i think that it is a form of self expression
Indeed, and how do you distinguish it from other forms of expression?
I heard of a court case in the US some 10 or 15 years ago in which nude table top dancing was held to be permissible as a form of expression protected under the 'freedom of speech' amendment to the US constitution.
Jorge another way of approaching this might be to ask yourself some questions about the topic: What is the difference between poetry and other types of literature? How is poetry different from prose? In what ways could I tell that I was reading a poem, rather than a short story?
is nude table top dancing "poetry in motion"?
not if it's ME doing it, thats for damn sure !
I think it uses words.
Hugh Clary wrote:
I think it uses words.
...unless it's concrete poetry...
Someone said poetry was the best words in the best order
I don't use words...i AM words
Maybe poetry is more than one thing. Maybe it come from a way of taking things, and is not a thing at all. Maybe it is not mindless relativism to say it is all things to all men, like spirit. For ten year, I called what I write "what I write." Now I call some ofit poetry, I guess that is out of respect for myu audience. But it does seem to do to try to define it. What matters is to be human beings in our worlds, and is poetry happens, its better than murd.
And then it uses concrete? Of steel, like that L()VE sculpture. And then in poetry sculpture or love?
i think that only applies in Indiana !
In San Francisco, they're unionized.
I can just see the Poet's Union rallying........
What do we want?
Who can really say...the struggle of human existence is so fraught with turns and pitfalls, that if we declare our intentions wrongly, then what may be the inevitable result?
When do we want it ?
You mean at the Lusty Lady?
poetry is the ultimate detstillation of language. When moving or replacing ONE single word is to the deteriment of the piece, that's poetry.
Thank you English Ten with Mr. Hurst.
poetry is merely violence done on language. Language as a means of communication should theoretically convey a clear instruction or communication. Literature as a whole, but particularly poetry is the violence committed towards that language, forcing it into a way of expression in which it wasnt designed for.
sort of like your post?
So, Tom, you never ever use metaphors? You must be a dull person to talk with.
But wait! Even in your post you use a metaphor. You're a contradictio in terminis!
Are you by any chance an engineer?
Manuals are merely violence done on language. Manuals as a means of communication should theoretically convey a clear instruction or communication. Technical language as a whole, but particularly manuals is the violence committed towards that language, forcing it into a way of expression in which it wasnt designed for.
I showed this to Manuel and he was very upset
WHAT IS POETRY?
I think from now on I will fall back on what some judge said when he was asked for a definition of "obscenity" during a censorship trial.
I CAN'T TELL YOU WHAT IT IS (he said) BUT I KNOW IT WHEN I SEE IT.
My memory may be faulty, but I think it was Felix Frankfurter, a renowned judge of the US Supreme Court many decades ago, who said that if it aroused him, it was obscenity. It was remarked that his judgments on the issue became more tolerant as the years went by.
As I recall, that led to some interesting jury decisions, because the more perverse, the less likely anyone would admit to being aroused, therefore not obscene
Marian, with the advent of "prose" poetry, I'm not sure I can agree with your last statement.
What appears to be prose, may be a poem within the mind of the author.
Post Edited (10-07-04 00:07)
If it walks like a duck and looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a DUCK.
Calling it a chicken does not make it a duck
Why do we keep talking about prose poetry as if it were something new? Anything older than my grandfather is old, if it's a kind of writing.
Peter would you like to share some examples of "prose poetry" which are older than your grandfather? Free verse does not count.
Why do we keep talking about prose poetry as if it were something new?
This, Les, is, Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1879.
UNE SAISON EN ENFER p.1
JADIS, si je me souviens bien, ma vie etait un festin ou
s'ouvraient tous les cccurs, ou tous les vins cou-laient.
Un soir, j'ai assis la Beaute sur mes genoux.—Et je 1'ai
trouvee amere.—Et je 1'ai injuriee.
Je me suis arme centre la justice.
Je me suis enfui. O sorcieres, 6 misere, 6 haine, c'est a vous
que mon tresor a etc confie!
Je parvins a faire s'evanouir dans mon esprit toute I'esperance
humaine. Sur toute joie, pour 1'etrangler, j'ai fait le bond
sourd de la bete feroce.
J'ai appele les bourreaux pour, en perissant, mor-dre la crosse
de leurs fusils. J'ai appele les ffeaux, pour m'etouffer avec le
sable, le sang. Le malheur a etc mon dieu. Je me suis allonge
dans la boue. Je me suis seche a Fair du crime. Et j'ai joue de
bons tours a la folie.
A SEASON IN HELL p.1
ONCE, if I remember well, my life was a feast where all hearts
opened and all wines flowed.
One evening I seated Beauty on my knees. And I found her
bitter. And I cursed her.
I armed myself against justice.
I fled. O Witches, O Misery, O Hate, to you has my treasure
I contrived to purge my mind of all human hope. On all joy, to
strangle it, I pounced with the stealth of a wild beast.
I called to the executioners that I might gnaw their rifle-butts
while dying. I called to the plagues to smother me in blood, in
sand. Misfortune was my God. I laid myself down in the mud. I
dried myself in the air of crime. I played sly tricks on mad-
UNE SAISON EN ENFER p.2
Et le printemps m'a apporte 1'aflreux rire de 1'idiot.
Or, tout dernierement, m'etant trouve sur le point de faire le
dernier couac, j'ai songe a rechercher la clef du festin ancien,
ou je reprendrais peut-etre appetit.
La charite est cette clef.—Cette inspiration prouve que j'ai
"Tu resteras hyene. . ." etc., se recrie le demon qui me
couronna de si aimables pavots. "Gagne la mort avec tous tes
appetits, et ton egoi'sme et tous les peches capitaux."
Ah! j'en ai trop pris:—Mais, cher Satan, je vous en conjure,
une prunelle moins irritee! et en attendant les quelques
petites lachetes en retard, vous qui aimez dans 1'ecrivain
1'absence des facultes descriptives ou instructives, je vous
detache ces quelques hideux feuil-lets de mon carnet de
A SEASON IN HELL p.2
And spring brought me the idiot's frightful laughter.
Now, only recently, being on the point of giving my last
squawk, I thought of looking for the key to the ancient feast
where I might find my appetite again.
Charity is that key.—This inspiration proves that I have
"You will always be a hyena. . ." etc., protests the devil who
crowned me with such pleasant poppies. "Attain death with all
your appetites, your selfishness and all the capital sins!"
Ah! I'm fed up:—But, dear Satan, a less fiery eye I beg you!
And while awaiting a few small infamies in arrears, you who
love the absence of the instructive or descriptive faculty in a
writer, for you let me tear out these few, hideous pages from
my notebook of one of the damned.
There was also an anthology of American contemporary poets put out about ten years ago titles "Poet's Prose," which I don't have a copy of.
You might also look at John Ashbery's, "three poems," to see what a formidable contemporary poet has done with the form.
Thanks for asking. I didn't know if I could put my hands on some right off. It is not a poetic form I know much about.
ressembler à un canard à moi
It is a SEED which can makes us think it's a duck or a chicken.
It might not be a duck.
It might not be a chicken.
But surely it is a SEED.
You might also look at John Ashbery's, "three poems,"
Thanks Hugh, but I meant the book, "Three Poems," not the selection of three poems from "Some Trees." "Three Poems" is Ashbery's only, as far as I know, venture into the prose poem. I guess a search on the words "three poems" is what lead us astray on this one. Again, thanks for the try. We all depend on you internet scholarship.
The first section of "Three Poems" begins:
I hope it gets better from there !
When I read for my comprehensives, ten poets were the focus. I read fifteen poems of John Ashbery's poems. I understood two. Maybe one. He must, therefore, be a great poet. I certainly could not judge if any of the rest of this poem is better than this fragment, ut I hope you won't judge him on the basis of my trucated presentation of this remarkable poet.
Five card stud, nothing wild, and the sky's the limit.--straight poker.
I read fifteen poems of John Ashbery's poems. I understood two. Maybe one.
I read fifteen books of John Ashbery's poems. I understood two poems. Maybe one.
Sorry, Peter, it was late and I didn't see the attachment...i thought you meant it started off with the words "see attachment"
Peter I'm reminded of our previous discussion regarding selective memory....leaving it all out is indeed the truest way, but as Pilate said, What is truth?
Post Edited (10-11-04 14:45)
It concerns me that your definition of great poet seems to equal 'something I can't understand.' If poets aren't communicating, why do they bother?
Message? What the hell do you think I am, a bloody postman?
- Brendan Behan
I understood two. Maybe one. He must, therefore, be a great poet.
I get it - a joke, right?
Strangely enough, not a joke.
Of all the material I read through for my dissertation, I found Ashbery's poetry the most challenging, and in an odd way the most satisfying. I can claim to read the other poets on my specialty list -- Pound, Williams, Olson, Stevens, Ammons, Creeley, Ginsburg and Hart Crane; and the philosophers Heidegger, Gadamer, Derrida, Lacan...and the critics Spanos, Miller, DeMan, etc. with a some assurance and lucidity. I can talk a student through any of these other writers with confidence (and humility, since that's what good reading takes).
But all I can do with Ashbery is to say: I understand very little. It is obvious to me he is worth the effort. I read mathematics on my own, and I have found the same quandary raised by certain writers. In particular the work of P.A. M. Dirac and of Kurt Godel is evidently of the greatest importance for both Quantum physics and Relativity Theory, but I can attain only the merest mathematical understanding of Godel's proof or non-recursive arithmetic.
That feeling is the precise feeling I have for Ashbery's poems. If I personally can't understand them, that's ok. They still have an effect on the possibilities for poetry. That is what I am interested in on this forum: the possibilities of poetry. I'd like to see someone write as uncompromising Sestina, a haiku chain, free verse to challenge the best of the projective or the objectivist poets, a limerick to match the best of the limericks ever, and to just write their hearts out. It is a difficult matter, this poetry of ours, even for the punster and neophyte.
Happenstance if all we have on ourside side
Who? said the Dr.
Seems reasonable, Peter. Still, let's take a look at one (at random) from the link shown above.
These are amazing: each
Joining a neighbor, as though speech
(Hmmm ... looks like we will be seeing rhyming couplets in quatrain form, since speech rhymes with each. Meter will be three beats in the odd lines and four in the even apparently. Will we see basically iambs, or trochees, or anapests? Can't tell yet.)
Were a still performance.
Arranging by chance
(Uh-oh. Chance is a masculine ending, but performance is feminine. I.e. they do not rhyme. Is there a rhyme for performance? Not informants, surely, since that is an exact rhyme. Dormants, mebbe. Perhaps this person is unfamiliar with the rules of rhyme? Different meter than the first two lines also. And shouldn't it be 'arranged by chance' instead of 'arranging'?)
To meet as far this morning
From the world as agreeing
(Ouch, he did it again, even worse this time. Morning and agreeing are not even close. Let's forget the meter. It either won't be consistent, or the author is unaware of what meter is. A ghastly run on sentence as well.)
With it, you and I
Are suddenly what the trees try
To tell us we are:
That their merely being there
Means something; that soon
We may touch, love, explain.
(Oh, I get it now. The rhymes merely have to end in the same letter from couplet to couplet. Nothing further was ever intended. Any consistent meter was also never intended, just relatively short lines with randomly chosen line breaks to make us think they were well thought out. The preponderance of 'th' sounds is likely intentional, but hard to say aloud. Logically, it fails as well, at least to me. The trees merely being there means that we may love, touch, and explain? Doesn't follow, and seems meaningless drivel masquerading as Zen-like wisdom.)
And glad not to have invented
Such comeliness, we are surrounded:
A silence already filled with noises,
A canvas on which emerges
A chorus of smiles, a winter morning.
Placed in a puzzling light, and moving,
Our days put on such reticence
These accents seem their own defense.
(These last two stanzas seem the best, and do a great deal to rescue the previous efforts. Not enough to put this poem in the 'great works' category by any stretch of the imagination.)
Language was designed? Whover designed the English language has a lot to answer for...
"Logically, it fails as well, at least to me."
Logic, if you're talking the usual Western sequential logic, seems to be largely irrelevant to a reading of Ashbery. He works more by association, juxtaposition and diversion, a sort of "letting the mind go loose" way of writing, so expecting him to follow an argument in a straight line is a bit like asking Jackson Pollock to paint a haywain.
When I read Ashbery, I just sit back and enjoy the ride; there are jokes in there and interesting sentences and thoughts, sometimes he runs with an idea for a while only to abandon it, sometimes he even picks up an old thought and runs with it again; sometimes there are even dull passages; well, skip those. He writes about what's in his mind at the time. Sit back, strap yourself in and let go....
And yet there seems a kind direction through misdirection. he has you look out the window, you follow his gaze, and all along he's bringing you around to some aspect of where you began that you would have missed if you had just looked directly at it at first. I like your description of his associative processess. Maybe my temptation to read an "Ashbery logic" from his poems is one of the thing keeping me from understanding. Maybe I'm trying to direct his gaze too much, forcing him out of his leisure.
nice to here from someone whose read him enough to describe him to those who may not have
I may yet have to revise my first impressions. I see that John Frederick Nims, whose opinion I hold in great regard, has seen fit to include Ashbery's works in a number of his anthologies. Having read through those so included, I cannot say I am any more enlightened that I was before trying to parse them, but I will try to keep an open mind. Hell, WS Merwyn's stuff doesn't make any sense to me either, but many have found wisdom therein.
I tried to find a picture of a haywain (hay-wain), but all I could locate was this one, which is too dark to see much of the images:
i thought a haywain was something canadians said to gretsky
What do you make of this one Hugh, I think I get it. But only because of the cartoon characters.
Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape
The first of the undecoded messages read: "Popeye sits
Unthought of. From that shoebox of an apartment,
From livid curtain's hue, a tangram emerges: a country."
Meanwhile the Sea Hag was relaxing on a green couch: "How
To spend one's vacation en la casa de Popeye," she
Her cleft chin's solitary hair. She remembered spinach
And was going to ask Wimpy if he had bought any spinach.
"M'love," he intercepted, "the plains are decked out
Today, and it shall be as you wish." He scratched
The part of his head under his hat. The apartment
Seemed to grow smaller. "But what if no pleasant
Inspiration plunge us now to the stars? For this is my
Suddenly they remembered how it was cheaper in the country.
Wimpy was thoughtfully cutting open a number 2 can of spinach
When the door opened and Swee'pea crept in. "How pleasant!"
But Swee'pea looked morose. A note was pinned to his bib.
And tears are unavailing," it read. "Henceforth shall
Be but remembered space, toxic or salubrious, whole or
Olive came hurtling through the window; its geraniums scratched
Her long thigh. "I have news!" she gasped. "Popeye, forced as
you know to flee the country
One musty gusty evening, by the schemes of his wizened,
duplicate father, jealous of the apartment
And all that it contains, myself and spinach
In particular, heaves bolts of loving thunder
At his own astonished becoming, rupturing the pleasant
Arpeggio of our years. No more shall pleasant
Rays of the sun refresh your sense of growing old, nor the
Tree-trunks and mossy foliage, only immaculate darkness and
She grabbed Swee'pea. "I'm taking the brat to the country."
"But you can't do that--he hasn't even finished his spinach,"
Urged the Sea Hag, looking fearfully around at the apartment.
But Olive was already out of earshot. Now the apartment
Succumbed to a strange new hush. "Actually it's quite pleasant
Here," thought the Sea Hag. "If this is all we need fear from
Then I don't mind so much. Perhaps we could invite Alice the Goon
One dug pensively--"but Wimpy is such a country
Bumpkin, always burping like that." Minute at first, the thunder
Soon filled the apartment. It was domestic thunder,
The color of spinach. Popeye chuckled and scratched
His balls: it sure was pleasant to spend a day in the country.
From The Double Dream of Spring by John Ashbery. Copyright © 1970, 1969, 1968, 1967, 1966 by John Ashbery.
WOW, and copyrighted way before Bobby London took over the strip.....though Segar always turned a most interesting phrase too.
It's intended to be a sestina, but means nothing to me beyond that. A tangram is a puzzle with 7 pieces, so perhaps there is something hidden in the lines. Just what it may be I have no clue. However, for a hamburger today, I will gladly repay you on Tuesday.
I yam therefore I yam
Post Edited (10-22-04 13:31)
Thanks for the link, but Aaagh!
Pretentious poppycock I have not yet looked up.
Just because I supplied the link does not mean that I support these types of activities.
I was especially amazed at the analysis of the ball-scratching!
the whole commentary was ball-scratching!
Then you see what the difficulty is: (1) With reading. (2) With enjoying. (3) With Asberry. (4) With understanding. (5) In gerneral. (6) With the variable relations between form and content. (7) With techniques and excellence. Would yous be so kind as to pass the ketchup, please.
Which means it's meant to get you in the gonads? question mark. that was a question marking them words there.
briccoleur (?)briccolage -- not engineer/engineered, put together from what was at hand for the immediate occasion, what was demanded by circumstance; it seems language is more like the latter that the former. What do you think, Steven? Need a word for "mud"?
Peter, yes there ARE people who have that difficulty.....they make it hard on themselves, it's friggin'POPEYE for gods sake, it's meant to be enjoyed, as I'm sure Ashbery intended his work to be....not worrying if Pappy Poopdeck is going to castrate you.......yikes jinkies and all that !
Once again, strangley enough, I'm more with you Johnny, than with the over-interpreters.
Peter, I'll have mine with onions, if you please, sir.