Is it fair to ask what poet's poems help you most when you write poetry? Consider the poet's poems, not what the poet says about poetry, for now.
I know that after I read Shakespeare, my work goes off the deep end. I get stuffy, obtuse and artificial, -- in other words, a bad imitation here--in spite of his brilliant virtuosity. I'm afraid being a cameleon- alone won't work. Yet, more on track, Emily is the most haunting presence for me. Her intricate mysticism and her work with the subtleties of reinventing language (technique) maker her a prophet (vates) and a maker (poet). So, when I write what I take to be poetry, she teaches me to trust my intuitions, what they reveal, and to dot all the i's and cross all the t's. And my sense turn back on itself, as if I can't even read my poem from beginning to end, but am instructed to turn back at each new step of its revelation.
-- with her fan
and her cane
and her wrinkled feet.
Who does a poem do to your writing?
I don't know how one can learn to write better poetry EXCEPT from reading what has been written by others, but what's a vates?
Vates: Roman concept of the poetic process, visionary, inspired by the Muse, closer to our "intuition" than "maker."
I am not looking to deny the strength of imitation but maybe hoping to find the poetic inspiration for your poems, asking about whose poems you think breath into the spirit of your writing.
I find that reading Shakespeare overwhelms my diction so much that I don't write "naturally" in English for a while. If I read Lewis Carroll, my logic is like a pretzel. But if I read Emily Dickinson, my poems tell me what I don't know.
Same here....I think the human mind is quite impressionable. I am taking a linguistics class and we were discussing how easily one can pick up an accent or some other form of speech-habit. I just finished reading a biography in which the author had a very set pattern of "speaking" and I found myself following this pattern after a long day of reading. Strange, isn't it?
I find that my writing, poetry OR prose, or even business letters, tends to reflect what I'm reading. That's certainly one reason that I write spoofs of things--to vent the influence. It's similar to picking up speech patterns or even accents from the people around you. It's not a bad thing unless you submit to it unthinkingly.
In the play GERTRUDE STEIN GERTRUDE STEIN GERTRUDE STEIN, by the playwright Marty Martin*, Gertrude tells a story that I think is true. She sent one of her novels off to a publisher and got a letter back that read something like this: "Dear Miss Stein, Thank you no no thank you no no thank you there will be other books other publishers but no thank you thank you no thank you no no." In the play, Gertrude says she was so delighted by this publisher's "stylish rejection" that she planned a celebration.
The really great thing is to find writers who help you write more like yourself, singers who help you sing with your OWN truest voice, painters who help you see and paint with your OWN eyes, and so forth. I've had that experience with the theatre work of Elizabeth LeCompte, the writing of Milan Kundera, and the poems of Ogden Nash, among others. That's inspiration--empowerment to create from yourself--as opposed to mere contagion of style.
* Not to be confused with the theologian, Martin Marty.
That's inspiration--empowerment to create from yourself--as opposed to mere contagion of style.
A reader from Western Siberia
Was confused by this phorum's criteria,
So he guzzled a vodka
While shouting, "My Godka,
This thread's getting oddka and queeria!"
You don't have to be from the Tundra
to be baffled by this threads conundra
it twisties and turnies
and thats how we learnies
or scratchies our headies and wondra
I was just reading Asimov's Lecherous Limericks the other day. It made me jealous.
Thanks for a new source of amousment from an old source of amusement.
EEEK ! Amousement !
Peter, on this site we sometimes get off on sidetracks where there isn't even a railroad.
can't lick sunshine out of the trees
but do like it that she went right to what I hoped for with my search of poetic inspirations of poetry, distinct from straight imitation. "imitations," by the way, is what Robert Lowell used to call his translations. he also was an early inspiration on giveing a place to biography in personal poetry without allowing mere reality to take the place of imagination.
Peter, give us some background on yourself, are you a teacher? poet? interested observer? none of these? all of these? something else?
Said a lady from Belfast one day.
This e-mule gets stranger each day.
We used to talk poetry and prose
but we've lost both of those
to seduction, war, and ballet.
Hope the eMule calender does not read BC (Before Culo) and AD (all downhill)
Thanks for asking. This is the first time I've enter a "discussion forum" I'm willing to take my clothes off for a wile, expose myself on a whim. When I read through some of the discussion threads the other day and realized I was listening to some people I could learn more from about poetry and about "talking on this machine". All of you sound alive and that was interesting. Some of the other threads didn't make me feel like I would want to exchange poems and conversation about poetry with their participants. By the way, I think all of life is trangents, tangents off tangents, intersecting tangents. So getting off track is fine with me.
resume. life. I write poetry because I have to. If its poetry, I only know after I've read the piece, as first reader. Background? Slum kid from Boston with a PhD. in Twentieth Century Poetry and Heumeneutics, M.A.s in Linguistics and in Philosophy. Took eleven years to get a B.A --majoring in Mathematics, Psychology, Philosophy before they accidently gave me a degree in English literature. Dropped out of undergrad. four times to let myself live (coming up for air). Didn't have an address for almost two years around 1967 when I first tried to live in SF.
My weird seriousness sometimes puts people off, just as my out-of-sync passion for people can. I fell in love for the irst time when I was five years old. I am not sure I've ever fallen out of love.
I taught for about fifteen years: colleges and universities --writing, poetry, mythology and philosohy. The most enjoyable sessions for them and for me were in Haiku and American Poetry.
I guess my response to someone's question about would you introduce yourself as a poet, my answer sometimes is I have, and sometimes I am, and yes, but I am always human.
In the end I logged on here because I enjoy your back and forth. Much more important to me that poetry, even though its be the center of my adult life, is my first daughter, who is a puppeter (?) and activist (union organizer,tenants right's, gay women's rights ; my younger daughter,who is a prop technician and experimentalist, and my gregarious son, who is a bartender, and my life's best friend, who lives up north with her boyfriend and her hummingbirds.
I'm sure this is more than you wanted to know about my background. I kind of like guessing what each of you is like from what you say to each other and how you say it. Kind of like making up the author of a poem. The structure of your dialogue is so rich and live. Be well. Just keep writing.
Do you know what the Existentialist vegetable said?
Sartre was a Fartre
Nothing to do with a sweet potato, I bet.
Neither Swee'pea nor Swee'potato...Popeye said it first
And thats ALL that I Yam
A writer of things existential
wrote a poem so self-referential
we could not understand it--
but HE thought we panned it
because it was "experimential."
Talia, what empowers your poetry most? another poem, a poetic ezperience, resistance?
You might look through some of Harold Bloom's theorixing on 'influence' instead of 'imitation' in the succession of poets, as in his "Anxiety of Influence" or his "Wallace Stevens: The Poems of Our Climate," although, I admit, his readings are so 'strong' that they almost are impossible to imitate wiyhout doing bad, obscurent criticism.
No. No. It's just a two week lag, picking up other threads.
Uh-oh, you have mentioned Bloom twice now. Won't be long before Chesil is roused from slumber to once again loose his vorpal blade on poor Harold.
Most? My emotions. They not only empower me, they control me! I get stuck on a situations that causes feelings and I write about it in every possible way. Reading the work of poets who seem to do the same is inspiring, I can catch their vibes.
We are all, cosmologically speaking,
vibration, heart, to atom, to light, quasar.
I look forward to the slice. As they say, the guy's impossible (to follow, or imitate). He outdoes himself in hie preposterous posturingly "The Western Canon." Go get 'im, Chesil.