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Writing Poetry
Posted by: fridge (---.ukc.ac.uk)
Date: October 29, 2003 09:19AM

Here is Les Murray:

Writing Poetry

It's wonderful, there's nothing else like it, you write in a trance. And the trance is completely addictive, you love it, you want more of it. Once you've written the poem and had the trance, polished it and so on, you can go back to the poem and have a trace of that trance, have the shadow of it, but you can't have it fully again. It seemed to be a knack I discovered as I went along. It's an integration of the body-mind and the dreaming-mind and the daylight-conscious-mind. All three are firing at once, they're all in concert. You can be sitting there but inwardly dancing, and the breath and the weight and everything else are involved, you're fully alive. It takes a while to get into it. You have to have some key, like say a phrase or a few phrases or a subject matter or maybe even a tune to get you started going towards it, and it starts to accumulate. Sometimes it starts without your knowing that you're getting there, and it builds in your mind like a pressure. I once described it as being like a painless headache, and you know there's a poem in there, but you have to wait until the words form.

Does anyone have similar quotes from other poets?


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.phoenix-01rh15rt-az.dial-access.att.net)
Date: October 29, 2003 11:36AM

From The Squanicook Ecologues

More than novelty crooked its finger - silent, austere,
Deeper than trees beating their winds or the purblind stare
Of a black snake circumscribing a sapling's wrist.
Father carefully penciled facts, describing rust,
Habitat, genus, disease, but his meticulous chart
Of change didn't teach me to name the woods' mysterious heart.
'Father, I'm frightened. Why are things so beautiful and sad?'
My voice had dusted moss, like snow, without a sound.
Stern and tall, he cupped his chin. As if in pain
He paused, then reached into his pocket for a pen.
"Don't ever make things up. Write only what you see.
Name the woods and you'll have named the world," he said.
He tore some pages off and handed me his pad.
I heard the current crimp, mimetic on the pond,
And larch or beech or birds murmuring over me. The task
Was how to write 'birch' when I saw the crumbling, pale tusk
Of a fallen mastodon bridging the path, or 'ash', when the air
Was frenzied with the head of a neighbor's rain-black mare.
Sycamore waved at me like drowned Ophelia's hair.
-- Nekussa Greeb


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.phoenix-01rh15rt-az.dial-access.att.net)
Date: October 29, 2003 11:38AM


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: -Les- (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: October 29, 2003 12:16PM

These quotes are not so long, but many of them are very revealing:


[www.gardendigest.com] />


Les


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: Talia (216.117.98.---)
Date: October 29, 2003 02:28PM

Thanks for that link, Les....these were my favorites.

Poetry is the deification of reality.
- Edith Sitwell

Perhaps no person can be a poet, or can even enjoy poetry,
without a certain unsoundness of mind.
- Thomas Babington Macaulay


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: appgrrl (---.student.appstate.edu)
Date: October 29, 2003 02:30PM

Dorothy Parker - For a Lady Who Must Write Verse

Unto seventy years and seven,
Hide your double birthright well-
You, that are the brat of Heaven
And the pampered heir to Hell.

Let your rhymes be tinsel treasures,
Strung and seen and thrown aside.
Drill your apt and docile measures
Sternly as you drill your pride.

Show your quick, alarming skill in
Tidy mockeries of art;
Never, never dip your quill in
Ink that rushes from your heart.

When your pain must come to paper,
See it dust, before the day;
Let your night-light curl and caper,
Let it lick the words away.

Never print, poor child, a lay on
Love and tears and anguishing,
Lest a cooled, benignant Phaon
Murmur, "Silly little thing!"


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: -Les- (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: October 29, 2003 02:37PM

Talia, this one by Dirac always makes me think.

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be
understood by everyone, something that no one ever
knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.
- Paul Dirac



Les


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.phoenix-01rh15rt-az.dial-access.att.net)
Date: October 29, 2003 03:05PM


Never print, poor child, a lay on
Love and tears and anguishing,
Lest a cooled, benignant Phaon
Murmur, "Silly little thing!"


Sappho?

[etext.lib.virginia.edu]


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: appgrrl (---.student.appstate.edu)
Date: October 29, 2003 03:33PM

Possibly, since Sappho was featured in some of her other poems. It could be that she meant any man and was using Phaon as an example, since she's done that before, as well, but with different characters.


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: Talia (216.117.98.---)
Date: October 29, 2003 03:36PM

Hey Les...love that quote...that is why I am no good at science?


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: marian2 (---.in-addr.btopenworld.com)
Date: October 30, 2003 04:00AM

Hang on , Dirac - the EXACT opposite - telling people in such a way as to be understood by no-one what everyone knew before. That's an offensive way to describe poetry!!


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: marian2 (---.in-addr.btopenworld.com)
Date: October 30, 2003 04:23AM

I looked up Phaon and found a different one. He was a freed man who offered the defeated Nero the shelter of his villa and, presumably, in Parker's interpretation, looked on coolly while Nero killed himself. Don't know the Sappo/ Phaon reference - perhaps someone could explain (?) but think the Nero one might be more likely.


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: Talia (216.117.98.---)
Date: October 30, 2003 10:23AM

Well, I sort of thought of that as meaning what everyone can "relate" to.


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.phoenix-01rh15rt-az.dial-access.att.net)
Date: October 30, 2003 11:54AM

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be
understood by everyone, something that no one ever
knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.
- Paul Dirac

Hang on , Dirac ...
That's an offensive way to describe poetry!!

There's that chiasmus/antimetabole thingy again.


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: Talia (216.117.98.---)
Date: October 31, 2003 09:54AM

"If Poetry comes not as naturally as the Leaves to a tree it had better not come at all." John Keats

And today is his birthday.


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: appgrrl (---.student.appstate.edu)
Date: October 31, 2003 02:19PM

"Only poetry inspires poetry." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat." ~Robert Frost

"A poem...begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness....It finds the thought and the thought finds the words." ~Robert Frost


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: -Les- (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: October 31, 2003 02:49PM

Marian 2,

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be
understood by everyone, something that no one ever
knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.
- Paul Dirac

I interpret the opposite as this:

Telling something that everyone knew in a way that none had understood before.


Les


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: marian2 (---.in-addr.btopenworld.com)
Date: November 01, 2003 04:58AM

"There's that chiasmus/antimetabole thingy again." And I still don't understand what you are getting at - the vocabulary just locks out the meaning. Can I have a moronically simple definition, please - my IQ has hit rock bottom this week.


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-01rh16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: November 01, 2003 11:42AM


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: marian2 (---.in-addr.btopenworld.com)
Date: November 02, 2003 07:27AM

Thanks, Hugh - that expalins everything.


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-05rh15rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: November 02, 2003 12:22PM


Yahbut all the stuff they claim to be chiasmus is actually antimetabole, nicht wahr?

[www.chiasmus.com] />
Check out the definitions on the rhetoric pages here:

[humanities.byu.edu] />
Oh, well antimetabole is unpronounceable anyway!


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: Linda (---.cache.pol.co.uk)
Date: November 02, 2003 12:31PM

Not so much unprounceable, more a pseodoscientific diet.


Re: Writing Poetry
Posted by: IanB (---.tnt11.mel1.da.uu.net)
Date: November 03, 2003 09:17AM


Here's some advice from an old master:

A Familiar Letter
by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Yes, write, if you want to, there's nothing like trying;
Who knows what a treasure your casket may hold?
I'll show you that rhyming's as easy as lying,
If you'll listen to me while the art I unfold.

Here's a book full of words; one can choose as he fancies,
As a painter his tint, as a workman his tool;
Just think! all the poems and plays and romances
Were drawn out of this, like the fish from a pool!

You can wander at will through its syllabled mazes,
And take all you want, not a copper they cost,--
What is there to hinder your picking out phrases
For an epic as clever as "Paradise Lost"?

Don't mind if the index of sense is at zero,
Use words that run smoothly, whatever they mean;
Leander and Lilian and Lillibullero
Are much the same thing in the rhyming machine.

There are words so delicious their sweetness will smother
That boarding-school flavor of which we're afraid,
There is "lush"is a good one, and "swirl" is another,--
Put both in one stanza, its fortune is made.

With musical murmurs and rhythmical closes
You can cheat us of smiles when you've nothing to tell
You hand us a nosegay of milliner's roses,
And we cry with delight, "Oh, how sweet they do smell!"

Perhaps you will answer all needful conditions
For winning the laurels to which you aspire,
By docking the tails of the two prepositions
I' the style o' the bards you so greatly admire.

As for subjects of verse, they are only too plenty
For ringing the changes on metrical chimes;
A maiden, a moonbeam, a lover of twenty
Have filled that great basket with bushels of rhymes.

Let me show you a picture--'t is far from irrelevant--
By a famous old hand in the arts of design;
'T is only a photographed sketch of an elephant,--
The name of the draughtsman was Rembrandt of Rhine.

How easy! no troublesome colors to lay on,
It can't have fatigued him,-- no, not in the least,--
A dash here and there with a haphazard crayon,
And there stands the wrinkled-skinned, baggy-limbed beast.

Just so with your verse,-- 't is as easy as sketching,--
You can reel off a song without knitting your brow,
As lightly as Rembrandt a drawing or etching;
It is nothing at all, if you only know how.

Well; imagine you've printed your volume of verses:
Your forehead is wreathed with the garland of fame,
Your poems the eloquent school-boy rehearses,
Her album the school-girl presents for your name;

Each morning the post brings you autograph letters;
You'll answer them promptly,-- an hour isn't much
For the honor of sharing a page with your betters,
With magistrates, members of Congress, and such.

Of course you're delighted to serve the committees
That come with requests from the country all round,
You would grace the occasion with poems and ditties
When they've got a new schoolhouse, or poorhouse, or pound.

With a hymn for the saints and a song for the sinners,
You go and are welcome wherever you please;
You're a privileged guest at all manner of dinners,
You've a seat on the platform among the grandees.

At length your mere presence becomes a sensation,
Your cup of enjoyment is filled to its brim
With the pleasure Horatian of digitmonstration,
As the whisper runs round of "That's he!" or "That's him!"

But remember, O dealer in phrases sonorous,
So daintily chosen, so tunefully matched,
Though you soar with the wings of the cherubim o'er us,
The ovum was human from which you were hatched.

No will of your own with its puny compulsion
Can summon the spirit that quickens the lyre;
It comes, if at all, like the Sibyl's convulsion
And touches the brain with a finger of fire.

So perhaps, after all, it's as well to he quiet
If you've nothing you think is worth saying in prose,
As to furnish a meal of their cannibal diet
To the critics, by publishing, as you propose.

But it's all of no use, and I'm sorry I've written,--
I shall see your thin volume some day on my shelf;
For the rhyming tarantula surely has bitten,
And music must cure you, so pipe it yourself.




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