets, in both fiction and poetry. I became mostly interested in the ideas, but didn't yet have the emotional experience to do anything with those ideas. That changed when I first fell in love later in high school, around when I was 16, and when I also started to read other poets. I largely credit Rilke for teaching me restraint and imagery.

In particular, I think this is the poem that made me the poet I am today:


Extinguish my eyes, I'll go on seeing you.
Seal my ears, I'll go on hearing you.
And without feet I can make my way to you,
without a mouth I can swear your name.

Break off my arms, I'll take hold of you
with my heart as with a hand.
Stop my heart, and my brain will start to beat.
And if you consume my brain with fire,
I'll feel you burn in every drop of my blood.

I was getting into David Foster Wallace and maximalism at the time, and Rilke reminded me 50 words can be more powerful than 1,000.

I ended up forgetting that in college, along with stagnating emotionally (less angst = shitty writing, for me), until graduate school, when I started getting really into haiku and Native poets. I decided to write from my crossblood heart, and learned it all over again.

Samsonet
04-30-2016, 10:45 AM
I do want to say: this forum always leaves me with a new appreciation for poetry. It's very nice to see people who take it seriously and discuss individual poems. Thank you all for that.

coloneldax
05-01-2016, 12:56 AM
I do not think a poem about an individual's experience = a poem to which others cannot relate. To the contrary, I think a well-written poem about a personal experience can tap into the universal -- and indeed, can do so more profoundly than a more generic poem.


Absolutely true! Good poetry should be personal, and all great poets tap into personal experience.
Bruce Springsteen and Emily Bronte are prime examples of this.