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  • Rookie John Kay (10/16/2005 7:18:00 AM) Post reply | Read 2 replies
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    Herbert: I like the website myself, or I wouldn't spend so much time here, and I know that there are many dabblers, but there are also many poets who take this seriously-as I expect you do. You're not a dabbler are you? The question of responsibility and standards can be better seen by looking at another medium-photography. If you looked at a photograph with scratches all over the surface, would you immediately jump up and say they were unacceptable, no how good the photograph was? We all would-even if we aren't photographers. It's simple. The minimum standard for a photograph is 'no scratches.' The same applies to poetry. No cliches. And the Van Dyke poem is nothing but cliches, line by line. It was hard for me to read, frankly. Herbert, are you agruing for cliches? For scratchs. Is the photograph beautiful if someone is blind to the scratches? I have been trained to see the scratches and go into the darkroom with other photographers and help them produce negatives and prints that don't have scratches, that don't have cliches. That's what we learned in school; but even more dramatically, during my time writing poems and working with thousands of my own students, I have learned this lesson over and over again from Frost, Stevens, Whitman, Neruda, etc., that there are standards, and that their poems are the expression of those standards. After you read Van Dyke, do yourself a service, go read a Frost poem. I am not here devoting my time to putting people down with 'harsh criticism' as you call it, Herbert, and why you would want to characterize me as childish, even though you are my senior, I believe, I don't know. None of us are great poets here. At best we are average, but I am working every day to become a 'good' poet, to write a poem that will offer you a new experience, not just another poem that you will have to swallow like a spoonful of mushy peas. If, when I die, they will say, 'He was a good poet, and he tried to share is experiences along the path with other poets, ' then I will be satisfied. I am a firm believer that the better we get at something the more we will experience the joy associated with the process or activity. Even the 'dabblers, ' who would probably be offened to be classified as such by you, might enjoy their writing experience more if they have standards. In an 'anything goes, ' 'everything is in they eye of the beholder, ' atmosphere, there is little motivation for improvement. Herbert, there is no art form that does not have minimum standards. That's simply not the way it is. I challenge you to look through my postings for any 'harsh criticism.' I am a teacher, and I only offer suggestions for improvement or praise; and having said that, I know that you all have something to teach me that you have learned along your poetic paths.

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    • Rookie Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/16/2005 7:48:00 AM) Post reply

      Thanks John, for taking the time to answer at length. However, I do not agree with you on most points. I am a dabbler. I dabble in skydiving, marathon running, off-road racing and poetry etc etc. I ... more

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  • Rookie - 110 Points Ernestine Northover (10/16/2005 5:29:00 AM) Post reply

    I do not count myself as a 'high calibre' writer of poems, I write because I enjoy composing, although, I am sure, it is not in the 'elitist band' I try to give people pleasure in reading poetry, albeit on the simple level. Reading the comments on poetry, I feel that whatever form a poem takes, it, I believe has to make sense to the reader, be a pleasure to read, either in an emotional way or in a humourous way. Some people may think a poem cleverly written, others think against this. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so to speak. I tend to keep mine simple, but with a story or fun theme which possibly lifts the heart. Whether rhyming or non-rhyming as long as it's understandable, we should enjoy writing them and not get too belligerant about it. Lets all be writers writing what we feel in our own way. OK, of course we are all striving to write 'the best poem ever' but, when the joy of writing goes then it becomes a stressful thing and you no longer achieve anything. There will always be someone on your wavelength. If people don't connect with my poems, thats alright with me. I'm not saying people can't discuss and comment, I have been given some very constructive comments, and have rsponded to them, and they have raised my poems to read much better, but I am not into pulling other peoples work to pieces. We all have different ways of writing and all I can say is that you are all really great, and deserve praise on all your individual styles. Variety is the spice of life, it would be a very dull world otherwise. Sincerely Ernestine Northover

  • Rookie Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/16/2005 5:17:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    John Kay: 'Many of the poems posted on this website are poor imitations of the Van Dyke poem-too many. If making it new and fresh is not our responsibility...'.
    John, exactly what did you think this website is? A site for accomplished poets or a site for all to enjoy and dabble in poetry?
    As much as I gripe about poemhunter.com I must say without reservation of any kind that it is a veritable paradise for many.
    To be able to enjoy visiting here is something to be treasured and to be thankful for.
    Applying some arbitrary standards to the poems posted here and handing out harsh critique is missing the point and, to put put it bluntly, rather childish.

    No one denies that there are standards in poetry as there are in all of life's endeavours but it's a bit rich to play critic in such a misguided manner.

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    • Rookie Poetry Hound (10/16/2005 6:09:00 AM) Post reply

      Uh oh. Does this mean you're not going to be handing out harsh critiques anymore? I think I'll miss that.

  • Rookie John Kay (10/16/2005 4:30:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Again, I'm with Jefferson on this topic. You wouldn't know that we studied at the same school with many of the same teachers, fine poets in their own right, at the same time, about thirty years ago. For me, as a serious poet, it is my responsibility to make every poem I write NEW, unlike anyone any other poem written, and that is a tall order. It should bring forth something from the language that is rich and mysterious, maybe something spell-binding that has never been seen or heard before in quite the same way. It should be uncluttered without cliches and worn-out poetic strategies. For that I am responsible. Many of the poems posted on this website are poor imitations of the Van Dyke poem-too many. If making it new and fresh is not our responsibility to the language, then what is our responsibility? We can argue intellectually all day about taste and the democracy of opinions, but what we do when we begin to shape a poem is another matter. We can write a Van Dyke like poem-god forbid-or we can make something new. When you leave one of my poems, I would hope that you are thinking, if nothing else, I have never read anything like that before and it sprang from a place of honest feeling, not sentimentality. I ask you, really, what do you think Frost would think of the Van Dyke poem? I have not doubt.

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    • Rookie Poetry Hound (10/16/2005 6:05:00 AM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

      With this clarity of mind, it's no wonder you are one of the best poets on this site, John. It's not a question of there being standards; it's a question of whether a poem is NEW. I like that you alw ... more

  • Rookie - 780 Points Jerry Hughes (10/16/2005 3:50:00 AM) Post reply


  • Rookie - 7 Points Max Reif (10/15/2005 10:10:00 PM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

    We had all this nicely resolved about 8 hours ago, as a matter of taste.
    I don't want to die for this poem, but there are many celebrated poets from whom I get NOTHING, and I did get something from this one. I've actually *read* Fussell's 'Poetic Form and Poetic Meter', and I've read a fair amount, I don't know if any amount of reading would make me the same as anyone else.

    I'm getting tired of the discussion. I guess I'm trying to have the last word. Rather doubtful that this will be it.

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    • Rookie - 7 Points Poetry Hound (10/15/2005 10:20:00 PM) Post reply

      Of COURSE it's a matter of taste. But that's not all it is. It's also a matter of recognizing what's been done a million times before. If you nevertheless like something that is derivative or cliche, ... more

    • Rookie - 7 Points Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/15/2005 10:16:00 PM) Post reply

      No Max, you will NOT have the last word, lest we call you mad Max. But you are exactly right (sometimes I sense the voice of reason in you) it does come down to taste. You may drive a Chevy Caprice a ... more

    • Rookie - 7 Points Poetry Hound (10/15/2005 10:15:00 PM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

      Well, sorry for not having been around 8 hours ago, Max. But I find the discussion interesting. Why do you want it to end?

  • Rookie Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/15/2005 8:02:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    I just posted a Van Dyke like poem 'Only For You'. So, go ahead and attack it for its audacity to not go straight to the Rice Krispies Box.
    Best H

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  • Rookie - 7 Points Max Reif (10/15/2005 8:00:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Looks like we're choosin' up teams for a football game!
    And football's a muddy sport!
    Would it be less of an Infinite divide if we used words slightly less charged than 'hideous'? Or shall we petition Collette to have TWO Forums?
    Or perhaps a moratorium?
    On WHAT, I don't know, I just love to say 'moratorium'!

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    • Rookie - 7 Points Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/15/2005 8:03:00 PM) Post reply

      Right you are (again) Max.I think your students are getting a less than hideous start in life.Moratorium is better than poetry crematorium as well. Best H

  • Rookie Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/15/2005 7:08:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    I just read the poem by van Dyke and find it heartwarming, filled with a musical beauty that needed expressing and was done well, I am sure there are better poems on the subject but there is nothing at all wrong with this one.
    Must have rather simple tastes.
    Today it seems fashionable to discard everything that's old, declaring it obsolete, worn out, over-the-hill, useless. What doesn't make too much sense though is the oft-encountered situation that the critics are usually unable to match the quality of the ones they are so eager to discard.
    This poem was written with feeling and what it conveys to the reader justifies not cement boots in the Hudson River but a place among the Forget-Me-Nots.

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  • Rookie Michael Shepherd (10/15/2005 6:57:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Several of you here are teachers of poetry or literature.
    A 15-year-old says he likes a certain poem.
    Do you ask him 'What exactly do you like about this poem? '...?
    No - it's 'You're not reading THAT poem in MY house, son...'
    I pity your own children if that's the way you behave at home.
    Or in class.

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    • Rookie Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/15/2005 7:38:00 PM) Post reply

      Michael I do appreciate the combative streak in you, especially when you are right. I also think that some of the dismissive attitude displayed by various people in all walks of life stems from a dee ... more

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