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Passions in Poetry

OK. . . I'm Annoyed!!!!

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Sven
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since 11-23-1999
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Lansing, MI USA


0 posted 05-09-2001 06:58 PM       View Profile for Sven   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sven

I'm annoyed by a lot of things these days. . . most of which I can't really do anything about. . . and that's what really annoys me about them. . . that I can't do anything about them. . . well, except rant to you all about them!!  There's something that I'd like to talk to you all about today. . . and, while I probably won't change your mind about it, I hope that I can definitely get you to think about it, and, of course, begin some lively debate on the subject!  

Your topic is this:

Who decides what's cliche and what isn't?

I mean, who died and left certain people in charge to tell us what's cliche and what's isn't?  And why do those people seem to think that they're better than the rest of us because they do know what's cliche and what isn't?  And, how do they know?  Do they have the market on this?  Do they know something that we don't?

And, why do these people seem to take great joy and delight in telling us when we're being cliche?  I mean, (GENERALIZATION ALERT!!!!!!) isn't almost everything that's written these days (and perhaps most of what's been written in the past) cliche in some form or another?  Just the same ideas written down differently?  And sometimes, do we even notice or care that it's cliche?  Or do we just pay attention to the fact that it's by one of our favorite authors and/or poets and leave it alone?  

In other words, do we say, "Oh look, this is by insert favorite author's name here. . . and sure it might be the same story that's been done before, but because it's by him/her, it's really good!"

Well. . . thank you all. . . I await your responses. . . (and I know that there will be several). . . with great anticipation!!!



----------------------------------------------------------------------


To the world, you may only be one person. But to one person, you may be the world.

Joricho
Member
since 05-06-2001
Posts 57
Australia


1 posted 05-09-2001 07:35 PM       View Profile for Joricho   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Joricho

People can of course be mighty condescending about cliche. And of course it's a subjective category. But especially in poetry, it's so disappointing when someone uses an image or phrase that has been used a million times before -
it lands
like a thud
on the ear -
without any kind of interesting mental reverberations.
Of course, playing with and subverting cliche is a different matter and a very powerful thing indeed!
But I AM sorry you're annoyed - I try not to be a language snob!
Jo
SEA
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Member Seraphic
since 01-18-2000
Posts 24152
with you


2 posted 05-09-2001 09:23 PM       View Profile for SEA   Email SEA   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for SEA

Sven~ oh Sven....no one can say....they are just being pompous....don't let it rattle your cage......just ignore them...take it with a grain of salt....sticks and stones....LOL sorry, but I don't care what other people like that say.....I'd spend a lot of time upset if I did......
Severn
Member Rara Avis
since 07-17-99
Posts 8273


3 posted 05-09-2001 10:01 PM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

Just being pompous? What?

Susan - I don't agree with that at all.

Come on...what is it about a really great novel that holds you? SOME of it is SURELY the originality - either of plot or of writing style...even down to a reduction of a great sentence.

I don't think it's at all appropriate to say 'sticks and stones' in context with criticisms about writing. I for one WANT to stand apart...I want my own style, my own successes and my own originality. If I'm being cliched I want to know about it. Writing takes talent - that's a foundation...it also takes learned skill.

Of COURSE most of what is written about today has been written about before...and there are people out there who will share your own personal style. Cliche can even be used effectively. But it should never be relied upon - and it should also be recognised. Writers need to make the language work for them - and in my opinion, resorting to cliche after cliche is letting oneself become a victim to the overuse of the language.

There is no 'they' who 'invent' cliche...it's a process of determination I think...a collective one. Look at Hollywood movies...girl mets guy under unusual circs. Fall in love. Break up for whatever reason. get back together - great screen kiss at the end. TADUM. Cliche at its finest...that was original in movies in the not so distant past. REPETITION makes cliche. See enough of one idea, one phrase and it just is.

Common phrases:

deep blue eyes
floating clouds
flowing tears/tears flowed

To me - they all, and others like them, equate to BORING AND OVERUSED.

Call me pompous, it doesn't bother me a whit..not if I am successful in recognising that cliche exists and recognising that truly successful writers go beyond it - and if they use cliche, they use it effectively.

There you go Sven.

K

All obscurity starts with a danger:
Your dangers are many. I
Cannot look much but your form suffers
Some strange injury
Sylvia Plath

serenity blaze
Member Empyrean
since 02-02-2000
Posts 28839


4 posted 05-10-2001 02:27 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Gotta love ya K.   And who decides what's cliche? We decide, when we take language and make it common through overuse. But I understand the quandary. What is cliche' to some may be brand new to another. I like this question, because it pertains to a thought I've had often. I am facinated with the subliminal effect of symbolism on the subconscious. (As per Carl Jung's theory of collective unconscious) and often while writing I have had to decide whether to use a more obvious metaphor, and hopefully make my intention clear to a wider audience or perhaps a more personal symbolism...which has often left me frustrated as to whether anyone understands at all!

There was only one thing I could conclude. I write to please ME. After it's written, I'm not really sure if it is my own anymore--I consider it something given away...and they can do what they want with it. Ask Salinger, if HIS work remained his own. Ask Lennon, if HIS intent was always understood. Consider the Bible as literature and poetry and see how often the public agrees to INTENT.

Nope. We write as we live. With only the hope that our best intention shines through.
White Wolf
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since 09-18-99
Posts 384
Somewhere in the vast wastelan


5 posted 05-10-2001 03:43 AM       View Profile for White Wolf   Email White Wolf   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for White Wolf

I had to look this word up for the full definition and the only thing I can conclude is that there is(are) no true cliche(s).  A chiche by webster's definition is, "a trite phrase or expression; also : the idea expressed by it".  I think this is the meaning that you are refering to.  The thing that one must realize is that with any language that no one speaks the same language.  Oh sure you may speak "English" and I may speak "English" but the way I speak it is vastly different than the way you speak it.  If I were to ask you "How are you?" and you honestly said, "I am fine."  Then you asked me the same question and I answered the same, does that mean that we are feeling exactly the same?  Of course not.  With that said, I could give many examples but I think you get the idea, can the same words from two different people mean exactly the same?  It is possible but highly unlikely considering that no two people are exactly alike.  But for this to work one must consider the full definition of the word.  I think I have made my point.  As to who can say what is and isn't cliche, well no one truely can.  If someone does, my guess would be that they themselves have a limited understanding of language and the uniqueness of people in general.  They also may use the same words over and over again and consider themselves "cliche".  This idea is also known as projection.  Well that is enough for now.


The White Wolf
Sunshine
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since 06-25-99
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Listening to every heart


6 posted 05-10-2001 10:31 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

You know what's NOT trite?  Seeing White Wolf return...[welcome home!]

and a new gripe in the forum.

More on this later!  {~,^}
White Wolf
Member
since 09-18-99
Posts 384
Somewhere in the vast wastelan


7 posted 05-10-2001 05:03 PM       View Profile for White Wolf   Email White Wolf   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for White Wolf

Thank you Sunshine.  It is good to be able to write again.  Thanx.
The White Wolf

If life is just a game, when does it end cause I want to get to what is real.

SEA
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8 posted 05-10-2001 05:31 PM       View Profile for SEA   Email SEA   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for SEA

LOL Severn....I was just joking...re read it...almost everything I wrote was cliche....LOL.... it is a matter of personal expression and the growth level of the person doing the writing......and the reading.....over used phrases annoy me, but I try to see past them, to what the author is trying to get across....sorry to tick you off like that LOL but I was so only joking.... really....I'm sorry, should have made that more clear.....   SEA
Severn
Member Rara Avis
since 07-17-99
Posts 8273


9 posted 05-11-2001 06:48 AM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

ROTF!!!!!!

I see...I'm a cliche junkie...I have cliche radar on all the time...I take cliche so seriously it's not funny. In fact, I have an announcement...

go check out announcements and links...

K

Sven
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10 posted 05-11-2001 01:03 PM       View Profile for Sven   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sven

And. . . in light of K's Announcement. . .I have a Challenge. . .

Go here: Anti-cliche Challenge and good luck!!!

  

--------------------------------------------------------

To the world, you may only be one person. But to one person, you may be the world.

[This message has been edited by Sven (edited 05-11-2001).]

Jamie
Member Elite
since 06-26-2000
Posts 3219
Blue Heaven


11 posted 05-11-2001 05:47 PM       View Profile for Jamie   Email Jamie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Jamie's Home Page   View IP for Jamie

on the other hand- wouldn't you love to coin a phrase that one day when someone used it, another person cried "cliche"?...  

There is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar.
byron

Severn
Member Rara Avis
since 07-17-99
Posts 8273


12 posted 05-11-2001 07:22 PM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

good idea Sven..will do when I have time...and J...oh but I already have...surely?

K
Just A Woman
Senior Member
since 03-10-2001
Posts 508


13 posted 05-11-2001 09:13 PM       View Profile for Just A Woman   Email Just A Woman   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Just A Woman

I had to smile as I read this.  I am most likely the queen of cliches.  There are some very serious writers here, and others who write merely for a form of self expression.  I admire greatly those who work so hard at not using cliches, and I suppose there might be a time where I may want to work on mine.  Until then I shall use them freely.  

"I can't remember if I'm the good twin or the evil one."

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


14 posted 05-12-2001 06:34 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Trevor once said that a poet's job is to create the cliches for tomorrow. I always liked that.

As far as who determines a cliche, no doubt there is disagreement on the fringes but I think anyone who is a native speaker of the language has a pretty good idea of what a cliche is. For me, I physically cringe when someone writes a poem with something like 'love is like a rose' or 'a needle in a haystack' or 'you can lead a horse to water' (I don't mind them so much in the discussion forum -- they're generally used for economy's sake). I guess it comes down to assumptions -- if you write a poem, I already assume you're an individual and want to show that. If you use cliches, you are muting your own individuality, you're hiding yourself. Poetry, even if one argues that poetry is solely for self expression (I disagree), is still about showing that individuality to others, not about pretending they already know.

My real opinion is actually more complicated than that but I'll stop here.

Okay, one more thing. I had a friend once say to me, "Yeah, that's what I say. Time is money. Get it?" Cliches can leave you quite nauseated because they are often attempts at originality or profundity. If you write a poem with a cliche in it, aren't you in a sense taking credit for something that's already been said?

Brad

PS SEA and Severn, can Severn keep the pompous label? I don't want to be only one around here who's been called that. Severn, now you've got to shoot for pedantic.  

Severn
Member Rara Avis
since 07-17-99
Posts 8273


15 posted 05-12-2001 07:05 AM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

Too late Brad...been there and had that one already  

I WEAR MY LABELS PROUDLY!

pompous K
Sunshine
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Member Caelestus
since 06-25-99
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16 posted 05-12-2001 09:22 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

For those of you who would like to see if YOUR poetry contains cliches...

check this out!
http://www.angelfire.com/nd/danscorpio/word3.html




[This message has been edited by Sunshine (edited 05-12-2001).]

Janet Marie
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since 01-22-2000
Posts 18986


17 posted 05-12-2001 09:49 AM       View Profile for Janet Marie   Email Janet Marie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Janet Marie

quote:
If you write a poem with a cliche in it, aren't you in a sense taking credit for something that's already been said?



I dont know if thats "fair" to take the use of "cliches" that literally?
If we break it down like that, then in a way, are'nt we accusing nearly all poets, writers, and even song writers of "plagerism."

I am in no way qualified to know where the line is drawn ...
and all I can do is speak for my self and my often cliche kissed poetry...(see     )
I dont think its about taking credit for someone elses words...
If anything it's more paying tribute to those whose works influence us, and whose words left a lasting impression and inspire on us.
Who here has never incorporated a line, or phrase,or image from a favorite song in SOME way into their writing...
I think a lot of it is done with out even realizing it.
Should we try and make it our own and original..of course...thats how we grow as poets ...
and Im still growing  ...
with "miles to go before I sleep"        
Sorry guys...it was just too easy LOL


quote:
Trevor once said that a poet's job is to create the cliches for tomorrow. I always liked that.


That is actually quite brilliant when ya think about it... and a goal all writers should strive for.

Thanks for the wisdom shared Brad...
ya give me lots to think about...
and I like that.    

and Sun... thanks for the link...Im headed there now..but I fear I will see my picture there on a wanted poster LOL




Did you make it to the Milky Way,
see the lights faded
that heaven is overrated
Did you fall for a shooting star
One without a permanent scar

[This message has been edited by Janet Marie (edited 05-12-2001).]

Severn
Member Rara Avis
since 07-17-99
Posts 8273


18 posted 05-12-2001 06:45 PM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

Personally JM, I think it's a kind of cultural osmosis...

cliches just happen - like Brad suggests - because there ARE only a certain amount of words in the language...not so much influence I don't think - more, overused...

K
serenity blaze
Member Empyrean
since 02-02-2000
Posts 28839


19 posted 05-12-2001 06:51 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Thanks for the tip, Kari! I've bookmarked that site, found it quite interesting!  
Sven
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since 11-23-1999
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Lansing, MI USA


20 posted 05-12-2001 09:08 PM       View Profile for Sven   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sven

So then, how do we as writers avoid using too many cliches in our work?

And, what do we say to those that would critique and say that we have used cliche in our work?  Although, in some cases, it's unavoidable. . .

Continue to discuss. . .

--------------------------------------------------------

To the world, you may only be one person. But to one person, you may be the world.

Dopey Dope
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since 08-30-2000
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San Juan, Puerto Rico


21 posted 05-13-2001 03:32 PM       View Profile for Dopey Dope   Email Dopey Dope   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Dopey Dope

In the end everything and anything might as well become cliche....so why worry
Severn
Member Rara Avis
since 07-17-99
Posts 8273


22 posted 05-13-2001 11:21 PM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

Well I dunno Sven..hmm..here's a recent example of how I tried to avoid it in a poem I wrote recently.

I was in a plane recently and was watching clouds and their shadows.

In a line of poetry I wrote:

'shadows pull their clouds'

instead of clouds chase their shadows which is the standard image...

I guess it really is a case of playing with words isn't it?

K
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


23 posted 05-14-2001 07:24 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

In a nice coincidence, I just found this.


Cliches
More later,
Brad

[This message has been edited by Brad (edited 05-14-2001).]

Sven
Deputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 Tour
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since 11-23-1999
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Lansing, MI USA


24 posted 05-14-2001 07:29 PM       View Profile for Sven   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sven

quote:
In a line of poetry I wrote:

'shadows pull their clouds'

instead of clouds chase their shadows which is the standard image...


Ok K, but. . . how do you know that that's the standard image?  And, what if you like using the standard image?  What if that fits best into the poem that you're trying to write???

-------------------------------------------------------------

To the world, you may only be one person. But to one person, you may be the world.

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