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Passions in Poetry

poetry?

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Ryan
Member
since 06-10-99
Posts 318
Kansas


0 posted 06-15-2000 10:47 PM       View Profile for Ryan   Email Ryan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ryan

What is poetry?  Or perhaps, more to the point, does a universal definition of poetry exist that would make everyone happy?

I guess this stems from the fact that deep in some archives I found some poems that others didn't like, so they said, "This is not poetry" and dismissed it and that makes me mad, and so I just wonder where you guys see the cutoff between poetry and poop.  Hell, do any of you see this as a poem?

Poop.

I guess it could, but I think that gets to the heart of my question.

Ryan


 I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.
—Jack Kerouac

Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


1 posted 06-15-2000 11:28 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Poetry and poop are not mutually exclusive. And I have several poems I've written to prove the point...    

More seriously, I think this is a great question, Ryan. One, I suspect, with no definitive answer. I will, however, add a bit of fuel to the fire by quoting a few words I wrote nearly two years ago and posted at the main site.

"We believe everyone is a poet, whether they create their works with words or touches or simply a way of living. That includes you. Mix thought and emotion, with a large dose of honesty, and the result is beauty."


JP
Senior Member
since 05-25-99
Posts 1391
Loomis, CA


2 posted 06-16-2000 11:04 AM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

Yeah, what Ron said.

(even if it didn't rhyme)



 Yesterday is ash, tomorrow is smoke; only today does the fire burn.
JP

"Everything is your own damn fault, if you are any good." E. Hemmingway

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


3 posted 06-18-2000 11:45 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

A while back I argued that poetry is defined by the line break and I still think that is a good working, if not exact, definition of poetry.  When someone sees the line break, they think to themselves, "oh, it's a poem" and read it differently than if it were prose.

Now, really all I was doing was conflating 'verse' with 'poetry' but since I don't hear many people saying, "Will you please read my new verse," I stand by it.

Here are a couple dictionary definitions:

Cambridge dictionary:
a piece of writing in which the words are chosen for their sound and the
images and ideas they suggest, not just their obvious meaning. The words are
arranged in separate lines, often ending in rhyme.


Mirriam-Webster
Date: 14th century
1 a : metrical writing : VERSE b : the productions of a poet : POEMS
2 : writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of
experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific
emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm
3 a : something likened to poetry especially in beauty of expression b :
poetic quality or aspect   


David Lehman has pointed out that anything other than poetry, when described as poetic, is generally considered a good thing.  When we say a poem is poetic, we generally mean stilted or artificial.  Nice irony there.

When someone says that's not poetry, they mean they don't think it's a good poem.

Then why do these same people (ah, the mythical, abstract 'people' I've never met   ) usually say 'good poem' when they read something they like.

Personally, I think it's just an attempt to objectify an opinion -- it sounds more concrete if you will.

the Random House dictionary makes an interesting distinction between poetry and verse:

The difference between poetry and verse is usually the difference between substance and form. Poetry is lofty thought or impassioned feeling expression in imaginitive words. Verse is any expression in words which simply conforms to accepted metrical rules and structure.

Boy, I could have a field day with that one.  

So, if people want to keep this distinction, then I suggest we start using this distintion in our comments:


That's a verse -- meaning I don't like what you wrote.

That's a poem -- meaning I like what you wrote.

Any takers?    

The word 'poiesis' means a made thing and poets in the middle ages were called simply makers.

So, Ryan, if you take the above definition to heart, your above comment is indeed a poem or a 'made thing'.

I've got a few more definitions to play with but I'll stop here.

I like this question,
Brad
Poet deVine
Administrator
Member Empyrean
since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley


4 posted 06-18-2000 11:50 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

I am a maker of prose
I am a maker of rhyme
no mold do I fit
in this or other's time

Since God is a maker
of many things we see
is He a poet
just like you, just like me?


I like to read these discussions, but keep out of them for the most part....carry on!!
brian madden
Member Elite
since 05-06-2000
Posts 4532
ireland


5 posted 06-19-2000 03:40 PM       View Profile for brian madden   Email brian madden   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for brian madden

Here a few quotes on what people define poetry as.

Poetry is the mirror of the soul.

Dream is not a revelation. If a dream affords the dreamer some light on himself, it is not the person with closed eyes who makes the discovery but the person with open eyes lucid enough to fit thoughts together. Dream - a scintillating mirage surrounded by shadows - is essentially poetry.

Michel Leiris

Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable. Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away.

Carl Sandburg
Poetry Considered


My personal favourite is a quote i heard on the radio, I can't remember the first part exactly but anyway it was something like this "Poetry can be anything that poet wants it be as long as it is an improvement on the blank page."

I guess trying to find a definition of poetry is like trying to define what is art, everyone has their own opinion but as long as people can connect with it and get pleasure from reading it, does it matter if we can not define or pigeon hole it?



------------------------
"WE IRISH ARE TOO POETIC TO BE POETS, WE ARE A NATION OF BRILLIANT FAILURES."

Oscar Wilde.

"A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral".

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


[This message has been edited by brian madden (edited 06-19-2000).]
Ryan
Member
since 06-10-99
Posts 318
Kansas


6 posted 06-19-2000 04:06 PM       View Profile for Ryan   Email Ryan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ryan

I think Brad got closest to what I was thinking when I asked this question when he said that people say something isn't a poem b/c they don't like it.  To narrow my question down, I think it would be better for me to ask, is there a line content-wise, where something stops being a poem and becomes as I so eloquently put it originally, poop.  I don't think so.  I think there's a point, content-wise where I stop having interest in a poem, but I don't think there's a point where I have a right to call another's work "not poetry."  Brad, I see that you agree with me, and you've actually backed up your beliefs with definitions and evidence (something I'm far too lazy to do...I just graduated and it's summer, what can you expect?  *grins*).  But I am interested in knowing what other people think on this subject.  Is there a point where the content of a poem makes you say, "This isn't poetry, this is just worthless crap wasting space?"

I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.
—Jack Kerouac

JP
Senior Member
since 05-25-99
Posts 1391
Loomis, CA


7 posted 06-21-2000 01:52 PM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

Well, one man's crap is another man's fertilizer.

There have been, and will be, many pieces that I don't much care for... but never would I say they are not poetry (poetic maybe   ) and yes, many times I thought something was taking up space, but I've always considered those pieces to be 'crappy poems'.

To say something in a way no one else has done before, that is poetry.  To write something, to put into words a thought, dream, love, life, experience, in a way that conveys meaning, or many meanings, is poetry.

McCarthur gave a speech at a West Point Commencement once,  His speech began with:  "Duty, honor, country..."  Those three words,in and of themselves, were poetry - they were the embodiment of synergy.  They conveyed much more thought, depth of feeling, and meaning, than the mere words by themselves could have... the whole became more than the sum of their parts.

Where was I?  Oh well... I lost my train of thought... I'll come back later...


Yesterday is ash, tomorrow is smoke; only today does the fire burn.
JP

"Everything is your own damn fault, if you are any good." E. Hemmingway
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