Poetics and Poetry Discussion


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  • Rookie Michael Shepherd (12/1/2005 12:29:00 PM) Post reply | Read 3 replies
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    I think it may be good to reformulate the question. What makes American poetry distinctively American, and British poetry distinctively British? (If anything...) . And may I say, I don't have the answer. I could define the standard view of the British character, but I'm not sure that relates directly to the poetry as currently written. Adam, Mark, anyone, could you offer a 'typically British' decent contemporary poem as evidence? (We could always look at Andrew Motion's best, for lack of other choice.) I thought Adam's suggestion of suppressed feeling an interesting view.

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    • Rookie Joseph Daly (12/2/2005 8:20:00 AM) Post reply

      I think that American arts have a universal appeal, and that the answer can be found by looking at the history of both nations. Britain tends towards parochialism and hence it’s poetry and other arts ... more

    • Rookie Declan McHenry (12/1/2005 3:00:00 PM) Post reply

      I just re-read Benjamin Zephaniah's poem 'The British' which perhaps highlights the possible difficulty in finding a 'typically British' poem (especially as I'd class Zephaniah as a very contemporary ... more


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  • Rookie Michael Shepherd (12/1/2005 5:49:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Thanks for the contributions on possible differences between British and American approaches to poetry. It's a subtle subject, difficult to pin down - if indeed there is anything to pin down - and goes deeper than colloquialism, though that is one sign of 'loosening up'on both sides. And obviously there are and have been cross-Atlantic influences. (Crudely, breezy v. referenced...!) If anyone knows of any writing on this subject, I'd be grateful to hear of it. As I said, I may be chasing a hairy goose up the wrong tree-bark...or not. I think it's worth pursuing, though. At least for me.

    First review of my poetry book comes next week, in a small-circulation mag, a whole year after publication... cuts one down to size! Pray for me, fingers crossed, whatever... I've been warned, 'does nothing for sales, just makes people feel they don't have to buy the book now they've read the best quotes'... Ha.

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    • Rookie Lori Boulard (12/1/2005 10:44:00 AM) Post reply

      good luck with the review. And while I keep telling myself that it's the creation that matters, not the reaction, we all fall victim to hope in the end!

  • Rookie Michael Shepherd (11/30/2005 1:11:00 PM) Post reply | Read 4 replies

    We've had a couple of half-hearted attempts at identifying differences between American and British poetic approaches. This morning I was knocking off one of my pieces of journalistic poetry or poetic journalism, and using one or two colloquial cliches of diction, when I wondered, does this happen in American poetry without being turned into reported speech, '..then Chuck said...'. It occurred to me that I was following Eliot - 'Hurry up please it's time'... and Pinter in his plays. I remember the shock of hearing the dialogue in 'The Caretaker' when it was first put on, and the way that banal remarks could be loaded with menace or omen.
    It happens a lot in American plays of course, being dialogue, and short stories like Damon Runyan. Is the 'heard voice' much used in American poetry?

    This may not be a fruitful topic. But my friends are much intrigued by the possibility of such distinguishing features, really for what it tells us about the possible limitations or explorations of English poetry as of now. Does this ring any bells?

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    • Rookie Declan McHenry (12/1/2005 6:33:00 AM) Post reply

      I know my first foray in this was fuelled by a gut feeling rather than any knowledge of the subject. America is a big place. On a whim I undertook a light hearted test recently which was designed to p ... more

    • Rookie Joseph Daly (12/1/2005 4:14:00 AM) Post reply

      Michael, I think that the universiality of 'Americanisms' means that there is a greater understanding of the literal meaning of American colloquialisms. I find, for example, that the use of 'Have a ... more

    • Rookie Max Reif (11/30/2005 4:41:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      I don't much understand what you're talking about, Michael, the only bell it rang for me is, the 'hurry up please it's time' voice in Eliot is kind of like a Greek chorus, isn't it?


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  • Rookie Michael Shepherd (11/30/2005 4:54:00 AM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    Just a reminder that Robert Pinsky is accepting submissions for the weekly poem in online Slate (WashPost) again, from the beginning of December...go on, throw aside your modesty...some of them recently have been models of poetic constipation.

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    • Rookie Lori Boulard (11/30/2005 2:18:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Gee, MS, you make it sound like such a worthy group, I'm not sure it would be a compliment to be included! Then again, is it as true in poetry as other arts that any press is good press?

    • Rookie Max Reif (11/30/2005 10:06:00 AM) Post reply

      Thank you, sir! Your shouts in the wilderness are being heard!

  • Rookie ***** ***** (11/29/2005 7:22:00 PM) Post reply

    oh... author is Adam Jacot de Boinod and published by penguin reference.

  • Rookie ***** ***** (11/29/2005 7:22:00 PM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

    Hey all. I just bought a book called 'the meaning of Tingo' which is an exploration of the more unusual and comprehensive words in many languages... such as 'areodjarekput' (inuit) 'to exchange wives for a few days only' or 'nakhur' (Persian) 'a camel that won't give milk until her nostrils are tickled'. Incidentally 'Tingo' means (Pascuense from Easter Island) 'to borrow things from a friend's house one by one until there's nothing left'. Delightful light reading.

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    • Rookie Poetry Hound (11/29/2005 9:18:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      I have one just like this called, 'They Have A Name For It' - might be out of print. I keep it in the guest bathroom. People come out laughing.

    • Rookie Lori Boulard (11/29/2005 8:54:00 PM) Post reply

      I LOVE books like that. If you're interested, there are more including the hilarious 'Here Speeching American' in a word-lover's catalog called 'Bas Bleu'. It's probably online as well.


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  • Rookie Allan James Saywell (11/29/2005 5:14:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    i love a bit of willie no silly billy not my willie, ' willie nelson' the
    song writer singer i love 'blue eyes crying in the rain' 'my heroes have always been cowboys' 'me and paul' 'city of new orleans' 'pretty paper'
    now here is a man who could be called a poet and i must say willie and i look similar the same battered look from too much fresh air and watermellon wine
    have a listen to willie one day if you are not a fan give him a second chance

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    • Rookie Joy Vanderhelm (11/29/2005 5:25:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      I am not a big fan of Willie Nelson, myself. As a songwriter, I think Bob Dylan is perhaps the most poetic and, indeed, the most influential lyricist of all time. I don't ususally listen to old countr ... more

  • Rookie Joy Vanderhelm (11/29/2005 4:54:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    Hey all you ladies and gents. How's it shakin'? I just came across a line on in abook I am reading, and while it is not exaclty poetry, I thought I might share it.

    'There killing the little man.'

    It's from Stephen King's The Dark Tower series volume 7. I thought it was such a great saying for all types and all timeframes that I wanted to post it here.

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    • Rookie Joy Vanderhelm (12/1/2005 8:05:00 PM) Post reply

      So, I misspelled it. It's supposed to be 'They're killing the little man.' I'm thinking this forum isn't for me if all the feedback I ever get from anyone is spelling and grammatical corrections. This ... more

    • Rookie Joseph Daly (12/1/2005 9:42:00 AM) Post reply

      It would make more sense if it were 'They're killing the little man'. Unless there is a comma missing after Joy's version.

  • Rookie - 7 Points Max Reif (11/29/2005 1:10:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    from one of the other PH Forums:

    Komarraju Venkata Vinay (11/15/2005 12: 22: 00 PM) Post reply

    My way of writing poetry has always been to go into the inner stillness touching which a spray of emotions pass before my minds eye. I feel them but I am not them; I sense them but I am apart from them. Then the emotions crystallize into words and the words arrange themselves into sentences and the poem is written. All as if by MAGIC. Those days when I dont touch the treasurehouse of 'intuition'I wander in the desert of dreary versification: beautiful perhaps but lifeless. To me the inner stillness is the fountain head of inspiration. What Says Thou, My Fellow Poet?

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  • Rookie Michael Shepherd (11/29/2005 12:43:00 PM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

    I've just put up James Lee Jobe's 'On Being Asked Why I Write Poetry' on the Freeform Poetry page here, as it's rather long.

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