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Passions in Poetry

WHY??

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moonbeam
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25 posted 11-23-2008 09:26 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam



quote:
Where do we disagree?

Umm, let's see: gin, chopsticks and maybe Elizabeth Bishop (although, belatedly, I think you might have been right, so that probably doesn't count).

It's kinda worrying really.
chopsticks
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26 posted 11-23-2008 10:51 AM       View Profile for chopsticks   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for chopsticks

Brad, Iím not sure about gin and Elizabeth Bishop, but how could Moonbeam disagree

with your method of conveying food from your bowl to your mouth ?

Iím going to check this out with Miss Manners.

Moonbeam, don't worry be happy.


serenity blaze
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27 posted 11-23-2008 05:49 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

This is a great thread.

Too good to dissolve into a form vs. freeverse argument.

Pantheress? I love that you write from the heart. And moonbeam? I love what you did with that too.
chopsticks
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28 posted 11-24-2008 06:00 AM       View Profile for chopsticks   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for chopsticks

I agree with Blaze, letís not let this poem dissolve into who, what , why, when, and where
( did I get that in the right order).

I donít think itís important to know what group you wrote it for. Letís say it was written for ~ To whom it may concern~ like most poetry is.
Pantheress
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29 posted 11-24-2008 07:48 AM       View Profile for Pantheress   Email Pantheress   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Pantheress

"SHOW don't TELL" Is painting a picture with words.. taking the reader to the event, not retelling??.. Thanks for the link Moonbean, although I had read it before and other pieces on prose, although when I went to the prose section here, there is a very wide variation, I put a piece in behind closed doors/ mature content because it's smut, but I feel it paints a picture, has rhyme but is not poetry, I loved this discussion is great reading your different ideas, thank you all so much for your time and effort.. your all really great people here, I love it,smiles..

moonbeam
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30 posted 11-24-2008 10:04 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

quote:
you write from the heart

Karen

I'd love to know what exactly you mean by that.  If you have time of course.  

M
moonbeam
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31 posted 11-24-2008 11:13 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam



quote:
"SHOW don't TELL" Is painting a picture with words.. taking the reader to the event, not retelling??..

Yes you are quite right.  But, "show don't tell" is often used in the context of a poet trying to convey emotions or feelings.

It can seem a bit strange at first to think that you can convey inner emotion or thought by referencing it to a specific event, or place, or thing for instance.  But done well (with metaphor and simile), the technique can not only add unexpected dimensions to your portrayals, but also it can allow your readers to overlay their own experiences and draw from the writing even more than you perhaps anticipated.  

Compare these two openings which YOU wrote.

First this:

"Why was I blessed with a giving heart,
and no ability to touch.
Why do I feel so much,"

Then this:

"I work with victims of crime,
I brush them off and stand them up
to face another day.  I train my face
to never portray the shock I feel,"

The first is quite bland - it could apply to anyone, anywhere at anytime, and to be brutally honest, to my ear the opening line even sounds a bit smug, I know you didn't intend it that way, but for an opening, before you've set the tone of the poem, it's very risky.  Additionally each line contains language we've all heard over and over.  When you use the phrases "giving heart" or "feel so much" they will simply slip past the consciousness of most readers without creating even a flicker, except perhaps of annoyance .  They are dead phrases, dead from overuse, worn out, deceased, ex-phrases, history, ashes in the ears of your audience.

The second poem you wrote is altogether different.  It starts out with a nice crisp clear statement, a strong verb "work" and two attention grabbing nouns.  The reader is immediately interested in what is coming next.  Ok, the next sentence employs a metaphor I've heard before, but at least it's energetic and visual.  The double use of "face" is an unexpected and clever bonus - it is what I was talking about earlier, a spin-off; do you see that?  

The verb usage of face followed by the noun usage creates a link which then leads your readers' minds into considering the effect on the speaker's state of mind (her face) of having to go through the trauma of empowering these hurt people to get through (to face) another day.  The faces are for an instant as the reader reads that line, unified; with instant significance.  

So you see in one quick image: that of the speaker literally brushing down and lifting the victims - so much is conveyed about the strain on the speaker herself and her own state of mind.    

How much better is that than simply rolling out the same old tired question: "Why do I feel so much" - yawn - you might as well be writing to your therapist!

You could go further too.  Specificity is often the spice of poetry.

Look at this recent poem in CA.
http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum28/HTML/002384.html

It's titled "Sense" with very good reason!

Ok, it may not be the easiest poem to get to grips with from a meaning point of view, but look at the way that the poet uses imagery and description.  The poem is awash with "things" that you as the reader can sense.  In the very first line your nostrils are assaulted with the mingling of lemon or orange or lime and tobacco.  The next line piles on top of that the scent of wet hair, and the sight too of that dark hair against the white skin.  And now we have texture too, the softness of lotion and more scents.  If you go on reading you'll see that the whole poem simply vibrates with sensual experiences, suffusing every one of our receptors: sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch.  It's not too much of an exaggeration to say that the piece is sensuous.

This is in fact a pretty good yardstick to use when you are trying to write.  Ask yourself as you write each line:

Is there anything in this line that I can touch, see, smell, taste or hear.  If there is no sensory input from the line at all, and this repeats over several lines, then you may well be erring too much on the side of the abstract.  Think about using less abstract nouns and more concrete nouns.  Think specific.  Your poems will grow in power and interest.

Finally we've looked at your opening lines in this poem written first as:

"Why was I blessed with a giving heart,
and no ability to touch.
Why do I feel so much,"

then as:

"I work with victims of crime,
I brush them off and stand them up
to face another day.  I train my face
to never portray the shock I feel,"

Can we progress further?  One possible direction might be to zoom into yet more detail.  For example:

"Clara walks, raped, from the court,
snuggles against my teflon coat,
her ear bell-shaped against the tongue
of my heart.  A pulse ticks at my temple"

I hope you see what I tried to do here.  Think of yourself as a story teller who makes up stories in order to better portray the truth.

M
Pantheress
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32 posted 11-25-2008 09:58 AM       View Profile for Pantheress   Email Pantheress   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Pantheress

Hi all,
Moonbean, yes Brad's poem is very descriptive, When I think poetry, its sorts like country music, wife left with best mate, husband kicked dog and it died, songs of the heart, humor, beauty.. When does it become short stories, does the rhyme keep it in the poetry category? Some of the phrases you replied to Brad with are totally foreign to me, I'll have to go away and study for a bit, cause now I'm totally lost, female and Irish.. what more can I say,chuckles.. Thanks everyone for their great input, I find it very constructive and interesting.. and your right moonbean- "They are dead phrases, dead from overuse, worn out, deceased, ex-phrases, history, ashes in the ears of your audience". On ward and up ward,smiles..

moonbeam
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33 posted 11-25-2008 05:04 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Heh.  Join the club, some of the phrases I used to reply to Brad confused ME.  I just had to try to sound important.

Seriously, don't worry about the complicated bits; keep it simple, just concentrate on trying to use imagery, more concrete nouns, less abstract nouns and less adjectives and adverbs.  That would be a great start.  

serenity blaze
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34 posted 11-25-2008 09:41 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Oh. (I thought I was done.)

"write from the heart"?

She utilized her emotion as the impetus.

The frustration you felt, Pantheress, touched the frustration in me. But I did recognize it as a rough draft.

Moonbeam? I simply mean that I like poetry that has a sense of passion at its core. I've read far too many that are all flourishes and no meat. (and yes, I am guilty, guilty, guilty... <--note the emboldened ellipses)

*chuckle*

Btw? Someone once did for me what you did for her.

It changed the way I wrote.

Um, sometimes.


chopsticks
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35 posted 11-26-2008 09:57 AM       View Profile for chopsticks   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for chopsticks

ď Someone once did for me what you did for her.Ē

Blaze, I do agree, say it until it hurts.

Moonbeam once did it for me.

I write much better now.

I will continue

to write.

oceanvu2
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36 posted 01-13-2009 10:50 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi Pantheress:  Moonbeam pointed out that you have the essence of the poet within you, it just might be worthwhile to consider why your poem is not much of a poem, but you're prose is poetry indeed.

Some aspects have been discussed, and Essorant has alluded to a central one.  A poem is music in words.

I'll take it a little further to suggest that a poem is first and foremost a spoken performance piece.  It is not words on a page to be read internally and mused over. It is something that has to be read out loud.  It often happens that only the poet, reading a piece aloud, can hear the true or intended music.

It also happens that some poets can't read out loud worth a damn to someone else, but they get better with practice.  When you can convey your reading, your music, to a reader, you've accomplished something.

When you compare your reading of your poem to Moonbeam's restructuring of your prose, which SOUNDS better?  It doesn't matter in the long run, one writes what one writes, but it is useful to write to be read aloud.

Best, Jimbeaux  
oceanvu2
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37 posted 01-13-2009 11:15 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

OK:  here is another way to go about the poem itself, using only your words. Note the changes in punctuation and deletions.  They are about music and compression, a whole Ďnother discussion.


Why was I blessed with a giving heart
and no ability to touch?

Why do I feel so much?

I want to take the world and hold it close,
heal the world
and kiss away the loss.

Why is there no love inside of me?

I say don't come to close to me!

Why do you want a piece of me?
Why do they want to own me,
fit me in a box?

Why can I find forgiveness and understanding
for the angry and the lost?

Why can I help you heal, but can't heal me?

Why am I locked in my own inadequacy?
Why does my hand stay still,
when I'm longing just to touch?

Why am I running scared of feelings?

Why is there no love inside of me,
Where love is meant to be?


This may be a way of coming closer, and to my ear it reads better, but there is still a logic problem:  You do indeed have love inside of you.  How can you reconcile this within the context of the poem?

Best, Jimbeaux
 
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