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Poetics and Poetry Discussion

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  • Michael Shepherd (6/10/2005 6:12:00 AM) Post reply

    Whoops! Misquote: 'mesmerising'.

  • Michael Shepherd (6/10/2005 6:06:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    This offering is made in the spirit of 21st century universal world poetry and in what I hope is our understanding that there is a place both for poems and their discussion:

    I've been looking at Nikhil's 'Kiss' poem and trying to work out why it doesn't work for me.

    The adage which I have attempted to follow in all my own writing, prosaic and poetic, for many years, and for which I cannot express my gratitude too strongly, comes indirectly from the Hindu teachings and above all from Adi Shankara, that great philosopher who has shaped India's thinking since 800 AD/CE and who was also a poet: 'Words mean what they do'. In Hindu terms, every word has a direct relationship and a revelation of the essential unity of Creation. This I would imagine is also Nikhil's view.

    There is a celebrated practical demonstration of this today in police advice: it is more effective, we are told, if you spot a burglar running from your house, to shout 'Fire' rather than 'Stop Thief': it gets people out of their houses to help you more effectively!

    Poetry works by evocation in the reader - the words mean what they 'do' to you. And we all have our individual responses. Nikhil's essential idea in this poem is a sweet and universal one: to remind us that we all hope that our first kiss, and later our first copulation, will bring down heaven and earth; be universal; be the greatest thing that ever happened to us; make sense of our life; etc. Even a flash of 'heat lightning' over the hills would not be inappropriate as a heavenly acknowledgement! And Nikhil ranges through the wealth of Creation to evoke this. Great idea.

    However, for me, Nikhil's use of English grammar - which is universal, as Sanskrit grammar is, and some say, more universally within its own language - works against his intention. Poetry evokes in the maximum number of readers by the openness of its evocation. As soon as one loads a noun or a verb with a 'qualifying' adjective or adverb, their generality is more often diminished than expanded. And when an adjective is 'qualified' by an adverb, the evocation becomes personalised to the poet in a way that can squeeze out the reader. Most English teachers would warn their students right off this usage.

    Take the two lines Andrew finds interesting:

    'timelessly stupefying serendipity of the euphoric meadows';
    'intriguingly inscrutable storm of mesmerisingly artistry';

    if words indeed 'mean what they do', the reader is being asked, in the first line, to experience in mind and heart, five diverse responses in order to follow the poem's extended metaphor - 'I wished it to be an earth-shattering, heavenly experience'; and in the second, to consider the artistry of the Creator in four diverse mental responses in relation to this hopefully universal event. Magnifying of the idea of the poem is constantly defeated by personal minifying - or in Hindu terminology, *aham* is constantly being overlaid by *ahamkara*. For Western ears, this is called 'overwriting'.

    Comparisons can be odious; but compare, for evocation, Aamish Ameya's poem 'Intercourse'. In Nikhil's poem, the reader does one sort of evocative work; in Aamish's poem, another. Some may like one; some the other.

    This is my analysis of my response to Nikhil's poem, in, I hope, the spirit of this Forum. I apologise if it seems pompous, pretentious, or negative.

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    • Andrew Konisberg (6/10/2005 6:37:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      yes, I agree with what your saying, Michael. I liked those particular two lines BECAUSE (I'm not shouting, I'd indent the word 'because' if I could!) they were pompous...I don't mind the odd overwrit ... more

  • Poetry Hound (6/6/2005 2:21:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    I've noticed that there are some poetry sites that require you to provide comments on other people's poems if you want to post your own. I'm not sure such a requirement is warranted here (since a lot of the comments would be perfunctory) but it sure would cut down on these mass postings of poems.

    Replies for this message:
    • Sue Casey (6/6/2005 3:52:00 PM) Post reply

      I am not sure that it would. The one you finally made comment on seems to be posting a lifetimes work on the board. I had this fear that first it was painstakingly translated into a new language...on ... more

  • Aidan Ross (6/5/2005 7:38:00 AM) Post reply

    Chris, I would like to submit my poem 'Why' to your competition, also I think you would probably like 'Global Psychosis' and maybe 'Birth of Despair'

  • Aidan Ross (6/5/2005 6:39:00 AM) Post reply

    It looks like 'Beauty Imposes' is about the wonders we percive of Beauty and also its true irrevalance.

    BTW I am not a proffesionall poet I am just a teenager who wrote a few poems, during one particularly unusual February

  • Aidan Ross (6/5/2005 6:35:00 AM) Post reply

    Sorry to bother you all but I would just like to say that I am thankful for the responses to my poems on this site and that I am still awaiting comments on 'Guilt' and 'I am what I am, What am I'

  • Venessa Callia (6/5/2005 6:13:00 AM) Post reply

    I need to know if anyone has read the poem called 'Beauty imposes' by John Shaw Neilson and if you can give me your interpretation of the poem.

  • Venessa Callia (6/5/2005 6:01:00 AM) Post reply

    who knows John Shaw Neilson? He is an Australian poet.

  • Allan James Saywell (6/4/2005 10:32:00 PM) Post reply

    sorry mister snow just my black sense of humour, maybe a rush of blood
    as you say i have no quarrel with you, i am humble in my sorrow

  • Poetry Hound (6/4/2005 1:44:00 PM) Post reply

    Wow, thanks Andrew. I think I maybe kinda sorta get it.

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