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Poetics and Poetry Discussion


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  • Jefferson Carter Rookie - 1st Stage (9/6/2014 4:56:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Here's Lamont, the rigid, deaf and dumb: " I'll never buy the idea that, if you break up 'The Great Gatsby' into lines, you suddenly have a poem and/or verse. Patently ridiculous. If no more than that goes into poetry, then there really is no such thing as poetry. Certainly there would be no need to teach it. Do you really have to 'teach' someone to reformat their emails and essays, so they're left margin justified and not all the way across the page?-LP"

    LAMONT, YOU DRIVE ME NUTZ! ! After all my careful unraveling of the terms " poetry, " " prose, " and " verse, " this is your bluntly numb-nutted reaction? You're like the wall one beats his head against, the mule too stubborn to change its habits.! If you break " GG" into lines, yes, you'll have a VERY LONG verse piece. It will probably rise to the level of poetic verse in many places while the unavoidable slackness in diction meant simply to inform or further the prose novel's action will drag the " new" work into swamps of prosaic verse.

    In what does poetry inhere? No one has been able (or will be able) to articulate that yet. What is poetry? No one has come up with a definition that even approaches the widely accepted. In a sense, then, there is no such thing as poetry, at least nothing poets have ever been able to agree on; there is such a thing as verse. There's also such a thing as good verse and bad verse. That's what we teach in classes, the difference between the two. " Patently ridiculous" as it seems, learning where to break a line takes knowledge, sensitivity, and a good ear. Done well, the line break can make a free verse piece.

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    • Lamont Palmer Rookie - 1st Stage (9/6/2014 7:47:00 PM) Post reply

      JC, you rather remind me of an insane person in a mental hospital trying to convince someone that a table is a chair. Listen carefully: if you break The Great Gatsby up into lines, all you'll have is, ... more

  • Lamont Palmer Rookie - 1st Stage (9/6/2014 3:22:00 PM) Post reply

    I'll never buy the idea that, if you break up 'The Great Gatsby' into lines, you suddenly have a poem and/or verse. Patently ridiculous. If no more than that goes into poetry, then there really is no such thing as poetry. Certainly there would be no need to teach it. Do you really have to 'teach' someone to reformat their emails and essays, so they're left margin justified and not all the way across the page?-LP

  • Mohammad Skati Bronze Star - 4th Stage (9/6/2014 3:08:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    I do remember when I was a college student at that time, the instructor or the professor used to let us read a certain poem loudly, to paraphrase that poem, to do the rhyme and the rhythm, ....., ....., It was a great thing for more than two persons to study a certain poem until they have it from all of its sides... That is from previous experiences about studying poetry.

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  • metamorphhh (aka jim crawford) Rookie - 1st Stage (9/6/2014 1:54:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Thanks to both Jefferson and Lamont for some very insightful discussion. Always appreciated. And now, before I say adieu I'll leave you with a naughty little rhymer which, hopefully, will fly below the radar of the almighty censors in the sky:

    Enigma Under Construction

    I own a stone of flesh and bone.
    I touch it when I'm all alone,
    and in its eelish eye descry
    the reason that we live, and die.

    But as the vision nears its peak,
    the oracle begins to leak!
    Then spews forth, with decreasing shouts,
    truths I no longer care about.

    ttfn

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  • Lamont Palmer Rookie - 1st Stage (9/6/2014 8:16:00 AM) Post reply

    This deserves be a primary post, not just a reply. -LP



    metamorphhh (aka jim crawford) (9/6/2014 8: 02: 00 AM) Post reply Stage
    Hi, Lamont. I guess what I'm saying is that for verse to be considered poetical, even in a very broad sense, it requires SOMETHING to set it apart from mere broken up sentences wrapped around in a descending spiral. Maybe it's a case of possessing one or more poetic 'ingredients'- alliteration, allusion, metaphor, rhyme, rhythm, content...SOMETHING that sets it apart from the mere reformatting of a paragraph or two. More than just calling it 'verse', anyway. Otherwise we're left with-

    Hi, Lamont. I guess what
    I'm saying is that for
    verse to be considered
    poetical, even in a
    broad sense, it requires
    SOMETHING to...blah blah blah.

    Btw, I'm not saying that the pigeon poem doesn't fit in there somewhere. It's just poorly done, IMO. Certainly not worthy of praise...again, IMO. But the Brautigan poem, and the WCW plum post-it note?Nah! It's the emperor's clothing.

  • Jefferson Carter Rookie - 1st Stage (9/5/2014 8:42:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Jim sez, " Btw, I've come to the conclusion that much of 'poetry' is in the eye of the beholder, existing at the interface of what the piece offers and what we're able or willing to receive. All art is that way, I believe. We can establish 'objective' indicators, of course, but such objectivity is so wrapped up in fashion and other cultural imperatives that it really doesn't mean much. At least they're way more proximal than categorical, imo.: " You know my J-scale: 1 is abysmal,10 is immortal,5 is competent. Folks educated in literature will never mistake a 1 for a 10. T hey might disagree about the difference between a 4 and a 6 or an 8 and a 10; that's where the subjectivity comes in. BUT between 1 and 10, never, or possibly never between 2 and 9. If I didn't believe this, I never could have graded or even taught my poetry writing students.

    Jim also sez, " Hi, Jefferson and Lamont. I looked up the term ‘prosaic’ in the online Oxford dictionary, and the first definition is ‘having the style or diction of prose; lacking poetic beauty’. Of course the phrase ‘poetic beauty’ is in itself a VERY slippery demarcation..." I've said it over and over and over until the poor dead horse is pulp: the term " poetry" is useless and confusing in any intelligent discussion. Verse is the better term, which means writing organized by line and stanza. The opposite of verse is prose, which means writing organized by paragraph. The terms " prosaic" (notice how circular and stupid that first definition above is) and " poetic" are evaluative, not categorical. We get poetry and poetic mixed up and that's a problem. There can be poetic prose (prose poem?experimental novel?) , prosaic prose (office memo) , poetic verse (Yeats, all the great poets) , and prosaic verse (the winning poem from " Mas Tequila Review." There. Feel better?

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    • metamorphhh (aka jim crawford) Rookie - 1st Stage (9/5/2014 10:22:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      As far as your ratings argument, I'm of two minds. On the one hand, I try to make objective assessments along the lines of your numerical scale. However, there are MANY times I find myself at the far ... more

  • metamorphhh (aka jim crawford) Rookie - 1st Stage (9/5/2014 7:47:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Been thinking, anybody else here enjoy writing in a different form than what they enjoy reading?For instance, one of my favorite poets is Ted Hughes, but I far prefer writing in rhyme and meter. Just something about the challenge; it's like putting a puzzle together. Any thoughts?

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    • Professor Plum Rookie - 1st Stage (9/5/2014 8:28:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

      Jim, I've always said on here (and no one seems to care) that it's not the style, it's the person writing the poem. A good writer can do it in any style. A superb writer can write. The form is only t ... more

  • metamorphhh (aka jim crawford) Rookie - 1st Stage (9/5/2014 6:47:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Request: I'd like to see Lamont and Jefferson pick a half dozen or so pieces with a variety of styles, dismantle them and tell us why or why not they are worthy poems. Would be enlightening.

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    • Jefferson Carter Rookie - 1st Stage (9/5/2014 8:25:00 PM) Post reply

      Jim, I'd like this too, but maybe Lamont could take some lines from some of my more " prosaic" poems and analyze their prosaic elements, and I could take a few lines from his sort of iambic ... more

  • metamorphhh (aka jim crawford) Rookie - 1st Stage (9/5/2014 6:18:00 PM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

    This one's for Jefferson. Jefferson, in your opinion is all more 'traditional' poetry ipso facto inferior in comparison to good contemporary stuff?Does free or open verse trump all?

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    • Professor Plum Rookie - 1st Stage (9/6/2014 9:11:00 PM) Post reply

      The reference to " Treasure of the Sierra Madre" just moved you up on my list. Humor helps your argument. Nice one.

    • Jefferson Carter Rookie - 1st Stage (9/5/2014 8:22:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Jim, I don't need no stinkin' ipso facto! i mean, no, I adore great formal poetry. It's just so hard to do well without sounding stiff, mummified, stale, reactionary or all four. I love Richard Wi ... more

    • metamorphhh (aka jim crawford) Rookie - 1st Stage (9/5/2014 6:34:00 PM) Post reply

      Oh, and what about rhyming vs. non-rhyming. LOL! Just kidding!

  • metamorphhh (aka jim crawford) Rookie - 1st Stage (9/5/2014 6:10:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    This one's for Lamont. Lamont, do you reject out of hand all pieces of writing that don't adhere to some kind of 'form' (form being defined according to your own proclivities, whatever they might be) , as not being 'poetry'?I was just going over some of my old stuff posted here, and found lots and lots of pieces that probably don't line up with your poetic sensibilities. Example:

    Binge, then Purge


    Up one aisle, and down the other, auditioning
    each product with a lickpenny’s economy.
    It doesn’t grow on trees, you know! Or so
    they tell me. I’ve a hankering for dialectic,
    though I always avoid the regional colloquies
    (they give me gas) . That reminds me- I really
    should head over to the frozen causeries
    section and pick up some tete-a-tetes before
    my coupons expire. On the way, I pass the
    day-old fabler’s rack; thoroughly gone over,
    I lament. All’s left are a few old loaves of
    fusty reminiscences, already sporting muzzy
    little pulpits of mawkish anecdotes. I turn
    up the volume on my inner dialogue, squirt
    around the always tempting confabulation
    display case with my lapper in my ears
    (we are what we attend; or, so they tell me) ,
    and suddenly find myself nose-to-nose with
    the samples lady, hawking no less that FIVE
    tribes of calumny, along with a medley of
    dainty finger-points marinated in their own pulp!
    Needless to say, I’ve been here all afternoon.

    Never go shopping when you’re hungry.

    As you can see, this piece is broken up rather arbitrarily. Is it a poem?If not, what would you call it?And don't worry, you won't hurt my feelings. :)

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    • Lamont Palmer Rookie - 1st Stage (9/6/2014 9:15:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Jim, this has your usual cleverness. I'd call it a monologue, or a first person narrative, which characterizes much of contemporary poetry today. The syntax is standard and pretty straightforward, and ... more

    • Jefferson Carter Rookie - 1st Stage (9/5/2014 8:27:00 PM) Post reply

      It's all POETRY (VERSE) but maybe not " poetic." Just ask Lamont.

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