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Passions in Poetry

Agree, or Disagree?

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Sunshine
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0 posted 01-16-2009 09:42 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine


William Kennedy said,

quote:
The more serious you are as a writer, the more you feel yourself an outsider that you'll never be someone who is going to organize the world and transform it in a logical way; you're never going to think in any kind of politically logical way, and you're never going to really have any power.

Emphasis added.

Do you agree, or disagree? I agree with part of it...but I don't think I can agree with all of it.
Larry C
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1 posted 01-16-2009 10:10 AM       View Profile for Larry C   Email Larry C   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Larry C's Home Page   View IP for Larry C

Karilea,
I'm not so sure I agree with any of it. Ecept, it was never my objective to be "someone who is going to organize the world and transform it in a logical way; you're never going to think in any kind of politically logical way, and you're never going to really have any power."

If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane,
I'd walk right up to heaven and bring you home again.

rwood
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2 posted 01-16-2009 12:36 PM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

I think it depends on what one writes, like Romance novels. One might seriously be involved in the endeavor, but in the real world? It's not only illogical, but one's lucky to get a real man with a Ford instead of a Knight on a big white horse.

I don't care if he transforms the world, he just needs to rock mine.

and I also think those who experience a more serious loss of power and probably feel like complete outsiders are those who can't read. Unfortunately, this is a very real state of sorrow for many.
Sunshine
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3 posted 01-16-2009 01:43 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

quote:
I also think those who experience a more serious loss of power and probably feel like complete outsiders are those who can't read.

I agree with that, Regina, but I don't think that was what Wm. Kennedy was referring to. I believe he was referring to not only the lonliness of the writer, but the writer's inability to really change anything, whether by fiction, non-fiction, or in any other form.

The more I talk to writers one on one, they that are serious about their writing also feel as if they are "outside" the norm of their peers. They do not normally relate to others as comfortably as they should, and I can understand the why and wherefore of that.  
latearrival
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4 posted 01-16-2009 04:48 PM       View Profile for latearrival   Email latearrival   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for latearrival

Sunshine. I love to read about writers. I noticed when  some give an interview they are not as talkative as one might expect. I think  most are really more comfortabnle  with themselves and that may just be who they are and why they write or it may be due to the time spent alone with their  thoughts. I think a lot of actors and actresses are the same way. Not all of course, but a good many. "late"
serenity blaze
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5 posted 01-16-2009 06:48 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Agree, or Disagree?

Not me.

I want more options.

RC Langill
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6 posted 01-18-2009 03:14 AM       View Profile for RC Langill   Email RC Langill   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit RC Langill's Home Page   View IP for RC Langill

During his life, Henry David Thoreau fit this description fairly well: a detached observer and outsider who lacked any leverage or influence on the political events of the day. His strong opposition to the Mexican War had no direct effect.

That isn't where the story ends though. On Civil Disobedience articulated principles that Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr acknowledged and employed to effect powerful transformations.  
OwlSA
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7 posted 01-20-2009 12:55 PM       View Profile for OwlSA   Email OwlSA   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for OwlSA

I think there are as many different personalities in writers as there are in non-writers, and so there are as many different answers, therefore my response is that I disagree.  

However, I agree with a small part - that is that writers feel like outsiders with regard to a part of their lives, but I find that with myself, the more I write (which is 99% poetry, as opposed to prose), the more I try to change the world!  

I am also a very firm believer that one person can change the world, starting with the part around oneself.  Look at Sister Theresa and Nelson Mandela who changed the world for the good - and Adolf Hitler and Robert Mugabe who changed the world for the worst.  These four people became famous (or notorious) because of what they did.  They were not world-renown before that.  The greatest limitations on what one can do are the two-word sentence, "I can't".  (Thank goodness, Obama is an "I can" man.)

Owl
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8 posted 01-20-2009 07:26 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

If you were to ask a writer to sit down and think about how to make a change in the country, he/she would sit for hours...thinking..dreaming..imagining..one scenario after another until you had to tell him/her that 3 years has gone by and still they haven't replied. Writers take a suggestion and pull it apart putting it back together in different forms. How can we be logical? There are so many ways to answer a question...so many ways to solve a problem...

When I'm writing fiction and am in need of  a plot, I just say..'what if'...and add whatever phrase I want. What if we wanted world peace? Well...there are so many ways we could achieve it, how can a writer choose just one? After all, we are writers! Our fortunes (or lack thereof) are given to us for the IDEAS we have..not the solutions.

Besides - most writers make the VERY best liars..and we don't want politicians to lie right? (smirk)

Sunshine
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9 posted 01-20-2009 10:02 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

In the beginning of this, this is what struck me most:
quote:
The more serious you are as a writer, the more you feel yourself an outsider

Diana [Owl] picked up on that. But I could not digress from all of the thought - it was a whole and productive way of thinking of that time and space. I wondered how it fits for now.

I know that as an author of a published novel, although not world-renown, it has reached a number of people, and none that I have heard from have had anything bad to say about it - while some read it for pleasure, some read it to see if they knew me as a person. Most were wrong in their perceptions.

I even had a person "who never reads anything but 'non-fiction'" come to me and tell me how surprised she was...now that's a kudo in the best light.

So while I agree with Kennedy's appraisement of seriousness, I wonder if I'll never be someone who might change anyone.


Bob K
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10 posted 01-21-2009 03:36 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Sunshine,

          I think Mr. Kennedy is responding from a 20th century academic writerly tradition.  In this statement I hear an echo of Auden's "Poetry makes nothing happen."  Many 20th Century writers have taken this position, especially 20th Century American writers, and it is widely accepted.

     It's even possible to trace the notion further back, to the Romantics, I suppose, and to the thinking of Shelly who felt that poets should be radicals but somehow ineffectual about it all.  "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world," he said, noisily abandoning the political lists to the Castlereighs of the world.  Poetry, moving behind the scenes with its passions, moods and ideas, Shelly felt, would eventually carry the day.

     Franz Kafka would seem to be the 20th Century poster child for this idea, the epitome of alienation and powerlessness, caught up in a faceless bureaucracy  when he wasn't writing, he was eventually swallowed by the Nazi terror during world war II.   Afterward, his influence emerged as part of the voice of existential alienation in the Mittleuropa of the time.

     Yet on the whole, when we look at how Kennedy actually defines being an outsider that is in terms of lack of instrumentality, lack of being able to order one's world, or achieve power in the greater world through force of will to order, and lack of ability to transform the world in this way we have to question his premise.  The name Geoffrey Chaucer jumps to mind from middle English Literature.  In addition to one of out greatest poets, Chaucer was a major court administrator and a diplomat used to negotiate treaties between England and other countries.  His patron, John of Gaunt, was the King's brother, and Chaucer didn't get to his position of influence by being ineffectual.

     Should you consider Shakespeare himself, you'd have to notice that he not only was a pretty good writer, but that he was a shrewd businessman, made a large impact on his home-town by his purchases of property and involvement with civic affairs, but that he also navigated politically very troubled waters without getting in significant trouble with the government.  His way of viewing the world did transform it, and not simply in his own era, but ever since.  His ways of conceptualizing power may well be the basis of the way that western world has looked at power ever since.  It is so pervasive that we don't even think of it as unusual until we compare it with non-western way of conceptualizing power.  I suggest, for example, a look at Confucius in The Analects, with their heavy emphasis on ritual and rite.  In one of the Analects, Confucius tells of how an emperor makes the kingdom quiet down by facing West.  Of course, this had to be done properly, with the appropriate rites and rituals.

     Other Eastern notions about power are well stated in the Tao te Ching..  Both these texts are interesting, but are used here chiefly as illustrations for how Shakespeare seems to have affected our theory and narrative on the subject so basically that we can't even see that it's been done.

     Benjamin DIsraeli was not only a highly successful novelist, but also an English Prime Minister who alternated power with Gladstone for , I believe, decades.

     And if you think about it, you can probably come up with your own examples, including that famous Irish Senator and Revolutionary, W. B. Yeats, and the Chilean Diplomat and Yeats' fellow Nobel laureate, Pablo Neruda.

     As for myself, I can't balance my checkbook.

     I'd guess, roughly, that there are as many effectual as ineffectual serious writers, or at least the scattering is pretty much as it is in the rest of the population.  Now if you were to ask me about affective disorders, and drug or alcohol issues, I'd have to say that writers have more than their fair share.  And heaven help the spouses of so many of us; they deserve canonization.  That's my opinion.

     Thoughts?

Sincerely, Bob Kaven  


Sunshine
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11 posted 01-21-2009 03:50 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Thoughts? Sure...I'd love to sit over a good cup of coffee [with cream, please] and listen to you expound. I enjoyed your thoughts very much...

and as for this:

quote:
And heaven help the spouses of so many of us; they deserve canonization.

True enough, m'friend!

DharkOne
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12 posted 01-30-2009 04:28 PM       View Profile for DharkOne   Email DharkOne   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for DharkOne

I think this depends upon the depth of one's writing.
If you just want to be a hack who spews stuff out for money, then you are far less likely to experience that "distance" from the world around you and those in it.
BTW, I think folks who premeditate themselves as artists are hacks, because the motivation is impure. You become an artist not by choice, but by design.
Those who decide " I'm going to be a poet because poets are cool" are clueless hacks.
The best, most effectual writing is penned by those who have been through something they never would have CHOSEN to go through.
In short, the true poets often wish they had never been, but it is the only way to express what is left inside of them after having survived it.
Granted, there will SURELY be MANY opposing viewpoints offered on this, and I may even be offending some people here - but ya can't please everyone, so.....
A good comparison is Blues musicians.
"Son, you can't LEARN to play the blues - you gotta LIVE 'em first - THEN you'll be a blues player.."
If your work doesn't come from the heart, from something REAL, and is just a self-masturbatory desire to portray yourself as a poet, then that will, of course, be nauseatingly obvious in your "work"

Sorry for the rant here, sometimes I just get started.....
Essorant
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13 posted 01-31-2009 12:05 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I agree with it, except for the first fifty-four words.
Sunshine
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14 posted 01-31-2009 12:06 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Enjoyed your rant, K.E., and Ess?

You crack me up! Thanks for peeking in.

OwlSA
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15 posted 01-31-2009 02:47 PM       View Profile for OwlSA   Email OwlSA   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for OwlSA

DharkOne, I am not offended by anything you said, and I agree with you up to a point.  However, there are 2 matters I would like to contend.  

The first one, is that though I agree that in some cases people (perhaps a large precentage) who decide they would like to write, are hacks, I think that there are many who are attracted to writing because they enjoy experiencing others' writings and would like to be able to do the same - and that they do "feel", but previouly didn't try to expess it - or weren't drawn to do so - for any number of reasons.  By the same token, I think that there are many artists who "feel", but don't express what they feel very well.  That makes them not very good artists, but doesn't detract from what they "feel".  I also believe that there are others who have a way with words and can write exquisitely - as though they have the heart that they don't actually have.

The second is that I believe that one CAN learn to be an excellent - for example, Blues musician (if one is a musician) - without having lived it.  It is possible to learn how others live and feel, if you have enough heart and soul and compassion to listen and understand and feel and care.  Nobody can know exactly how another feels, but if one cares enough and makes enough effort, one can get as close as is humanly possible and celebrate and ache with another - perhaps even more than if one has lived it because it is often easier to care about another more than one cares about oneself - and because of that, and for other reasons, it can be easier to put that into words and/or musial notes.  

Owl
Suncleaver
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16 posted 02-08-2009 10:06 PM       View Profile for Suncleaver   Email Suncleaver   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Suncleaver

As to writers not thinking in a politically logical way, I believe that that stems back to Plato dismissing the arts as illogical distractions from true reason.

But in turn Friedrich Nietzche dismissed Plato himself by theorizing that logic itself was illogical and the arts, both Dionysian and Apollonian were every bit as relevant as conventionally and politically accepted reason and logic.

And as to writing making you an outsider, I find that writing aids you in organizing your subconscious thoughts into coherency and thus making you better equipped to deal with people on every level.

Also sharing poetry with your friends is tremendous fun and it's surprising how many people appreciate it.

My two cents. Kindly refrain from flaming me.

Never sigh for a better world, it's already composed, played and told.
Bob K
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17 posted 02-09-2009 06:48 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

     One of the stories I love best about this is from a book called The Proud Tower by Barbara Tuchman.  In the shuffle after the death of one of the English poets Laureat at the end of the 19th century one Poet who felt himself cruelly used by fate and his fellows went to Oscar Wilde and said to him, "Oscar, there's a conspiracy of silence against my work, I tell you; a conspiracy of silence.  What should I do?"

     Wilde looked at him, apparently thought briefly, and suggested, "Join it."  

     I put it to you that things have not changed very much.  Our own best poets are often poisonous toward each other.  

Sincerely, Bob Kaven  

[This message has been edited by Ron (02-09-2009 08:45 AM).]

Bob K
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18 posted 02-09-2009 02:15 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



I appreciate the edit, Ron.
 
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