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Passions in Poetry

Is Andy Rooney on Target?

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Balladeer
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0 posted 12-02-2002 09:22 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer


Sunday night on his Sixty Minutes wrap-up, Andy Rooney made the comment that he stopped reading poetry when somebody changed the rules to say that poetry doesn't need to rhyme. That, of course, is a silly comment since nobody made those rule changes but do you feel that the thought he expressed is a common one among your average man-on-the-street, I'm-not-a-poet-but-I-know-what-I-like  person? Is that a reason why poetry has lost so much of its popularity with the working man?

whaddayathink?
quietlydying
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1 posted 12-02-2002 10:04 PM       View Profile for quietlydying   Email quietlydying   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for quietlydying

i know why poetry has had its reputation torn apart and devoured by a pack of rabid dogs, only to thrown back up on the sidewalk.

but i'll just keep my mouth shut.

/jen/

i'm so bitterly disappointed.  betty, i think it's time you leave now.

Balladeer
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2 posted 12-02-2002 10:14 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Well, I must say I've never heard it described quite that way before, jen..LOL!
Local Parasite
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3 posted 12-02-2002 10:28 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

We have TV.  We have cinema.  We have broadway.  We have compact discs and rock music.

So what's poetry again?

That's a good point though, that Andy Rooney made... although it goes to show, people become interested in things not because it genuinely sparks their interest, but because it gives them some kind of pleasure.  If the charm of poetry becomes less musical and more intellectual and content-based, people aren't going to derive simple pleasure from it anymore, and it's just not going to be as popular as it once was.

The poem "The Raven" is very, very popular today.  And all it took was a persistent rhyme scheme and some trochees.  Think it would still be so popular without these elements?  The funny thing is, if you ask most people who profess to like this poem nowadays what it is about, they'll dumbfoundedly respond, uh, a raven?

Without this, poetry loses the appeal it once had, where mainstream music and TV are so much better at providing... why read poetry for simple pleasure when you can watch Dawson's Creek?
Miah
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4 posted 12-02-2002 10:36 PM       View Profile for Miah   Email Miah   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Miah

I think more people like poetry but won't admit it

I don't know I think we have been desensitized.  Were growing up in a world that is fast paced with a hard edge.

Poetry dosn't seem to fit in the equation of people's life styles.  

It seems that unless its "Cat in the hat" or jolly old limerick nobody thinks it's poetry.

Sorry if that seems harsh but it angers me when I tell someone I like poetry and they laugh and say it's sissy and boring.  I can't understand how you wouldn't like poetry?  Poetry can not only teach you about life, love, joy, sorrow etc, but it has the power to move and inspire! Anyway, sorry for the rambling.


Ron
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5 posted 12-02-2002 10:39 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I taught a Dreamweaver class today, to eight faculty members at Zeeland High School in Holland. As always in an Internet-related class, I use what we do here and at the main site as examples of various ways to do things on the web. Heck, I even use a quote from Shakespeare to show how software compression works. In other words, poetry comes up a lot. And today's class mimicked all but a handful of such classes I've taught in the past three years. There is inevitably one or two people in class who say that they, or maybe a close family member, will check out our sites later - because they've "been writing poetry forever."

In other words, I don't think I can agree that poetry has lost any popularity with the working man. And besides - just the thought that Andy Rooney might be right about something sounds like an oxymoron to me.
Essorant
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6 posted 12-02-2002 10:59 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I think rhyme is  poetry's cheifest crown and complement. It is what conveys most the feeling of what poetry is, and is what people most associate poetry with.  But there is this modern style in vogue growing more detached from the melodic element and  fixed upon a knobby style and mathematical precision with words, which starts to make art a very keycold process.   It becomes veery difficult to read and write and find the simple enjoyment, as Local Parasite mentioned, when it becomes too much like this, and I think this is one of the main reasons why poetry starts to get feared by people.
I don't think it should be just about pleasure but perhaps a golden mean in art is in seeking a a balance between the pleasure and the reason/thought of the piece.  


[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-02-2002 11:53 PM).]

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7 posted 12-02-2002 11:00 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

Poetry began as a way to tell the news..it was the 'balladeer' and 'troubador' who travelled from village to village to give the news in poetic form. I think our genes recognize the cadence and rhythm of rhymed poetry. A lot of 'new age' poetry is unrhymed and full of metaphors that may go above the head of the 'common man'.

Mike...your work is probably closer to what the common man relates to...as you know from the responses you get when you recite it.
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8 posted 12-02-2002 11:26 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Well, Ron, I can't agree with you more that Andy is a moron, or something like that , but I can't disagree with you more that poetry has become much less popular. In my own small world, I have around 300 customers and have discussed poetry with them at different times and the overwhelming response to poetry is, "I don't really care for it anymore. I can't understand it". That's from the women. The men just get a distasteful look on their faces. When I look at the books on their bookshelves (which I do), any poetry books are usually "Best Loved Poems of the American People" or maybe some Poe. This is not a thread to debate rhyme versus free verse but these people plus many others I talk to on the golf courses or wherever I go say they can't relate to something they have a hard time understanding. Well-written free verse is wonderful poetry but a lot of it involves deciphering. The average reader, from what I see, doesn't want to decipher. He/she wants to be entertained...and since free verse is the poetry du jour, especially in magazines since it occupies less valuable space, many people just don't bother reading it any more. It's not free verse's fault. It's just the nature of the beast. Rhyming poetry sticks in one's mind just as songs do because of the rhyme. How popular do you think songs would be if they didn't rhyme? I recall that, in Nan's workshop on free verse, Kamla came up with a two-word phrase and went into detail describing exactly what that phrase meant and how she arrived at creating it, step by step, and what it stood for. She raised my level of admiration for free verse by around 1000% with that example. It was brilliant and I would never have seen it if she hadn't described it. The problem is that the average person will not, and does not even want to go through all of the thought processes necessary to bring the value of that phrase to light. They simply want the poem to be entertaining. We can say that we will not bring our writing down to the level of our readers but bring our readers up to ours but that doesn't work. They will simply tune out, which they do. There was a famous poet (I have been wracking my brain to remember his name and I can't) who said poetry must do two things above all. First, it must entertain. Second, it must leave the reader with a little more wisdom than he had before reading.

   Poetry has not lost favor with the public? Stop 10 people on the street and ask them who their favorite poet is. Eight of them will say Robert Frost, Emily Dickenson or someone who died 150 years ago and two will say Maya Angelou or Rod McKuen, since their names have been in the news. I'm afraid that, possibly for the first time in his life, Andy was right. When poetry stopped rhyming, many people gave it up, which is sad in itself.
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9 posted 12-03-2002 08:13 AM       View Profile for Cpat Hair   Email Cpat Hair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Cpat Hair

Interesting Thoughts and insights...

I would argue however that free verse is not as difficult in many cases to understand as is rhyme. I offer that rhyme in so many cases is forced and the word structure used in order to allow the rhyme, forces the reader to abandon the way they usually read and have to "decipher" the statement due to this word order and or even meter. Regardless, of the merits of rhyme or free verse, my opinion remains that for anything to be appreciated, it has to have a relevence to the reader. Poems are often thought of as being only about affairs of the heart, if people want news, they go to CNN or if they want a debate on social issues they turn to other media sources. We are taught this is where we go to get informed.

Poetry was a way to recount history and tell the news as well as entertain. Rhyme and meter used as devices to help in remembering. This was long before the average person could read or write. The traveling poets were often part newscaster, part jester, part teacher. Tales and poems handed down one from the other in a society that had no organized news gathering agencies, no ministry of education, no media but the spoken word that reached the common man.

With all that, why would we even expect poetry to be as relevent to the average person? We today are blessed ( or cursed) with instant access to news events, we have multiple channels of entertainment, and education is available for the masss populace. ( I won't argue the quality of education nor will I speak to its shortfalls)

It to me is kind of like asking why is the pitchfork not as meaningful to the common man as it once was.


The debate related to free verse and or rhyme being harder to understand and therefore perhaps contributing to the feeling poetry is not accessible to the common person is one I find amusing.

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10 posted 12-03-2002 04:10 PM       View Profile for Wind   Email Wind   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Wind

We live in a world were popularity and what is "in" has taken over. Poetry just isn't "cool." But deep down in our hearts, there is a special place for poetry. Everyone in my class loves it when we do poetry. Society just needs to give it a chance.

Never be normal!

quietlydying
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11 posted 12-03-2002 05:47 PM       View Profile for quietlydying   Email quietlydying   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for quietlydying

poetry is fad right now.

and junior high classes enjoy poetry units because they're easy marks.  trust me, i was in junior high once too.

/jen/

i'm so bitterly disappointed.  betty, i think it's time you leave now.

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12 posted 12-03-2002 05:57 PM       View Profile for Cpat Hair   Email Cpat Hair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Cpat Hair

Jen,
  You are speaking in reply to Wind's comment I assume? If so, it may be true that it is somewhat fashionable for people going to Junior High to take poetry or look at poetry as an easy elective. Yet, even if taken for the wrong reasons does it not possibly foster an appreciation for it later?
Worst case scenario it does nothing to create an interest in the people taking it.

I am assuming also there is a significant age difference in yourself and Wind. If that is true and you are basing our comment on your own personal experiences in junior high, what would the length of the fad be? Long enough for it to be a trend rather than a short lived fad? Or would it be better described as a behavioral attribute you assign to the age group in question?

I am struggling just a little with what you intended to convey in your reply and want to make sure I understand.

thanks

Essorant
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13 posted 12-03-2002 06:25 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

That wasn't the way it was for me when I was in school. I had continuous difficulty with poetry.   I don't think it was just my fault though. But the academic way in which conveying was approached by the teacher would discuss it to smithereens. I could not for my heart pick up the smithereens and put them into poetic understanding as others seemd casually able to.  It would become very jumbled and confused with me.  But then I learnt how to just ignore the teachers in the excess of her business of vivisecting to death, and put my thoughts into a balance of finding a right place between vagueness and specific--and thats where the poems would often make sense, right at the moderation point, and my understanding there would grow.  Also just in taking the time to look up every word in the dictionary, no matter how many times I would forget.  This must sound very weird but it was a grave procedure in order for me to get good marks.   I'm glad it never ruined my personal ability to enjoy poetry.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-03-2002 06:28 PM).]

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14 posted 12-03-2002 07:19 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

cpat hair, I welcome your comments greatly because I respect you and your expertise with the written word. I agree wholeheartedly that we live in a different world now with many more distractions. Boy, am I glad the childhood I grew up in didn't have Nintendo or computers. My time was spent reading and playing sports. I can see myself as a twelve year old blob sitting in front of a computer screen ten hours a night, which is probably what I would have done...and what I would have missed! So I agree with that part. As far as which is harder to understand, I also agree that badly-written rhyme is the worst poetry imaginable. The errors are so glaring and sound so bad that the poem cannot be taken seriously. It is not so much that it is not understood...it is simply dismissed as being awful. To make the statement, though, that free verse is easier to understand than rhyme is hard to swallow. You, yes....and Duncan and Martie and a few others are very easy to read and understand due to your style. Others I find impossible to decipher. That's not their problem - it's mine, I suppose, that I am not clever enough to be able to follow their mind's direction in their writing. I'll be the first to admit my shortcomings there. The point is that there are many with that same problem and they don't really care to have to sit down and try to figure out what in the world the poet is trying to say. They want to be entertained or read something they can relate to, much in the same way they would prefer to see a nice Rembrandt than Picasso.

"The debate related to free verse and or rhyme being harder to understand and therefore perhaps contributing to the feeling poetry is not accessible to the common person is one I find amusing."

LOL! Well, if you find that amusing, then I'm pleased I was able to make you smile. I stand behind that thought 100%, and with reason. I've been giving poetry readings for almost 30 years to groups some of which were over 2000 people. Personally, I don't consider myself much of a poet and I mean that. I do have an ability to hold true to structure and rythm and can come up with ideas for poems but, basically, I just tell stories in normal everyday English without much poetic creativity involved. You have absolutely no idea how many hundreds of people over the years have made the statement "At least I can understand your poems, not like the other stuff that's out there" or words to that effect. If you think there are not a multitude of people out there that feel that same way then you are deluding yourself. There are...and those are the "common man" who can't relate....even the Andy Rooneys. ...and poetry HAS lost popularity because of it.

At least that's my humble opinion...
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15 posted 12-03-2002 07:57 PM       View Profile for Cpat Hair   Email Cpat Hair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Cpat Hair

(chuckling) Wouldn't be the first time I have deluded myself sir!

I understand your point about free verse being at times obtuse in meaning and even sometimes just a play of image and sound to evoke some aspect the original intent. That poetry can be plesing and demand a fair amount of "studying on" ( forgive my hillbilly) to understand or appreciate. I often think of it as the abstract art of poetry. A play of color, sound and image to create a feeling or evoke a memory. Other free verse often uses unusual word structure or phrase structure to twist the minds eye and describe things in a way that MAKES the reader pause to think... wanting to draw out and not gloss over how or what is being said.
A useful device and one that I find pleasant myself...but I understand it could be confusing. Still, If one sat down and read Shakespear to a crowd how many would get lost in the thee and thou? So I would argue ( respectfully of course) that it is not the form of poetry that is detrimental as you say to the common person enjoying it but the use of language and language structure within the form. I have written some pretty obtuse pieces....but for the most part am pretty plain spoken and easy to follow, especially if telling a tale. Free form without rhyme... the Iambe series can easily be understood by anyone. It may not hold an interest for many people, but it is easily read and understood. SO using this example, I would still argue it is not the form but the langauage and language structure within the form. To lump Language and language structure into either rhyme or free form and say it exclusive to only one is in my humble opinon a mistake.

Now I will grant you...and admit freely, to memorize poetry, rhyme and meter are very effective tools. VERY... just like children are taught the ABC's with the ABC song..we can see examples of these toold being used creatively and historically to keep oral traditions alive.

It amuses me... because I think words are a wonderful thing to explore and poets are word people... for them to then debate the form best serving the word, is like theology majors in college debating religion... aren't we preaching to the saved?

I also want to say I admire the way you are sharing your poetry and others I assume in having public readings. Often hearing things outloud can also give an appreciation to the audience...they know then how it supposed to be heard in their head, making it readily understandable or at least taking one additional obstacle to their understanding out of the way.

Now, having said all this... I also have to say I write for myself which is in many ways quite selfish and have not spent much time thinking or doing anything about the original issue you brought up. Awareness is important...and I must admit I appear to be as much a part of the problem by not reaching out more to people than the solution.  

BTW... I'm never going to admit Andy Rooney is right... no way... no way... can't make me.. no..I refuse...


quietlydying
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16 posted 12-03-2002 08:02 PM       View Profile for quietlydying   Email quietlydying   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for quietlydying

junior high has no electives, omit band and art.

at that age, thost units are welcomed as they are easy marks and a chance to slack off as anything one writes could be called 'poetry' if it has line breaks in the right places.

and yes, i used the wrong word.  poetry is a somewhat of a behavioural attribute for that age range, however it is also a trend.  remember magnetic poetry?

it seems that many teenagers write poetry because it's the 'cool' thing to do.  they want to be all bohemian-like, and thus writing poetry goes hand in hand with it.

it's like teenage wiccans.  they don't really exist [except for the small few].  the rest are just girls who use it to decorate their bedrooms, influence their wardrobe [and then complain about all of the 'looks' they get for it] and to have something to scribble on their binders [right beside the names of the boys they like].  their knowledge rarely goes past the four elements.  it's a trend thing.  poetry also goes hand in hand with this 'image'.

i'm tired, and i still have to go out, so i won't elaborate much more than that.  i'll let you use your imagination.  but you can pretty much capture the gist of what i'm trying to say.

/jen/

i'm freezing, i'm starving, i'm bleeding to death.  everything's fine.  [tracy bonham]

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17 posted 12-03-2002 08:08 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

ok..ok...I overstepped the boundaries of reason there. Andy could never be right about ANYTHING!!
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18 posted 12-03-2002 08:10 PM       View Profile for Cpat Hair   Email Cpat Hair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Cpat Hair

Ah Jen...thanks for clearing it up for me. Sorry you are tired..but hey seems like it is a way of life for a lot of us. I do submit for your thought however, that even though they may not exist ( teens enjoying poetry and or embracing it) even a small exposure to it being "cool" as a young person may allow them to actually find it more easily accessed as they mature and their reasons for expressing themselves change as well. Having said that, I do admit many people only have a passing or surface interest in writing. That being so, it is probably true in many ways that the written word whether poetry or fiction or great literary pieces is not appreciated by the mass populace.

go out.. get some sleep.... and we'll argue later. ( laughing)

Enjoy yourself...

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19 posted 12-03-2002 09:43 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Well, first, let me get this off my chest...I LIKE ANDY ROONEY!!! I love that dry sense of humor that he has. That's my favorite kind of humor. I may not always agree with what he says, but I love the way he says it! I want to get his latest book, Common Nonsense. I'm sure it will be very entertaining!

Do I agree with his estimation of the state of poetry today? Not really. I think that the average man on the street has never had any great interest in poetry. If and when they hear something really good (mostly by accident) it sticks with them (good rhythm and rhyme helps, but even free verse done well can make a lasting impression).

I think that the only people who really care deeply about poetry, who are really passionate about it, are the poets (hey, that's us, guys!), and maybe because it's so important to us, we tend to think everyone should love it as much (?)


Drop me a line for information about joining the Andy Rooney Fan Club (included in the low monthly membership fee, for a limited time only, is a 60 Minutes logo T-shirt, with the first 59 minutes missing, Andy's first unauthorized autobiography entitled, "Do You Ever Wonder Why...?", personally autographed by Andy himself, and a bottle of NO-DOZE, absolutely FREE!)  
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20 posted 12-03-2002 09:51 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Denise, I knew that, if I looked hard and long enough, I would find something that indicated you were not perfect...DA DUM!!!
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21 posted 12-03-2002 10:57 PM       View Profile for quietlydying   Email quietlydying   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for quietlydying

every time i hear about andy rooney, i always think of the one segment he did on cotton in the aspirin bottle.

he really hates it, if you wanted to know.  

but did anyone ever stop to think of what our pills would be like if there wasn't cotton in the bottle?  think of how horrible they would taste from being chipped and broken from banging around the plastic bottle.

has anyone ever tasted tylenol, or aspirin?  it's a horrible horrible taste [one of the worst ever].  and if you didn't pack it very tight, with somthing soft to absorb the energy of flying pills, then everyone would have to taste the loveliness of over-the-counter pain killers.

i mean, have you ever seen a postal employee enjoy their job?  just imagine what those poor packages go through...

/jen/

i'm freezing, i'm starving, i'm bleeding to death.  everything's fine.  [tracy bonham]

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22 posted 12-03-2002 11:15 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

'Deer, but you still love me!

Jen, yep I knew that!

And did you ever wonder why they make child-proof aspirin bottles that only children can open?

And why do we get our second teeth when we are only 6 or 7, and then they have to last us for the rest of our lives? Wouldn't it make more sense if we got that second set when we reaalllly needed them, like about 50 or 60?

And how come when you are a little kid,you have tons of energy and nothing to do, and when you are old you have tons to do but no energy?

And how come we only hear from politicians at election time? Wouldn't it be nice if, once in awhile, within a 4 year time frame, between elections, they would actually talk to or acknowledge their constituency? Invite us over for coffee at least?

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23 posted 12-04-2002 04:44 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine


OMG, Denise has been Roonieized...


[This message has been edited by Sunshine (12-04-2002 04:45 PM).]

Denise
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24 posted 12-04-2002 10:38 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise



And this time tomorrow I will have a personally autographed copy of his book, Common Nonsense. He came to the Free Library of Philadelphia, where I work, as a part of an Author series that we host from time to time and the organizer of the event is holding a book for me. Can't wait to get my mits on it!
 
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