Poets Think about Poetry
I donít see any other way to do it. The problems of form and content, and all the other contentions of poets, are utterly intimate with each man writing, and where he is writing, and what he tries with whatís around him. Canadian poetry becomes, in each instance. which man or woman it is, and what their work can effect.
[Contact (Toronto), No. 8, 1953]
Peter, a couple of quotes to which anyone may respond:
Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet
believes to be interior and personal which the
reader recognizes as his own.
- Salvatore Quasimodo
No man was ever yet a great poet, without being at the same
time a profound philosopher. For poetry is the blossom and
the fragrancy of all human knowledge, human thoughts,
human passions, emotions, language.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Post Edited (08-12-04 09:10)
To the night
From your womb
unremembering I rise
Angels tread, mute
with me; things have no breath;
every voice is turned to stone,
silence of buried skies.
Your first man
knows not, yet grieves.
Quasimodo, the great empathizer, yes. Creeley finds a place for the exteriorizing energy.
I guess I would pair Coleridge's poet-philosopher with Keats' chameleon-poet of Negative Capability.
The poet's have many, divergent, convergent, tangential takes on their capacity. In trying to go back to The New American Poetry, I wrote on the flyleaf, "HOW TO OPPOSE/WITHOUT/NEGATING/OR HOW TO/NEGATE WITH-/OUT/OPPOSING.
All this is to say that, with Quasimodo's empathy, Creeleyís location of poetry, Coleridge's universally profound poetry, and Keatsís Negative Capability, poetry very much takes on the color of itís object and takes into itself just about anything as its subject. By the way, it was to find out if it made sense to talk about poetry from a philosophical point of view that I went back to Graduate school. I still donít know, yet, if it can be done. Iíve read a lot of sophisticated criticism which is just plain crap in the face of good poetry.
Your two responses were exactly what Iíd hoped for.
Does anyone but me hear that Twilight Zone theme music when perusing Peter's posts?
I once did a convergent, divergent, tangential DOUBLE take....I was laid up for a week afterwards.
Hugh, I prefer to think of Peter as our resident left-fielder.
He's not a REAL Modo, he's only a Quasi - modo !
How about you read some serious poetic literary theory after 1950. I'm sorry, Mr Clary. I know you're classically trained. I always have shown you proper respect, because you deserve it. I do not like being characterized as some kind of a freak. I play around in this forum, when I do, because it is fun. I think Johnnie SansCulo does some of the same. If you had read and absorbed first rate thinking of the twentieth century from Stevens, Williams and Pound to Olson, Creeley and Rothenberg you would have used your critical acumen to engage a forthright offer to think about poetry instead of only focusing on the mechanics of verse form or the "oddity of the idiot," so to speak. Your jab distracts from what Robert Creeley proposes in the essays and notes in A QUICK GRAPH. No wonder I'm testy. I'm an easy target. I trust strangers.
Peter N. Sherburn-Zimmer
Take a look at Les's comment of 08-12-04 0:50, a serious response.
Peter, please don't take offense with anyone here, I know I can't speak for all but I have a strong feeling that you are well-liked around here. Sometimes you DO talk above people's heads, but that shouldn't stop you from being yourself or saying what you want, when you want.
Personally I go around making goofy remarks because I have neither the expertise nor the inclination to engage in the "serious" aspects of poetry.
Even if you find one person here who is willing/able to discuss what you want, it's worthwhile !
Thanks, Johnny, I can be a real noodle head. Sometimes I act like Bobby Orr.
Peter, few of us have the same perspective which you bring to the forum. It's not that we do not wish to discuss certain aspects of poetry, but the angle from which you approach a question is alien to most of us. Your style is difficult for most of us left brainers to figure out.
Had you stated in your original statement:
A. What do most here feel about form and content in poetry?
B. Does the life of the poet, background, surroundings etc. determine content?
I believe that you would have received serious comments about those queries. Lucky for other members of the forum, Johnny and I speak fluent left-fieldese.
Post Edited (08-12-04 14:41)
Re: " You know, I should say this in fairness. I do almost always aim over my audiences' heads in the hope they'll reach up, stretch and exceed their expectations of themselves."
Peter, please don't be so super sensitive. Also, please don't consider all of us your "audience". In all fairness, you have no idea what it takes to exceed the expectations of anyone on this site. I sometimes enjoy reading your offerings, but your officious approach is sometimes offputting. Just my humble opinion................
My problem is that cannot resist the attempt to be amusing. Clearly, Peter is well read on the subject of poetry. I will attempt to examine his posts more closely in the future, the better to pick up his meanings.
Post Edited (08-12-04 22:46)
Chesil, I think you take the statements of ONE person on the forum much too seriously. The forum consists of all members, no one person should dictate how you feel about the forum.
There are many authors on the USP whom I avoid. I know for a fact that they do not approve of me as a writer, critic, or poet. So I simply avoid them, I recommend that you do the same here. Do not let the words of one person dictate YOUR behavior.
Peter the way to teach is not to aim over the heads of your supposed audience, but to grab them by the bootstraps and show them the horizon.
Now children...If I didn't know better, I'd swear I was listening to Republicans chastising Democrats, and vice-versa. It seems that a few contributors to this thread are attempting to validate their personal opinions by denigrating those of others. That kind of behavior detracts from any meaningful dialogue taking place and shrouds valid opinions and insights in a veil of childish name-calling.
Peter is certainly entitled to his opinions and is free to comment, at length if he deems it necessary, to achieve his goal of trying to educate visitors to this forum (if that is, indeed, his goal). At the same time, Hugh, Johnny, I, and others are just as entitled to introduce a little humor now and then, as long as it isn't meant to be hurtful. And I must say, that after participating on emule here for more than two years, I've rarely come across anyone who is truly mean-spirited...certainly not Hugh who often pokes as much fun at himself as he does at others.
Finally, let us not forget that we're talking poetry here...not world peace or the salvation of mankind! Let's vow to do better.
Hugh, please don't let me get away with being such a humbug.
But then, perhaps, I won't find a way to apologize that you will be willing to accept. I know talk about over head is inferently arrogant. But my parents never taught me how to grovel. I won't worry about meeting you standards in the future. I was try to let this diverion, which I myself created, brop, because I do not think there is any pleasing you, Chesil.
I'd rather think about poetry than personal attacks.
Les, I guess that does apply. I have found, once or twice, afeter I've avoided someone for a day or two, I can go back to their postings and get something from them that I missed that was worthwhile.
there are as many ways to teach as there are people to interact with. Sometime I am the teacher, sometimes the student. The only time I try to "raise the bar" is when I trust in my interlocutor to raise it on me--it is alway mutual respect, never master/slave relation. I wish all of us would stop being so touchy, sensitive, thin skinned.
Still, I, at preent, have no desire to miss what anyone saw. Although the person called 'critic' who is usually not 'a dritic' but judgemental reads like he may make my list of "don't bother".
Chesil, I know I would be impoverished is I did not have your imput, even if just to remind me how arrogant I can sound.
pax to all,
Leonard Cohen, In "Like a Bird on a Wire," have the woman in the door, calling, "Why no, why, no, why noy ask formor." -- or ourselves and of others.
p.s. I think poetic expectations are a legitimate toic fror discussion. Do you?
Thanks for saying so.
no excuse, but I been away too long, I sometimes think.
amen. pax. nobiscum. shredded wheat.
Creeley was trying to say, back in '53, that what was characteristic of Canadian poetry was that eat poet wrote out of the particulars of an individual poetic and human situation, so as to make Canadian poets more independent and individualistic that their counterparts elsewhere. The particular Canadian content of their lives and poetry results in Canadian poems true to their soil in both content and form. I chose this quote, because I am not Canadian and have not idea if Bob is talking through his hat or no. This forum seemed the ideal place prove or cure what he said in the Toronto magazine. What do you think?
Les, Grab'em by the bootstraps?
Once you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow !
It's a figure of speech Johnny, but I'm sure YOU would never aim over anyone's head, especially someone like Critic.
nope...I'd aim right for the critical area !
Peter, I think you should type your posts in your word processing program and then read and reread, maybe even print before you post them here. I don't doubt that you have a considerable knowledge of poetry, but I, and I believe others, often find your posts virtually incoherent. That isn't aiming over heads, that is missing the audience completely.
As for Creeley's thoughts:
"I donít see any other way to do it. The problems of form and content, and all the other contentions of poets, are utterly intimate with each man writing, and where he is writing, and what he tries with whatís around him. Canadian poetry becomes, in each instance. which man or woman it is, and what their work can effect."
I think that for the time he wrote this, the idea was fine. With the passage of time, I don't think he goes far enough. English language poetry within the English speaking world is diverging. There is an interesting discussion of this in the introduction to Barrier of a Common Language by Dana Gioa. I don't have time to transcribe it right now but may later. Part of the issue, he argues, is that there is so much domestic poetry available in the US that poets from other English speaking cultures don't find space on bookstore shelves. I was in Border's this morning and confirmed this for myself. Apart from Hughes and Larkin there was nothing of contemporary British poets. No Simon Armitage, no Wendy Cope, no Roger Gough, No Tomlinson, Motion and many others. Thom Gunn was there, but he lived so long in San Francisco before his death that he had been assimilated into the canon of American poetry.
I can't bring too many Australian poets immediately to mind, but there was, for example, no John Kinsella. I am sure that the Aussies here could provide me with a list of names to check out and that I would find virtually none of them in my local bookstores.
Strangely, what abounds here is translations of foreign language poets. Neruda, Lorca, Rilke, Czeslaw Milosz and others appear. Presumably, they are there because they are so often hailed by the likes of Edward Hisrsch and many other respected American poets whereas British, Australian and Canadian poets fare less well. During an extended trip to Europe earlier this year, I noticed that the converse was true. Not much shelf space there for notable American poets. If he reads this, perhaps IanB will tell us what he sees in the poetry shelves of his local bookstores.
It is a pity to be exclusive in all cultures, but it would also be a pity if local poets could not get shelf space becasue too much is afforded to foreign poets. A Catch 22, perhaps.
At school here in England (can't speak about Scotland their exam system is different and Wales has another language to work in) the students are given mostly non native poets to study. That's why we keep getting questions about Braithwaite for example. And what is taught in schools is the only poetry that the majority will ever read.
Thank you for your considerate and well considered posting. I have recently begun to write my postings on a scratch pad in Word...good suggestion. In the end, it is the recipient of the post who pays the most for errors and the author who is singularly responsible for the condition of the text.
As to the content of your response to Creeley's point, I think there are always going to be problems balancing multi-national multi-linguistic concerns with local poetic needs. I thought your practical way of approaching the issue more than perceptive. It has been accidentally when Iíve read Australian, Canadian, or ever British poetry Ė much may we lament our educations here in Amerika. I look forward to tangling with you again. Or was that tangoing.
Poetry in the schools is about all young adults get here in San Franciso as well. And so much else of their education is meant to keep them from thinking at all for themselves that the imaginative end of the stuff gets shoved under the table. I hear PF "another brick in the wall" in my own words.
good one peter, i used to get in trouble for "acting smart"
I am always impressed here in NE Ohio by the number of young, some High School age and a lot of college age , people that attend the open mic sessions that I occasionally attend. I think that there is a large group of young poets on the User Submitted Poetry phorum. Young people do have an affinity with poetry, but sometimes it is drilled out of them by certain types of teaching methods.
I'm reluctant to say this, because I can't listen to it, and my son is part of it, but poetry slams and rap sessions are two of the poetry outlets the younger generation have gone to for their poetry. May Jerry Lee Lewis forgive me.
Anything that involves active participation in the art is to be encouraged.
Someone was recently trying to convince me there are more poetry writers than there are poetry readers. That seemed odd at the time, but I suspect now it may very well be true.
Poetry slams seem a worthwhile idea in my view. I wonder if the same law holds true, though. Most of those in the audience are merely waiting for a turn at the microphone, not really paying attention to the other speakers, that is.
I don't attend slams too much, but those I have had a healthy audience of non-performers.
It is more true at small open-mics that most, if not all, of the audience wants to read. On that basis, I think it is better to read towards theend of the evening rather than at the beginning!
like mud wrestling?
Even at Open Mike readings, that seems to be almost tue.
Try reciting poetry WHILE Mud-Wrestling !
No prob. I gotta million of 'em.
From Ghent I had galloped to Aix,
All night, without stopping for breaks,
But instead of a hero,
I finished a zero
By forgetting the message, land sakes!
In The Space Merchants, a novel written in 1952, the protagonist claims that there are no more lyric poets because they've all gone into advertising. (Frederik Pohl/C.M. Kornbluth, authors)
I'm holding your head in the mud
you're feeling the rushing of blood
and I won't release
until you say please
in a voice not unlike Elmer Fudd
...from an earlier thread, this time with our friend's last name spelled correctly:
Hugh Clary, poetical pundit,
Of word play, he never has shunned it.
If something you've heard,
Sounds mirthfully absurd,
There's a good chance that Hugh may have punned it.
A very nice one 'bout Hugh Clary
but if praise that you seek then be wary
his limerick touch
he's milked it so much
you'd think that he worked in a dairy
I alway thought poetry was a participatory sport.
Poetry is a participatory sport as mud wrestling should be...hence my mud-slinging !
A fellow named JohnnySansCulo,
Attempting to bring our sweet Hugh low,
Wrote verses so flawed
That his readers said, "Gawd,
He's cheapened the form to a new low!"
Oh, goody!! Hugh limericks!
There once was a pundit named Hugh
who kept seamstresses waiting in queue
to stitch pockets in all that he wore,
saying wallet and keys heíd abhor
as he much preferred limericks in lieu.
CHEERS ACCOLADES HUZZAHS FOR HUGH !
You make take a kudo out of petty cash
and a patho too !
Our resident pundit named Clary,
writes verses as sweet as a berry.
His writing is often quite terse;
but never once will he curse,
nor miss on a chance to make merry!
Post Edited (08-20-04 14:09)
Said Johnny one day to his fam.
A poet must be what I am!
These limericks I create with ease
will make me look like the cheese.
If only the reader was Pam!
Post Edited (08-20-04 14:25)
This thread, it has been torn asunder
with phrases that daily grow blunter
it sure would be fun
to drive in a run
but the heart is a lousy bunter
They think they can all get on first base,
Hugh and Johnny and little old Alice
Till they both look around
and find I can count
and the man in the red umpire's uniform calls it all out of bounds as Alice dives into third base.
but it was the BEST butter !
`"Will you walk a little faster?" said the Gilga to the mesh
"There's a zipper on my Sitchin, and he's dining on my
See how eagerly the sumers and the winners bid adeiu
They are writing on the tablet singing Enki-dinki-du
Chesil, thank you.....what a great site and ambitious project.
I joined and have posted two already.
Johnny, I thought you and Hugh would have fun playing there!
A: Don't ask. Once you're registered and you feel you've got the lay of the land, as it were, you may add your own limericks to the OEDILF. We do insist that your contributions:
1. Are your own original work
2. Are not vulgar, obscene, or otherwise trashy,
3. Do not attack or defame any group or sub-group of people, and
4. Are written in correct limerick format
Dang, numbers two and three eliminate all my contributions!
Thank Gawd. They eliminate most of the most wonderously live limericks I've ever read.
I got hollered at because I didnt capitilize the first word of each line !
(or should I say...CAPITALISTS !)
bah humbug padd the victuals, or as Bertolt Brecht used to say: Bread before Politics
You can't eat freedom
I feel sure these folks will be roundly attacked by limerick purists everywhere. The rules, as outlined by Chris J. Strolin are:
"As I mentioned elsewhere, the perfect OEDILF limerick will:
1. be cleverly written, with
2. spot-on rhymes, and
3. great meter, and
4. will define the subject word well, while
5. exhibiting interesting wordplay, and will
6. help bring about world peace"
I am sure he is jesting about world peace, but he says the submissions must have spot-on rhymes and great meter. Here is one of his own contributions:
When longing for treats hot and steamy,
The frontiersman's thoughts could turn seamy.
"Is that, Davy Crocket,
"An aardvark in your pocket,
"Or are you just happy to see me?"
Leaving the weak attempt at humor aside, (should be frontierswoman), just look at the scan in that rag! Line two is a syllable short, unless one pronounces 'fronTEEyursman' and line four has an extra syllable, unless he is seriously suggesting the word is pronounced ardVARK.
I next looked at some by the Workshopping Editor, BobHale:
Baron Munchausen was prone to tell lies
Though when doubted he'd just roll his eyes
And say "It's all true
This tale I tell you
Though perhaps I sometimes aggrandize"
When you're lying in bed and it's late
And you're in an agrypnotic state
Though your body is numb
The sleep just won't come
Another long night awake is your fate
There are many religions, and yet
An atheist will just say "Forget
It, it's not true"
But the agnostic view
Is "Me?, I'm just hedging my bets."
Isn't that a joke by W C Fields?
The above are his first three listed. Each and every one of them has at least one error in meter. I gave up after that. I am afraid these guys need to start all over again.
Aren't you taking it a little too seriously, Hugh? He does say the 'perfect' limerick and it seems evident to my mind that he says it very much with tongue in cheek, when reading his comments on meter elsewhere.
I think that their meters all bad and all that,
when Les calls me Falstaff he really means Fat
I have great respection
for Mr. G Rection
The PROnunciation of feline is CAT
Aren't you taking it a little too seriously, Hugh?
Is that possible to do? Humor aside, I suspect we may end up agreeing to disagree, but let me make a couple of further points, and I will afterward let the subject lie.
When he mentions the perfect limerick, he is discussing whether lines 1, 2 & 5 must have identical meter,
"Some would say that a perfect limerick would have to have lines 1, 2, & 5 identical in meter but you'll notice an extra unstressed syllable at the beginning of line 5. I am of the mind that perfection in meter is not only not necessary but, moreover, it can lead to dreariness when you're reading more than a few of these things."
There is no one I have ever encountered who says that lines 1,2 &5 must have identical meter, but he is implying (rightly) that one can (and should) vary the first foot (allowing either an iamb or an anapest), and vary the last foot, to allow trailing syllables. Unfortunately, he continues,
"So extra syllables are OK? Well, not always. It's almost always perfectly acceptable to place an extra unstressed syllable (sometimes even two or, more rarely, three) at the beginning of a line."
It is NEVER acceptable to put four syllables at the beginning of a line. The first foot must ALWAYS be an iamb or an anapest. And dreariness to me is when I try to scan bad limericks. Sadly, he continues,
"Further, an occasional extra unstressed syllable within a line will not necessarily sink a limerick although overdoing it very well might."
Wrong again. A limerick has a specific and fixed form, extra syllables not being an acceptable variation. At least he gets it right about dropping syllables,
"Now, dropping an unstressed syllable is, to me anyway, cause for more alarm. When I, as a reader, come to a point where I expect an unstressed syllable and there's none there, it's as though I have hit a mental pothole in the road. It's jarring and, as such, greatly takes away from my enjoyment of the piece. Limericks are based on the anapest meter (da-da-DUM, da-da-DUM, da-da-DUM) and so when that anapest meter is flawed, it can't help but detract from the piece overall. "
That's exactly how I felt when I read 'frontiersman', Chris.
To me, it's either perfect, or it's not a limerick. A matter of doing it right, or not doing it at all. Yep, it happens to all of us - we are in a super rush to get the first thing that occurs to us onto the page, and out into cyberland. But, allowing verses with imperfect scan to escape before they are complete is surely mere laziness.
(It's not my fault that the orgasm site is so named.)
Are you going on record that you're not responsbile for female orgasms?
Seriously, a lot of those i saw don't even properly define the word .
I suppose the goal is to : have a limerick or a close approximation, crappy or not, funny or not, for each word in the OED
of which there must be...what? 2 million or something...a large figure in any case.
I'm on your side on this one. A limerick with metric errors just doesn't work. It's like saying 'yes, it's 16 lines, but it's really a sonnet.'
I'm not disagreeing, they ARE sloppy and lazy and crappy.....no question.
In essence I think Hugh is right
Our limericks are often a fright.
No pun or dry wit
Has caused us to quit
Though our verses are clearly a blight.
Hugh, if you would be so kind....disregarding the subject matter, is what i wrote "I think that their meters all...etc"...what is wrong? thanks
I think /that their/ meters /all bad /and all that,
when Les /calls me /Falstaff/ he real/y means Fat
I have great respection
for Mr. G Rection
The PROnunciation of feline is CAT
First line has too many syllables, and the wrong accented words beginning with the first "all".
Second line wrong accent begining with "Falstaff"
Third and fourth lines have too many syllables.
Fourth line has the wrong accent beginning with "Mr."
Fifth line has the wrong accent beginning with "pronunciation".
You may ask yourself what is the "wrong accent". Certain words have stresses based on which part of the word we say most forcefully. In the word thun/der, the first syllable is stressed, but in the word de/ny the second syllable is stressed. It takes some practice to determine which words are stressed. Kelly, Hugh, Chesil, and JP have seemingly perfect ears for this. Much of it is in how we HEAR what we say.
I hope this helps more than it confuses. Hugh can refer you to some websites which explore rhythm and meter in poetry.
Right, this is how the reader hears it:
I THINK that their METer's all BAD and all THAT,
(4 beats, iamb, anapest, anapest, anapest)
when LES calls me FALstaff he REALly means FAT
(4 beats, iamb, anapest, anapest, anapest)
I HAVE great reSPECtion
(normally, one would stress GREAT, so the meter is said to be forced)
for Mr. G Rection
(for MISter g RECtion - this reads fine to me)
The PROnunciation of feline is CAT
(forced stress on PRO, but makes 4 beats again:
the PROnunciAtion of FEline is CAT)
Beats should be 3, 3, 2, 2, 3.
Their meter's all bad and all that,
when Les says I'm Falstaff, I'm Fat;
I have great respection
for Mr. G Rection;
The meaning of feline is CAT
That's not to say I grok your meaning, though.
Thanks, Les, it DOES help.....i deliberately capitalized PRO as a jab at emphasis.....as in EEEE-jaculation rather than eJACulation.
I also purposely used 11 syllables in lines 1,2,5, and 6 in lines 3&4,
I'm unable to see the "wrong accent" problem with Falstaff...i hear the emphasis on the Fal....feel free to use another word in place of falstaff to clarify if that's easier.
also line 4....wrong accent with Mr.?
i/ HAVE great re/ SPEC shun
4/MIS ter g / REC shun
same with the "alls" in like one......how do you hear it? i hear THINK, the ME in meters, BAD, and THAT are where the emphasises is
again, thanks for your help....i'm very curious......I always felt i had a really good handle on meter, unless i'm just dashing something off.
This is a long tailed lineric: we used to compete them in the bar for drinks, longest tail gets the next drink. . . much fun and drunkennesses.
The most famous anapestic 4-beat lines:
'Twas the NIGHT before CHRISTmas and ALL through the NIGHT ...
Like lims, the first foot is sometimes an iamb in that one.
Hugh Clary wrote:
Is that possible to do? Humor aside, I suspect we may end up
agreeing to disagree, but let me make a couple of further
points, and I will afterward let the subject lie.
We'll agree to differ, but I will say that if Will had had the same metrically pure approach, its either perfect or it isn't a sonnet, we wouldn't have had some of the finest sonnets in the language.
Yeah, I saw Pam's note, and I would have to differ with her about the sonnet. They can even be done in terza rima! Double dactyl, rhondeau, rondel, triolet, back to the original point, though.
Creeley's original point was that instead of stuffing our thoughts into regular, predetermined forms, like the sonnet or the limerick, contemporary poets would be served better if they took care to articulate their thought so that the specific appropriate poetic matter could fin its specific form. His comments are explicitly anti-traditional, in the hope of getting to his own way of writing fresh poetry out, even of escaping the Pound-Eliot 'formal' constraints on "how to write a poem.' The question of content's formative potential is, to saw the least, always controversial, as is the question of how much poetry written here and now must depend on the forms of the past, or how much it is to proceed into the undiscovered country of the future. I don't deny that writing limericks and sonnet making are fun, but I would prefer precise, contemporary passions.
Seems to me, Peter, that we would be very much the poorer if all poetry had always been written the way Creeley recommends. Poetry is also about beauty of language and presentation and not just the thought. There has been much debate in some circles that there are no new thoughts, merely new ways to express them. Fortunately, poetry is a broad church and there is room for all, formal, informal, prose, rap, lyric and any other form of poetry in which to place those new expressions. Ultimately, as with so many things, it will be the consumer that largely determines what is remembered and what is not.
As you may have seen, I choose mostly to write free verse. I prefer the freedom it allows for my thoughts to float but I also see a place for structured verse. I wouldn't be alone in that, many of our foremost poets have used structure to excellent effect. It is also occasionally a good mental discipline.
I agree with the "mental discipline" aspect of writing in meter, or rhyme. I also think that writing with meter helps one understand and better appreciate the classic poets who used that format in their work.
I hope I don't make Bob sound more dogmatic than he is. Of course the way is open to all kinds of possibilities in poetry. But that is exactly his point. Whe he was breking into the poetry game, none of the majors mags would publish his poetry, or any of his generation; Olson, Duncan, Cid Dormon and many other bright and lively writers because "they didn't write poetry." So these started their own little magazines: Black Mountain Review, Origen, etc. His project has always been to overcome closedness. II guess I must have picked that task up when I wrote my dissertation--Poetry: Open to Interpreation, trying to find another way t get at the poetry of Wallace Stevens. I would be the last to close the doors. You may note that I have sometime tried my hand at rhyming from time to time in this forum, not very successfuly I might ad. At least I've grown to have ore tolerance of rhymed verses. Finally, Creeley himself would be appalled by the idea of "if all poetry had always been written the way Creeley recommends," since he himself is a studnt of the hisory of poetry.
As always, thanks again for intelligent opposition to my presentation of my thoughts,
Les, Ithink both are good reason to study rhyme and meter, But I'd like to suggest that is the ear that needs training by these, just as the musician is trained to listening. I think it is good listening that finds good poetry.
Dogmatism is my point, too, Peter. You really don't have to go too far to find that many, if not most, literary zines are not interested in receiving rhymed verse. Now, I can well understand that most rhymed verse they receive ignores good meter, which is an essential ingredient in my poor opinion, but are they really saying that they receive far better free verse? It becomes blinkered. Good poetry may be written, as I believe we agree, in many different forms and the exclusion of any is not a good thing.
I agree. There is no accounting for bad judgement, no matter what quarter (magazine or critic).
Chesil and Peter, it is in reading free verse here at e-mule that leads me to believe that many of our posters would benefit by knowing the discipline of writing verse in metric form.
Certainly I could.
Les, I understand why you say that. I would like to see them adopt Pound's advice and review to make sure every word earns its place. So much is flabby and the message gets lost in the wordiness.
Seeing the link Hugh posted under Bowl of Rocks in the USP forum, had a look round Ablemuse's metrical forum. I can see how a discussion of prosody can easily forget the poem's content in favor of a tiresome line by line scansion and endless arguments as to whether metrical substitutions work, or not. People do pronounce words differently, and I certainly would scan a poem quite differently than most Americans. If more USP poets moved to metrical verse, either rhymed or blank verse, I think we would be wise not to get too bogged down in the scansion.
I don't know why, but Ablemuse always seems to annoy me. I wonder whether the moderators have ever read a poem they liked. The successors to the reviewers in the Edinburgh Review and the Quarterly Review, perhaps.
I think that only the thick-skinned can survive at Ablemuse. I have read hundreds of published poets and many of our amateurs here surpass them in my opinion. Not every poem, and certainly not every poet, yet there are many poems I've read here at e-mule which are note-worthy in their excellence.
But, I can't imagine that there are not a few poets who would please the critics at Ablemuse from time to time. It seems to me they spend so much time looking for spots on the rugs, that they forget to see the beauty of the tapestry.
Post Edited (08-25-04 19:33)
It seems to
me they spend so much time looking for spots on the rugs, that
they forget to see the beauty of the tapestry.
You never said a truer word, Les...and beautifully put.
you guyz are all sadpeternsz wrote:
Poets Think about Poetry
I don’t see any other way to do it. The problems of form and
content, and all the other contentions of poets, are utterly
intimate with each man writing, and where he is writing, and
what he tries with what’s around him. Canadian poetry becomes,
in each instance. which man or woman it is, and what their work
[Contact (Toronto), No. 8, 1953]
Poo.....not sure why you brought this forward.......but it has been interesting reading all the posts. It is the type of conversation that I wanted to engage. Here reading these, I realize my desire may lie in something deeper than just learning about poetry. There is much to be said of ego. I like what Hugh had said about contemplating that there are more poets than readers and that we aren't really listening because we're busy watching or waiting for our turn at the microphone.
Until coming to this forum, I only knew that I liked most poetry (any kind) that had found it's way to a publisher and was good enough to be published. I didn't go buy poetry books, but simply read whatever I happened upon...whether in a magazine in a waiting room, greeting cards, riddles...whatever. I knew that I did like the conversation and contemplation that went on when poems(older traditional ones) were disected in school. I have written poetry for about 30 years and rarely shared it with anyone, aside from a few intimate friends or family members.
I came to this forum when I started to contemplate the suggestion of these people to go further and attempt to submit my poetry for publication.
A try it on for size, if you will. After arriving, the poetry seemed insignificant to the interaction with the people, as a result of the poems, but not necessarily directly related to the quality (which is highly subjective and dependent on the preferance of the audience members) of the poem itself. Thus, a confusing, but interesting proposition.
If our goal is to be published to make money, I suppose we should attempt to determine the preference of the majority audience. If we are truely a poet, we probably could succeed at this ...just as a true musician could probably play blues as well as classical music...or a good actor could play the villan as well as the love-lorned. Does it come down to a thing being worth whatever someone will pay for it? Or does it come down to believing in ourselves, and our poetry, enough to keep looking until we find readers who will see what we already think to be true? Is this ego?
How many actors or writers were turned down only to become famous later? It would be interested to know how many of them changed anything they were doing because of the reasons given...or....if they stayed the same and just kept looking until they found someone who could recognize their talent/appeal (and is appeal the same as talent?).
Someone commented comparing metric verse to being reduced to Hallmark quality. I'm pretty sure Hallmark has a fairly good business going on and must wonder if they mind being viewed, by sophisticated poets, as substandard. Maybe sitting in a coffee shop surrounded by other artsy and interesting people is staying truer to the art? I've rambled.
As I'm feeling people are tired of me here, (I'm tired of myself too), I won't mind if nobody responds. Marty
For what it is worth. I don't write for money. I think making that a criteria for what is good poetry is wrong-headed. Although publishing is in some strange way related to quality, this not in a direct way, like how many poems you published this years says how good a poet you are. I don't write for publication. I guess publication is some kind of filter, but it is not a very effective one. I gave that up about when I started to write decent quality poetry. I also think taking popularity for a standard is copping out. I think you have to just write, and let all those other things take care of themselves. If you write often, are sincere and care about poetry, I think that in itself is not enough either though. Somehow you have to have a standard of quality you read your poems against, not a standard you write for. If they do not read well to you, then no one else will appreciate their quality sufficiently to spur you on to keep writing. Unfortunately, I don't even think that is enough. Maybe nothing insures quality, but quality is what counts--not sincerity, not a good read, not merely truth to one's own experience even, though all of these may contribute to quality poetry. In the end, I write for the first reader-- not the author and not the audience, but the very first person to read the poem before I show it to anyone else.
Or to summarize, i think that Poo's just got a rumbly in his tumbly