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Passions in Poetry

Dark Poetry

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IcyFlamez89
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since 02-14-2003
Posts 300
Jersey City NJ


25 posted 06-28-2003 12:25 PM       View Profile for IcyFlamez89   Email IcyFlamez89   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit IcyFlamez89's Home Page   View IP for IcyFlamez89

Okae, obviously there were going to be a wide range of replies to explain what Dark poetry is. But Dark poetry, or anything else we consider an art has a whole spectrum of meanings, and each of us likes to look at one part of that sprctrum, while others look at another range. It's nice to see how many different replies there are, it's like a peek into how others view my poems. Anyways, I'd like to ask something that's hopefully much easier to answer. What do you guys feel or think when you read some of the dark poems?
Temptress
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26 posted 06-29-2003 01:33 AM       View Profile for Temptress   Email Temptress   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Temptress

I'm not looking for answers, because there isn't any one answer to what Dark poetry is supposed to be.

The question I asked is what are YOUR personal ideas of what Dark poetry should be like. I want to know what you think Dark poetry is, not what others or any set of rules would define it to be.

I hope that makes more sense.

You could hurt me with your bare hands. You could hurt me using the sharp edge of what you say. JEWEL

Sunshine
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since 06-25-99
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Listening to every heart


27 posted 06-29-2003 11:41 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine


Responsible exploration of the dark side of life.  What it is like to be depressed.  What it is like to feel hope is lost.  What it is like to have panic attacks, or know that you are bipolar, and what you feel when your medication is not working.

Things like that.
anonymousfemale
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since 02-02-2000
Posts 6304
Limbo


28 posted 06-29-2003 12:58 PM       View Profile for anonymousfemale   Email anonymousfemale   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for anonymousfemale

A lot of you seem to be forgetting that Dark Poetry isn't limited to simply being in a 'dark' mood. You're talking about depression and exploring another side of your mind not fully able to be presented to the outside world yet how many of you can say you sat down and wrote a piece that was morbid in content yet not necessarily in mood?

This is a blatant stereotype of a genre constantly pushed to the side for fear of reading into a bad part of a human beings psyche. While dark poetry is, yes, an exploration of a deeper sort of emotion, it should not always be deemed black in more ways than one because of four little letters. That's exactly the same as saying all Romantic Poetry is about some person finding their true love and writing one thousand poems on it becuase love is such a magical feeling. We know that's not true because of what we know. However, that little shroud placed over dark is still there DESPITE the knowledge that most of you have. It goes both ways.

Many a time I have placed myself in front of a piece of paper and written about a slightly off colour topic but my mood has been fine. Does it make me any more depressed than what I currently am? Not that I'm aware of. In my current situation you would expect pages and pages of poetry about my horrid state yet there has been nothing written. Many have done the same thing - when faced with situations that appear to be seemingly darker than your average bear, it's automatically assumed that it will be reserved for a special place in a less visited side of this site. If the writer is making you THINK about the topic and not the MOOD of the poet, then they're doing a good thing. If you want to write depressive words and place them in a public forum, good for you. Remember, though, dark poetry is created through understanding yourself and your content - not how morbid you can make your words sound.

I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.

Ron
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29 posted 06-29-2003 06:27 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
TasteOfOctober said I think of poetry on a much bigger scale. I mean, as the driving force of life and existence and yes, even change. A force that simply is. Much like the majority view on God.

Encompassing, but it doesn't change my point. Whether I'm going to worship God or poetry, I still want to understand both as best I'm able. And that inevitably means categorizing and applying labels.

If you are arguing that all poetry has "something" in common with all other poetry, then I agree. Every animal on Earth has something in common with every other animal. If you are arguing there is no discernible difference between poems and they thus cannot be classified, then I obviously disagree. Mammals and reptiles have commonalties, but they also have singular differences. A failure or refusal to recognize those differences only leads to foolish attempts to shave a snake. It also makes it impossible for us to ever talk about mammals or reptiles. Our conversations will always be limited to talking about animals.

quote:
serenity blaze said But we do remember the rules of the game, but isn't new form of Art created when we dare to reach and be innovative?

Absolutely. But innovation, by definition, is something new, and barring dumb luck, the only way to be consciously innovative is to first understand what has gone before. Otherwise, again barring dumb luck, we're just repeating the mistakes of others. And that's not necessarily a bad way to learn. I just question whether it's always the best way.

quote:
serenity blaze said The lines come in very handy when learning form. But I try not to let the definitions define me.

We are ALL, I think, defined by our definitions. It is the commonality that binds us to each other and allows us to communicate. The all-too-common tragedy is when our definitions only partially mesh and the inevitable result is miscommunication and misunderstanding. That's why I feel threads and questions like this one are a good thing. Agreeing on our definitions (or agreeing to disagree) leads to better communication and greater understanding.

quote:
serenity blaze asked Just how responsible are we for the effect our words have on others? I've asked this many times, and yes, the standard answer is "we are responsible for everything we do."

But I can't help but think of Salinger and "Catcher In The Rye." OR? THE BIBLE. Do we really hold an author responsible for a reader's interpretation?


quote:
littlewing said No way are we responsible for an interpretation by someone else . . . we write what we feel - they see what they see

I can only offer my own opinion, of course, but I suspect both Karen and Sue already know I'm going to disagree with their inference. I believe we ARE responsible for everything we do, and that is most especially true of the words we write.

Obviously, someone somewhere is inevitably going to read something into our words that we never intended. Is that our fault? It would be very easy to say no, it's not our fault, but the minute we do that, we abrogate ALL of our responsibilities. We can't be a little bit responsible for what we write, we can't even be mostly responsible. It's all or it's nothing. We choose our audience, we choose our themes, we choose our words, we determine the meaning and the clarity of everything we write. It is always OUR responsibility to get it right.

But still, someone somewhere is inevitably going to read something into our words that we never intended? Does that mean we should stop trying? No, but in my opinion, it does mean we need to be aware of the risks we run and insure that the benefits of what we write at least outweigh the dangers. Salinger, I think, did that, as did the writer of the Bible. In The Catcher in the Rye, vulgarity is balanced with honesty, and darkness with an innocent, sometimes hilarious, naivete. Holden Caulfield is a real person, from which we can learn much the same lessons we learn from Hamlet or Stephen Dedalus or Huckleberry Finn. The Bible, in a very different way, offers an often intentional ambiguity that leads to more powerful insights than truths given to us on a silver platter ever will. Both Catcher and the Bible can be, and certainly have been, misunderstood. But I think the respective writers knew that, expected it, and considered it an acceptable cost for what was being offered.

Ready for one my analogies?

Your responsibility as a writer is very little different than your responsibility as a parent. Every single thing you choose to do or not do affects your child for good or bad. It is NOT the child's job to figure out what we mean.

We know we're not perfect parents, but we all want to believe that the good far outweighs the bad, else none of us could ever find the courage or strength to be parents. That doesn't mean, as parents or as writers, we should ever blithely accept the bad. Having done twenty or fifty or a hundred good things this week doesn't mean we can lock our kid in the closet for the night, because while the good can outweigh the bad, it never eliminates our continuing responsibility for both. Our responsibility to our children is all-encompassing. So, too, is our responsibility to our readers.

Of course, if all parents were a Robert Young or a Harriet Nelson, society would need no rules for child abuse or neglect. And most of the rules in these forums would be completely unnecessary if everyone here was a Salinger, or a Shakespeare, or a Ginsberg. (And they would be unenforceable if anyone was God.) Poetry about suicide, drugs, or vulgarity carry an enormous risk of being misinterpreted, but that danger can and often has been balanced by a good writer's sense of responsible truth and insight. Risks can be accepted when balanced with corresponding or greater benefits. As writers, I think we must be willing to accept the responsibility for both.

Our rules do exist, however, because what we too often see from fledgling writers is all of the risks and almost none of the benefits. "I died for love" is a lie and a cliché, blood and guts is sensationalism and a cliché, and profanity that characterizes the author and not a narrator is just vulgar, disrespectful and a cliché. These unbalanced poems, perhaps, need to be written if the fledgling writer is to become the accomplished writer. Sharing them here, however, only actualizes the risk and perpetuates the clichés.

I'm going to go out on a limb, and in all likelihood irritate quite a few people, by suggesting that poetry flowing directly from the heart to the pen will very rarely represent a suitable balance between risk and benefit, and I think that is especially true of dark poetry because the risk is so much greater.

The emotions of a given moment, what the writer is feeling with pen in hand, are too typically one-dimensional to be balanced. Holden Caulfield is a memorable, well-rounded character because Salinger showed us both the light and the dark, the risk and the corresponding gain. I have no doubt his story came from the heart, but only after being mediated by the mind. Salinger didn't romanticize a single moment of darkness. He explored a much wider world, knowing that just as light cannot exist without darkness, the darkness cannot be seen or experienced in the absence of light. Writing from the heart is only the start of good poetry, a path every writer must find for themselves and, having found it, must be willing to leave so they can explore the edges and alleys and occasional crossroads that will lend balance and depth. That is true of all poetry, I think, but it is especially true of dark poetry.

The danger and risk, I think, is that some writers, both fledgling and accomplished, feel the only way to survive the dark is to embrace the dark, to welcome it, to become it. In doing that, I feel they lose the balance and destroy the truth. Life isn't butterflies and beautiful sunsets. But no matter how dark the night, those butterflies and sunsets still exist in some unseen corner of everyone's world, and to deny them is no less a lie than denying the night.

Dark poetry isn't about escaping the light. It is about learning to survive in the dark.

On a related note, I hear a lot of very talented writers say they don't want their poetry to have a single meaning, that they want every reader to take from it whatever they can find. In my opinion, they have mistaken depth, which is always a good thing, for ambiguity, which is rarely good. Poetry shouldn't be a Rorschach test, where we throw ink on a piece of paper, squish it together, and then see what the observer "gets" out of it. Depth, I think, comes from the complexity of the theme and of the author's psyche, not from intentional ambiguity. When a reader takes something from a work that was not intended, it's most often because the complex unconsciousness of the writer put them there.

Yes, Karen, in my opinion "we are responsible for everything we do," including how others interpret what we write. I also recognize, however, that this seemingly simple declaration is anything but simple. There are shadows within shadows, and at least one very glaring paradox.

If we are to be responsible for everything we do, the not so obvious corollary has to be that the actions of others must be their responsibility and never ours. We can open the door, but what someone does on the other side of that door isn't our fault. The paradox is that we are still responsible for our words, still responsible for the effect they have on others, but can no longer be held responsible for the actions to which our words may incite others. A paradox, indeed.

Yet, in paradox we often find truth. To return to my earlier analogy, a parent is responsible for everything they teach their child, but no parent yet has found a way to live the child's life for them. We have to do everything right that we possibly can, and then, as the child grows older, stand aside and pray to God it was enough. To paraphrase John Donne, no child "is an island, entire of itself; every [child] is a piece of the continent, a part of the main" that is the parent's (and the writer's) legacy.

Accept your responsibility to the reader, just as you accept your responsibility to your child.

Write every story, every poem, every line as if it was being read by your daughter or son, at whatever age they might be when they need to hear your words. Give them the same honesty you give them now, the same love, and when necessary, the same toughness. It is your responsibility to get it right. Accept that responsibility, remember it, and you just might get it right more often than wrong. At least, that, I think, is what will keep most of us going.
Local Parasite
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30 posted 06-29-2003 07:09 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

quote:
Dark poetry isn't about escaping the light. It is about learning to survive in the dark.


Strange.  I guess everyone really has a different opinion on what Dark Poetry is.  I wish there was some original text you could go back to and reference from to justify any one opinion, but I can't think of any, myself...

All I know is that I disagree with you, Ron, and most of you guys, about the deciding variable being a poem's content when it comes to being dark or not.  I think dark poetry is ALL about tone.  Dark poetry is the stuff that makes my pupils thin and my mouth open a little and that line of drool come down and drop on the page (or keyboard) without my noticing.

Haha... maybe I'm really just confusing it with GOOD poetry?    

Honestly though... the difference for me is definitely the tone.  Most recently I think of Shelley's poetry.  I read "To a Skylark" during my break at work (and I think I ran over my break limit a bit, but don't tell), and the feeling I got when I finished it was one of awe and amazement, but it was VERY different from the awe and amazement felt reading dark poetry.... specifically Ezra Pound's "The Garden," which I read the day before and reread yesterday, just because I like it so much and wanted to get more from it.

I'm not trying to show off how well-read I am or anything--faaar far from it, I'm only beginning to read both of these poets... I'm trying to prove my point.  It wasn't the content of "The Garden" which gave it that dark feel, necessarily.  It was the language, the poetry, which gave it that darkness.  I can't help thinking that if someone like, say, John Keats wrote "The Garden," it would be a million times different... and it would mean the same thing, but it wouldn't strike the reader as being a dark poem.  It would just simply lack that quality...

I don't know, it's very hard for me to describe what I'm trying to say in specifics... I guess you could say the difference between dark and non-dark (I'm not going to say "light," that's silly) poetry is the same as the difference between a red and a purple tootsie pop... they both take as many licks to reach the center, and they both have chocolate in the middle.  But they're so different, aren't they?

As for that citation I took at the start of my post, well, the primary reason I disagree with it is because dark poetry doesn't have to be about oneself, at all... it can be (and most of the dark poetry I consider best is) about something more universal and less personal... something more meaningful and less petty, than just one's own small problems.

[This message has been edited by Local Parasite (06-29-2003 07:12 PM).]

serenity blaze
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31 posted 06-29-2003 07:28 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I'm saving this--I've been waiting for someone to address these points for a long time, and I intend to read this carefully.

Ron?

This is such a thoughtul and gentle treatment of my question. I want you to know how very much I appreciate your taking the time. This issue is something very important to me, and I intend to put as much care and effort into understanding this as you did in writing your reply. Thank you very much.

Yer a doll.
littlewing
Member Rara Avis
since 03-02-2003
Posts 9998
New York


32 posted 06-29-2003 07:45 PM       View Profile for littlewing   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for littlewing

Ron:

this statement is pure perfection:

The danger and risk, I think, is that some writers, both fledgling and accomplished, feel the only way to survive the dark is to embrace the dark, to welcome it, to become it. In doing that, I feel they lose the balance and destroy the truth. Life isn't butterflies and beautiful sunsets. But no matter how dark the night, those butterflies and sunsets still exist in some unseen corner of everyone's world, and to deny them is no less a lie than denying the night.


Poetry in itself, actually.

I do agree with your views on the blood and guts writing, to me that is pain or shock value writing.
The reason I disagree with a writer being responsible for what they write lies in the write itself.  (and I do not include the blood and guts writing - this, to me is unjustified and is asking for trouble, especially in an online forum where it is difficult to tell what is real and what is not).
If I write something, I love when someone gets something out of it that even I didnt see, this lends to my better understanding of poetry and vision. Many times, I will read something and maybe one line will speak to me.  If it makes me cry, do I hold that writer responsible?  Of course not.  It is my problem that it touched me as it did, not that of the writer.  They are not responsible for my emotions or what I have derived from their work.  

As a writer, yes - we should think about what we write and do it in such a fashion where people will enjoy reading it and maybe take something from it whether it be happiness or sadness.
That, in my opinion, is solely the readers own psyche working.  

For example, if one is to write of a disturbing subject matter such as abuse, violence or neglect, it should be done in such a manner that the reader relates to the poet in a fashion of empathy or caring. When a reader takes something else from a writing, maybe not intended by the writer, to me that is the readers responsibilty.  I cannot be responsible for the psyche of others.  What I can be accountable for is the content in which I write it.

Brian has many good points up there.
Ron I thank you for replying to this.  
Your points are very well taken indeed.

Here is a beautiful example of dark as I see it:

Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

In the desert (III)

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said: "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter - bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."


xxoo              

[This message has been edited by littlewing (06-29-2003 08:00 PM).]

Ron
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33 posted 06-29-2003 08:08 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
As for that citation I took at the start of my post, well, the primary reason I disagree with it is because dark poetry doesn't have to be about oneself, at all... it can be (and most of the dark poetry I consider best is) about something more universal and less personal... something more meaningful and less petty, than just one's own small problems.

Whoa! There is no such thing as poetry, or art of any kind, that isn't personal and directly about the artist. Whether you write about a sixth-grade friend moving to another city, prom night spent alone, or social elitism, the poem is always about the author, and the feelings a part of the author's psychic repertoire. The universal and the personal are not contradictory elements.

But I agree, by and large, about the tone being an integral part of dark poetry (or dark writing, for that matter). I don't think, however, that it defines dark poetry so much as it is characteristic. Tone, without reference to content, takes us into musical realms, not poetic ones.
Ron
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34 posted 06-29-2003 08:34 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
When a reader takes something else from a writing, maybe not intended by the writer, to me that is the readers responsibilty.

If I hand a friend a banana, the gift is my responsibility. If my friend sticks it in his ear, THAT is his responsibility.

In other words, I believe what a reader gets out of a work is always the writer's responsibility. Ambiguity and lack of clarity can never be blamed on the reader. But what a reader DOES with what they find in our words becomes their own responsibility.

Sometimes, I know, ambiguity is a necessary ingredient of depth. In my opinion, that can justify the potential for misunderstanding, but it will never remove our responsibility for it. We should always remember, with every word we write, that our friend just might stick it in his ear.

quote:
I cannot be responsible for the psyche of others.

We are all responsible for the psyche of others, Sue. We are responsible for how our words and actions affect anyone we dearly love, most especially our children. When my third child was born, a son, we went through four weeks of hell with the worst diaper rash I've ever seen. I'm talking open, bleeding sores. Turned out he was allergic to the cream. Was that baby's suffering our fault? Maybe, maybe not. But it most assuredly was our responsibility.


Aenimal
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35 posted 06-30-2003 08:59 AM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

Ron I have to disagree

Ambigiouity is one of if not THE most vital components of art and artistic expression. Galleries and exhibitions of art are founded on the prinicple of interpretation. Think of the Mona Lisa unquestionably the most famous piece of artwork in the world. The intrigue of an otherwise average painting (by Leonardo's and renaissance standards)lies in the ambigiuty of her slight smile which draws the attention of the viewer and leaves one with questions and countless possibilities.

Certain types of art thrive and are based on the principles of the viewer's interpretation. And I think many writers would tell you the same. If I were to choose an ambiguous lyric you'd find that most everybody would take something different from the song. Artists love this and will often say in interviews that they are intrigued and amazed at the different interpretations given by both fans and critics alike. You also find that when writer's are asked as to the 'meaning' or 'intent' of their work they will avoid or shy away from answering. This has to deal with another vital aspect in that we all write for PERSONAL reasons. Just because I choose to post or publish a piece of work, for my own gratification, doesn't mean that the reader is entitled to an explanation or clear insight into my personal life or thoughts.

Finally with reference to your comment that while the fault is not the writer's, as your baby's rash was not yours, the responsibilty is, I must disagree. You open a huge can of worms with a statement like this. By applying this to authors and artists it implies liabilty and therefore legal ramifications. A teenager stupid enough to commit suicide over a rock lyric would be cause for a lawsuit against the musicians who penned them. If not directly then indirectly which could still mean a wrongful death suit and charges from negligence to manslaughter. This of course would stretch into all areas of art and entertainment. Completely draining what's left of creativity in art.

Lastly if a someone is stupid enough to kill themselves of a lyric or stupid enough to thrust a banana in their ear it's a matter of a handy tool called natural selection. Survival of the fittest and smartest.

[This message has been edited by Aenimal (06-30-2003 09:04 AM).]

Ron
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36 posted 06-30-2003 10:47 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Lastly if a someone is stupid enough to kill themselves of a lyric

It's usually only stupid, Raph, until it's your own son or niece or little brother who does it. For most of us, callousness ends where personal tragedy begins.

Sigh ...
Aenimal
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37 posted 06-30-2003 11:49 AM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

Ron I'm not callous and if you knew anything about me you'd know that. Would I feel pain if this kind of tragedy reached me of course.
The fact still remains that I would not blame a writer for those words and that suicide especially over something as mundane as a lyric is stupid. Sorry to be Honest but there is such a thing as a stupid or needless death.

I've been through enough and have known enough people that have flirted and faced that decision for far better reasons but I've helped people through and luckily been helped to continue on.
Callous...indeed.

[This message has been edited by Aenimal (06-30-2003 11:49 AM).]

serenity blaze
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38 posted 06-30-2003 12:37 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Well now. This has taken an unfortunate turn.
I asked the question out of a personal search for moral responsibility--I've had my own poems pulled twice at MY suggestion because I had misgivings about the interpretation. One was a metaphorical poem regarding death (it was New Year's Eve) that was apparently so convincing I had e mails from around the world asking if I was okay.
Even though it was not against guideline, I preferred it be pulled rather than have people worry, or worse, inadvertantly convince someone that suicide is a viable option. The second was misconstrued as a personal attack. COMPLETELY misinterpreted. But nevertheless? I had it pulled. It was more important to me to consider the person's feelings--that over-rode my need to "express myself." Both times it was a judgement call on my part as to what I could live with--I beat myself enough over things I CAN'T control, so no need to add fuel to my insomniatic fire.

I don't believe that Ron was implying you, personally are callous Raph. I think it was in response to the statement of "natural selection." An unfortunate choice of words I think, but it further illustrates the point that our words define us.

Which leads me to my statement that I don't let definitions define me. Of course, out of context that is rather ridiculous. I admit also, it's not exactly what I meant. But then? I wrote that out sloppily, and I'm not surprised that it was misconstrued. What I was referring to was that in my study of forms of poetry, I do at first adhere to the rules--but later I take the knowledge that I need and I give myself carte blanche to use them or lose them as I see fit. I don't constrain myself--I enjoy learning the discipline of writing within form and walk away with a new appreciation of the artistry of the "masters" who make it seem so easy...smiling wicked, such as the sestina.

As to innovations? I'm not pretending I can do something original, but sometimes innovations are something as simple as taking form and adding a personal twist. Consider for example impressionistic painting, which was lambasted and reviled for sometime before the beauty of it was appreciated. We can go on and on, but I run the risk of comparing myself with the incomparable too.

Now, as for personal liability--I don't think a hard and fast rule can apply. Right now, for example? I am watching a 75-year old cypress tree begin to lean dangerously toward my kitchen. It's planted in the city park behind my house. It's not the city's fault the ground is saturated and the wind is blowing fairly hale, but yanno what? I'll bet they are going to come anchor/remove that tree after this storm--because although they didn't CREATE the tree, or even plant it--it is posing a danger to my kitchen, and they are fully aware that they are responsible for the maintenance of the park.

So yes, although I'm still confused regarding this issue, I have come to the conclusion that I will live according to the laws of what I personally can live with. No way am I, (nor is Ron, I believe) advocating censorship. And Raph, I do know you, and you are certainly not callous. If anything, much like myself, you are pretty tough on yourself.

And I have more to say, but danged if it ain't storming here, and yanno what? I have loose things hanging around my yard, and around here? I'm held liable if that stuff flies around the neighborhood and damages my neighbor's property.

So...Peace, good poets. I have to go run between the raindrops for now.

  
Michael
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39 posted 06-30-2003 02:27 PM       View Profile for Michael   Email Michael   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michael

For most of us, emotion flows in and out at some level, reaching periodic highs and lows, but with a relative medium.  Then for some, emotion just bleeds.  We never seem to find that "high" side.

For me, that's what Dark Poetry is - it's my lifeblood.  It's not something I ever plan on writing, it's purely a release of darkness, sadness, emtiness, anger, what have you - emotions that would otherwise eat me alive.

Still, I would have to say it goes a little deeper than that.  I have always believed the best poetry is that written true to the heart, yet there are times when I can't even identify the emotions I am feeling or understand just where they are stemming from.  In my honest opinion, some of my best poetry has come at these times, though.  I think it's simply because at these times I have no real tangibles to offer, but merely emotion to convey.

I can't tell you the number of times people have told me they didn't fully understand what my poetry meant but it made them feel any number of dark emotions, and to me, nothing could make me feel more accomplished.

I don't believe in glorifying suicide and violence, and much of what I see termed Dark Poetry seems to leave a bad label on the term by trying to do just that.  Still, to find understanding of how someone becomes suicidal to begin with, to feel that pain which is generally the driving point of rage, or simply touch an emptiness which lies beyond all imagination to me can be the truest aspects of what Dark Poetry is.
Michael

[This message has been edited by Michael (06-30-2003 02:29 PM).]

Ron
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40 posted 06-30-2003 02:40 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

"Sorry to be Honest," Raphael, but I see no other way to interpret your application of "survival of the fittest or smartest" to human beings except as callous. Natural selection is fine for breeding cows, but has no conceivable place in a social context.

I could have tip-toed around in my response, but being responsible for my words doesn't mean I have to mince them. I don't often use an emotionally-loaded word like callous, and when I do, I do so with the hope it will have the desired effect. If you can't honestly recognize the coldness of your argument, then I misjudged.

As to liability, please go back and read what I said earlier. Being responsible for your own actions does not make you responsible for the actions of others. If I call your earlier statements callous, I take responsibility for those words, and recognize I am unlikely to convince you of much of anything immediately after antagonizing you. That's my fault, and perhaps the result of frustration, for both of which I apologize. If you get mad, on the other hand, that is entirely your responsibility, not mine. I didn't make you angry, I only supplied the trigger. It was your choice how to exercise it. Accepting responsibility for my words doesn't make me liable for your actions. Responsibility and liability are not the same thing, even when they sometimes overlap.

FTR, there are two types of suicide, neither of which has ever been caused by song lyrics or bad poetry.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 90 percent of all suicides are closely associated to clinical depression and chronic substance abuse. These are medical problems, with medical solutions. A very large part of the reason our Guidelines about suicide exist is because you cannot "talk" someone with a medical problem into feeling better. It doesn't work with a broken bone and it won't work with severe depression. At best and worst, anything we could do on-line would be an aspirin, one that might just be effective enough to keep someone from getting the real help they need. Alleviating symptoms, without addressing cause, can be a very dangerous thing.

Most of the remaining suicides, nearly ten percent, are attempts that went too far. Someone was trying to make a point, probably a point romanticized in bad lyrics and poetry and prose, and failed to give themselves enough wiggle room. "I'm going to prove I love you by killing myself" is a perennial favorite, perhaps accounting for the fact that more attempts are made by females, even though males are four times more likely to die from suicide. "Everyone will be sorry when I'm gone" is another favorite, maybe partially accounting for the fact that suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people.

No one has ever killed themselves because they were in love, because they were lonely, or because no one seemed to be listening to them. And no one has ever killed themselves because they read a poem or heard a song. Triggers are not causes, excuses are not reasons, and desperation is not stupidity.

I've been waiting for someone here to ask the obvious question. If I am responsible for my own actions and words, to whom should I be responsible?

Aenimal
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41 posted 06-30-2003 04:57 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal


Now those are all great points about suicide vs lyrics. Mine was never a point of whether they did or did not cause suicide Ron. My point was that we have seen these kind of lawsuits where the families of the deceased or failed suicide victims sue artists citing song lyrics as the culprit.
You say responsibility and liable are different things even when they overlap. But its in the overlap that the danger lies.

My point was only that if that were indeed the case that artists take responsibility even though they aren't at fault, just like you took responsibilty for the rash, then lawyers would have a field day and artists would be liable for anything that a reader, listener/viewer may do in interpreting their art.

I find it dissapointing that that was the only comment you felt a need to respond to. Rather than comment on my reply to the thread you chose to single out what i deemed a offhand closing remark. Dark humour yes it was a reference to a George Carlin bit. Callous no. I still think suicide is a stupid and lazy way out. you needn't bother
reposting the causes I know them only too well on a personal level as well as a researched level. I also know enough 'live' stats to know what its all about. But we remain and fight no matter how desperate the situation is. Suicide is tragic of course, any death before its time is by definition tragic. But it still doesn't change the fact that it's 'senseless' if you prefer that word to stupidity.


You say desperation is not stupidity but it can cause us to make stupid decisions. Take the recent example of the kid who jumps off the roof emulating the series Jackass. Did I feel sympathy for him breaking his back? Yes. Was it a stupid thing to do desperate for attention? Yes.

Look continue on this if you choose but I'd much rather have stayed on the topic.

Aenimal
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42 posted 06-30-2003 05:06 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

And keeping with the topic poetry is art. art is a reflection of society. Society is not static however and is subject to change on all levels from fashion sense to morals.
Therefore how can one put boundaries, rules or truly classify art when it is ever changing as a reflection of the 'current' society.
If one where to truly define and set limits to art it would have died long ago and there never would have been the brilliant movements we've seen over the centuries. Likewise to say THIS is what poetry IS or should be is depreciatory to the artform. If we had stuck by the boundaries of poetry then free verse surely would not exist (and some argue it shouldn't.) Yet we do have it because of a departure from rules or perceptions of what poetry should be.
It's my belief than that poetic license is not a handy excuse but a tool for evolving and experimenting with art.

[This message has been edited by Aenimal (06-30-2003 05:10 PM).]

Ron
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43 posted 06-30-2003 06:23 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
You say responsibility and liable are different things even when they overlap. But its in the overlap that the danger lies. My point was only that if that were indeed the case that artists take responsibility even though they aren't at fault, just like you took responsibilty for the rash, then lawyers would have a field day and artists would be liable for anything that a reader, listener/viewer may do in interpreting their art.

There is only an overlap, Raph, where there is liability. Your fear of litigation and loss of freedom would have to also apply to every parent/child relationship. Or are you suggesting parents aren't responsible for what they teach their children? Yet, in spite of that accepted responsibility, we don't hear anyone suggesting a law suite against the parents of Jeffery Dahlmer?

Liability always implies responsibility, but responsibility need not imply liability.

quote:
But it still doesn't change the fact that it's 'senseless' if you prefer that word to stupidity.

Senseless makes more sense than stupid, but ...

quote:
You say desperation is not stupidity but it can cause us to make stupid decisions.

Not nearly as many as does love and sex.

I didn't take umbrage with you calling it stupid, Raph. Fact is, I tend to agree. I took umbrage, rather, with the implication that we shouldn't care because it's stupid. I'd guess that about 99.9 percent of all the problems in the world are caused by stupidity, and 99.9 percent of those that we personally experience are caused by our OWN stupidity. By and large, people do really stupid things, and usually not out of desperation. Shrugging our shoulders at someone else's stupidity isn't a good answer, either to their stupidity or to our own.

quote:
Therefore how can one put boundaries, rules or truly classify art when it is ever changing as a reflection of the 'current' society.

No one is talking about boundaries or rules, but we classify art all the time. Else you couldn't reference free verse as you just did. Or poetry either, for that matter. Trying to reach an agreement on a classification does NOT chisel that classification into stone. It just makes it a lot easier to talk to each other about things.
Wind
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44 posted 06-30-2003 07:20 PM       View Profile for Wind   Email Wind   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Wind

woah...a lot of smart things, I keep my peace by not taking sides

I said I'm going to buy a gun and start a war,
If you can tell me something worth fighting for
-coldplay

littlewing
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45 posted 06-30-2003 10:13 PM       View Profile for littlewing   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for littlewing

Regardless of the numerous examples that have been given regarding parenting and art, I still do not feel responsible or will be held accountable for what the reader interprets from my writing.

If we must get that ridiculous then I might as well sue Krispy Kreme donuts or the advertising agency because I gained five pounds from eating their donuts. Then someone will say, "Sue, you have CHOSEN to eat those donuts."  And yes, I did choose.  CHOOSE.  They didnt force feed me the donuts, I ate them.  Hence, I do not force anyone to read my writing, they CHOOSE to.  Therefore, they are held accountable for choosing.  

Local Parasite
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46 posted 06-30-2003 10:16 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

I really really want to reply.  I disagree with everyone, though, and watch me get attacked back in return... ahaha... well here we go!

FIRST of all, I think that the whole idea of writing for the purpose of leaving your writing up to interpretation is a really pointless way to write.  There was a huge decline in art when Walter Pater came along and said "it doesn't matter what is said as long as it is said beautifully."  Now look where we are!  People like that brought about all the idiotic go-nowhere democratic art that we see these days which pushes around the idea that everyone can be right because there IS no truth to art, or to anything.

Interpretation is fine.  When it's done correctly.  All this "why is a raven like a writing desk" stuff annoys me to no end.  If you're going to write poetry, HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY.  SAY it.  If people interpret it as being something you didn't intend, then it is either their fault or your responsibility.  It's not as simple as Ron seems to think it is, or any of you think it is... it's not always the writer's responsibility or always the reader's responsibility.  

It's the writer's responsibility if he didn't include enough in his poem in order for it to be interpreted as he meant it, OR if he included clues that pointed towards the poem's meaning being more clearly something he didn't intend than whatever he did intend.

It's the reader's responsibility if the poem was well-crafted and clear in its message, but the reader himself didn't take the time to think about the poem sufficiently, read it deeply enough to see its meaning, or simply lacked the intellect (or as Aenimal says, was too stupid) to understand what it meant.  I show Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn" to a three-year-old.  He tells me it's about dinosaurs.  Is that Keats' responsibility, Ron?

No, it's about audience.  I think most of us (us being poets who take our work seriously) write for a reasonably literate audience that doesn't mind investing a little thought into what we read.  If my poem about a dinosaur is vague and more about suicide than about a dinosaur, it's my responsibility if the intelligent reading public interprets my poem as being about suicide.  I should have been more clear in my poem.

If, however, my poem is clearly about a dinosaur but the reader interprets it as being about suicide, then I shouldn't be held responsible.  It's not about one party or the other, you guys... it's about whether one writes with the other in mind.

I don't think we should risk tailoring our poetry to the incredibly stupid just for the sake of saving a handful of lives that might kill themselves over my poem about a dinosaur.

[This message has been edited by Local Parasite (06-30-2003 10:19 PM).]

littlewing
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47 posted 06-30-2003 10:23 PM       View Profile for littlewing   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for littlewing

Well said indeed

Brian and Raph have presented beautiful
arguments and concluding with Brian's last statement, I rest my case.
Ron
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48 posted 07-01-2003 12:14 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
If we must get that ridiculous then I might as well sue Krispy Kreme donuts or the advertising agency because I gained five pounds from eating their donuts. Then someone will say, "Sue, you have CHOSEN to eat those donuts." And yes, I did choose. CHOOSE. They didnt force feed me the donuts, I ate them. Hence, I do not force anyone to read my writing, they CHOOSE to. Therefore, they are held accountable for choosing.

What if Krispy Kreme sold you a twelve-pack of donuts laced with cyanide, Sue? Are you seriously suggesting they're not liable for what they sell? Caveat Emptor?

Doesn't matter, though, because we're not talking about liability. We're talking about responsibility. Writers don't get sued for tossing a teaspoon or two of cyanide into their poems, though I have no doubt either of us could go into the DM archives and pull out a few examples of exactly that. A blatant lie told in the name of poetry is no less poisonous than cyanide. The fact that there is no liability only makes the responsibility that much more important.

quote:
Is that Keats' responsibility, Ron?

Yep. But it's not his fault.

Losing part of his audience was a price Keats knew he was going to have to pay to say what he felt he had to say. Just as I suspect Salinger knew his book was going to be banned in many high schools. Good writers make those kinds of choices, and then give us enough in return to make up for what they take away. Making choices isn't being irresponsible. It's usually a glaring failure to make choices that results in irresponsible writing. "This is what I want to say, this is how I want to say, and to hell with those stupid so-and-so's who don't understand what I 'really' mean." That's not just irresponsible writing, it's lazy writing.

quote:
It's the reader's responsibility if the poem was well-crafted and clear in its message, but the reader himself didn't take the time to think about the poem sufficiently, read it deeply enough to see its meaning, or simply lacked the intellect (or as Aenimal says, was too stupid) to understand what it meant.

If the writer can't engage the reader's interest sufficiently, you want to blame it on the reader? If the writer writes over the head of his audience, that's the audience's fault?

Try telling that to an editor someday.

Good writers don't just go out and find the truth and then throw it in the middle of the table. They make the truth desirable, palatable, and worth both the time and mental energy required to digest it. Readers need to be captured, seduced, and then continually cultivated, and any writer unwilling to accept that responsibility will find himself lonely and unread. Writing just for yourself, for an audience of one, is a fine thing to do. Just don't expect the audience to ever get much bigger than that.

You already know all of this, though, Brian. I'm just reminding you how it applies here.

Choosing your audience is a very big part of being responsible for your words, and I'm not suggesting it always (or ever) has to be the whole world. One should remember, though, that where you publish your words is necessarily a reflection of that choice.

EVERYTHING a writer writes is their responsibility. When you get it right, you deserve all of the credit. When you don't quite get it right, when you're misunderstood, when you lose your audience's attention, when your metaphors and symbolism fall on deaf (and dumb) ears, when you inadvertently say something really, really stupid - you get all of that credit, too.  

(Someone should start another thread on ambiguity in art, because it keeps getting lost in the shuffle in this one.)
Aenimal
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49 posted 07-01-2003 12:21 AM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

Or are you suggesting parents aren't responsible for what they teach their children? Yet, in spite of that accepted responsibility, we don't hear anyone suggesting a law suite against the parents of Jeffery Dahlmer? Liability always implies responsibility, but responsibility need not imply liability.

Actually Ron some people have suggested laws of a sort. And in fact, I'm not sure if it they passed but I recall laws to being propoesed to the effect that should a child under 18 cause damage to property or finable offences that the parents be held liable and pay all damages. In essence it's the same thing. And while no laws exists against the artists being liable they absolutely have been discussed and proposed before.
"Not nearly as many as does love and sex.
I didn't take umbrage with you calling it stupid, Raph. Fact is, I tend to agree. I took umbrage, rather, with the implication that we shouldn't care because it's stupid"

Well Ron love and sex cause the majority of desperation in the human species
And my point was, and what upset me was that it was a passing remark and if you did know me you wouldn't have called me callous. In fact on any given actually one of the most empathetic and senstitive psychos you'll ever meet. Sometimes you shrug your shoulders or joke about certain topics not because your callous but because you'll go crazy if you worry about everything all the time. Trust me on this.

Now I hope that clears that up, I have no problem with you I think we both make valid points and I respect your comments this is after all a conversation and I hope that you understand and respect mine.

That's the problem with forums its as hard to gauge a person's personality over a single comment as it is to see their reactions or hear their tones. Peace Ron maybe one day we'll sit and chat and who knows even agree on topics?? grins
 
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