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Poetics and Poetry Discussion

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  • Max Reif (8/9/2005 9:38:00 PM) Post reply Stage

    Hmmmm, the subject of spirituality and poetry appears to be an extremely charged one.

    I'm not sure it can be harmoniously discussed. Perhaps it's best if in this area, we let our poems speak for themselves.

    I wrote a line once, 'Let not our talk of Unity come between us.' This 'issue' isn't *precisely* reflected in that line because the talk isn't necessarily even of unity. But here too, there's a very, very thin razor's edge as each person brings his/her own experience and definitions to this discussion, with a vast range of said experience and definitions.

  • Michael Shepherd (8/9/2005 8:28:00 AM) Post reply | Read 4 replies Stage

    Using a message of gratitude and apology to Collette in order to stir the embers of hatred once again is not a good idea. If you guys hate each others' guts, or tongues, so much, who cares? Just keep it to private messaging, OK? Airing your personal rather than poetic disagreements in public is not the point of this Forum? And no rot about their overlapping, OK?

    Replies for this message:
    • Poetry Hound (8/10/2005 12:16:00 AM) Post reply Stage

      Yes Michael, I'm pretending to be above the fray. Any words of admonition couldn't possibly refer to me.

    • Herbert Nehrlich1 (8/9/2005 9:27:00 PM) Post reply Stage

      Yes, the intricacies of the English language. Not for everybody... The old expression 'point well taken' is lost on some which is too bad because they miss out on those good comments. You are perfec ... more

    • Poetry Hound (8/9/2005 7:38:00 PM) Post reply Stage

      Yes, that's telling THEM, Michael. See, by saying that, I can pretend you weren't directing your comment at me. Regards.

    • Herbert Nehrlich1 (8/9/2005 5:02:00 PM) Post reply Stage

      That's telling THEM, Michael. Good on yo ... more

  • Poetry Snob (aka Jefferson Carter) (8/8/2005 10:48:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies Stage

    Max, what is sacred poetry? Isnt all of it sacred? P-Snob

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    • Herbert Nehrlich1 (8/9/2005 5:30:00 AM) Post reply Stage

      No, not all. H

    • Max Reif (8/8/2005 11:52:00 PM) Post reply Stage

      That's just the question I asked on their discussion board. Here is part of what I posted there: The difference between 'sacred poetry' and 'secular poetry'-if there really is one-is one of my ma ... more

  • Rev. Dr. A. Jacob Hassler (8/8/2005 1:22:00 PM) Post reply | Read 4 replies Stage

    PH comrades, here's something that has perplexed me for quite some time:

    why is there such a negative stigma in this industry attached to 'self-publication'? i would think it better not to let anybody do what you can do yourself.

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    • Richard George (8/8/2005 3:24:00 PM) Post reply Stage

      Why indeed stigma if you've been published in reputable poetry journals? They're difficult enough to get into (in the U.K. at least) . And when poetry presses like Faber and Seren only take one deb ... more

    • Michael Shepherd (8/8/2005 2:43:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply Stage

      Damn, I just posted a long reply and lost it... There are shades of self-publishing in all the arts. Theatres can be hired; shares in a theatre or film production sold; art galleries can be hired. ... more

    • Mary Nagy (8/8/2005 2:23:00 PM) Post reply Stage

      Jake, I have no plans of trying to get any of my poems published by a 'real' publisher. On the other hand, one day I do think it would be nice to self-publish all my poems so my kids and grandkids ... more

    • Poetry Snob (aka Jefferson Carter) (8/8/2005 1:32:00 PM) Post reply Stage

      Jake, its called vanity press. No one e ... more

  • Max Reif (8/8/2005 9:01:00 AM) Post reply Stage

    As far as the 'music' of a poem, research shows that people have different ways of taking things in, doesn't it? I forget the name of that book, but some people are 'auditory', others visual, etc.

    I have difficulty listening to a poem's music as a first approach. Yesterday I went to my poetry group, where I often struggle to catch the metaphors and make sense of poems read aloud. A lot of times, hearing them a 2nd time helps enormously.

    But I'm often a terribly insecure listener. I want to have 'heard' something, by the time the person's finished reciting. There's no way to get it back! I'm often left with a jumble of unassembled metaphors, like a piece of IKEA furniture.

    Then there are homonyms (sp?) , words that sound alike and are spelled differently. Often a poem for me is a road that forks ambiguously many times at each word. If I feel I've heard something coherent when the reading's over, I feel thrilled, as much for that as for whatever beauty the poem itself conveys.

    Other people at the group don't seem to have that problem, or at least they don't say so. Of course, there's often a shame factor here.

    Sometimes I feel I'm like a neandethal man trying to learn poetry, the grossest, most challenged listener who's ever lived!

  • Allan James Saywell (8/7/2005 8:40:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply Stage

    line breaks dont you make them playing' grid iron'

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  • Michael Shepherd (8/7/2005 4:10:00 PM) Post reply Stage

    Thanks but no thanks, PS. I did my number, extensively, on Nikhil on this Forum on June 10 (around page 55 now) and he didn't reply. I stand by what I said then. I don't think I could judge its 'music' as it's not written in English...but you might enjoy his heated feud with a fellow Indian poet in Nikhil's comments box... it's evident that the traditional Hindu talent for enumeration and definition, its unconstrained speaking from the heart, and its fulsome adulation ('fulsomely encyclopaedic gallimaufry of egregiously efflorescent verbosity' should I say) for the resources of the English dictionary, are, all unaware to Nikhil, to be found misused in his convolutions. Less is more, as I mentioned to him...since conversely, more is less...

  • Michael Shepherd (8/6/2005 11:32:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply Stage

    I'd say, a propos Levertov, that if you only read poetry by eye (does anyone?) you might miss that subtle line-end-break; if you read it to yourself it's more apparent. It's a mind-break.
    But on the other hand, it's not just a sound-break; it's still an eye-break when it's on the printed page or the screen here. Either way can get you there. But it's still best demonstrated when a poet reads their work - unless they're adopting the fashionable dead-pan objective delivery. (Objective's for the printed page only?)
    I think that the point I stop fiddling with a line is when the internal rhythms and breaks of rhythm match the line-break and vice versa. Then it's a mind-bite.

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    • Michael Shepherd (8/6/2005 11:44:00 AM) Post reply Stage

      Sorry - further thoughts: the line-break is free verse's reflection, development, whatever, of the Shakespearian actor's requirement - the delivery of closed lines mixed with enjambed lines, which how ... more

  • Max Reif (8/6/2005 8:08:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply Stage

    Thanks for those other essay tips, Michael. It seems to me that most (all?) poets would benefit vastly from reading the thoughts (prose) of other poets ABOUT poetry. BOTH sides of the brain need to be fed. Who knows what unconscious fermentation of new ideas goes on inside the poet's brain. (If the place smells like a STILL even if the guy's a teetotaler, that's creative juice flowing!)

    Levertov is saying that the written text of a poem is a *score*, as much as sheet music is a score, and that line-breaks are slight pauses, convey emphasis, etc, so a poet ought to use them consciously.

    I have to say I may not have clarity about the prosody of 'free verse' (out of discipline comes freedom, I once heard Carlos Santana tell a vast throng of acolytes filling a courtyard in the Mission District of SF) . Studying Dylan Thomas' wonderful poem, 'Fern Hill' in college, after reading Paul Fussell's POETIC FORM AND POETIC METER, I titled my paper, 'The Mad Syllable-Counter Attacks Fern Hill.' Thomas was famous for being very conscientious about his rhythm.

    My impression has been that free verse DOES have meter. Often, not always, I try to give a *regular* meter to my free verse poems...the same number of syllables every line. One gets into a flow, and they just start coming like that.

    The other assumption I've had has been 'lines should be more or less a similar length', and I've let this perception determine my line breaks a lot. I sort of figured 'a poet *owns* his or her poem, and can read it any way he wants. Levertov is saying there's an *objective*, music-like score there, and the more objective a poet is, the better the poem communicates, can be read by others, etc. Here's her last sentence: 'Only if writers agree about the nature
    and function of this tool (Max's note: the line break as part of a score) can readers fully cooperate, so that the poem shall have the fullest degree of autonomous life.'

    We do all want the poem to have the fullest degree of autonomous life, I think. Our poems are to be born from us like Athena from the head of Zeus, and go on to have their own life. No neurotic, clingy, parents, we! A WRITER, as opposed to, say, a psychologist's client, is 'objective' in the sense of communicating so fully that his/her experience BECOMES the reader's too. This is the only caveat to Michael Phillips' dictum the other day about 'writing only for yourself', I feel.

    Anyway, here's a link to some more essays. This is just one page, there are likely lots of others on the net: http: //

    This is a real Forum, eh!

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  • Michael Shepherd (8/6/2005 7:21:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply Stage

    Max, PS, Sherrie, thanks for the recommendations. I've just read Denise Levertov's lengthy poem-essay on the poetic line in free verse, which is magnificently clear and which my intuition instantly gnosed. She says some memorable things.

    Marjorie Perloff (Googleable) has an extensive survey of the theory and practice.

    I can't find any excerpt from Hartman; I guess it's Amazon and £/$ 10 plus...

    Eliot's Glasgow lecture on The Music of Poetry ought to be interesting since he was the distinguished exponent of Laforgue's and Pound's principles of free verse; but it's not in the first Selected Essays.

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    • Max Reif (8/7/2005 10:13:00 AM) Post reply Stage

      I can't find that on online. It's in a collection, 'On Poetry and Poets', published in 1957. 'The Sacred Wood', on the other hand, is almost all online at: http: // Eliot was ... more

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