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Passions in Poetry

The Poet's Job

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Local Rebel
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since 12-21-1999
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0 posted 09-28-2000 11:50 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

The human genome is only about 2 to 3 percent different from chimpanzees.  Imagine how minute the differences are between you and I, our parents, their parents, and on down through the aeons of human existence.  Human concerns are universal.  We share the same needs, feelings, desires, sins, and joy.  From culture to culture the ways we view these concerns and the ways we seek to fulfill them vary -- but the basic human condition is constant.  Moreover it is beyond the capacity of common language.  The poet transcribes the human condition for the next generation -- to put into language that which may not be put into language--this is the poet's job.
Sunshine
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1 posted 09-28-2000 01:57 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Man, now you make me feel like I fail myself every time I pen something...ah well, I'm just going to have to apply myself even more...

Karilea
When you want to be loved, look within...KRJ

Trew
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2 posted 09-29-2000 07:50 AM       View Profile for Trew   Email Trew   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trew

One of the few distinguishing factors between humans and other primates is our advanced language skill.  From prehistoric times, we have been passing on stories of great triumphs, tragedies and everyday occurrences.
From spoken word with gestures, to cave paintings, simple glyphs and to advanced written languages.  If not for the story-tellers of ages past, we would not know our history.  If not for the writers of today, our world's most colourful moments would be lost forever.
In summation:  I agree.  
Local Rebel
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since 12-21-1999
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3 posted 09-29-2000 10:53 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Karilea -- don't feel that way... lol... well -- it's ok to apply yourself harder -- but just be yourself -- you're in the human condition and you know you -- that's all you gotta write -- is what you know..

Trew -- as I understand it those Paintings on the cave walls were done by a bunch of neanderthal toddlers and their poor parents lost their deposit over it... lol... thanks for the response..  
doreen peri
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since 05-25-99
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4 posted 09-29-2000 11:59 AM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

well, Wing'ed Rebellious Wonder, i certainly agree with you and i wouldn't edit a word of what you said... *g..lol *wink*

i think this is the purpose of poetry and that there are definitely universals in the human condition, no matter what culture we come from, no matter what influences we've had... and the job of the poet is to relay a slice of it, a look at some minor or major part of it all, from their unique perspective and using their unique combination of the infinite combinations of 26-letters... and each and every viewpoint is valid and important and lets us all see through the eyes of another for just a small flash of time...

presentation is important, too. it's how we open up, show each other what we "see" of the world and what it's like to be caught in this human condition (which right now, btw, is very very tired... lol... so hang in there with me, k?).. what i mean by presentation is HOW we string words and images together, our individual voice, if you will (well, even if you won't),  not what the poem it looks like, not whether it's typeset with seraph or sans-seraph... hehe...

reading others.. a LOT....and writing about even the smallest observances about what you see, feel, want, desire, how you hurt, all of it... helps develop that voice and view and presentation that is uniquely yours as a poet  and all the poems in the world strung together end to end somehow make up the infinite big picture of it all, i think

of course, ALL the arts are for this same purpose..(film, theatre, dance, photography, painting, sculpture,...etc etc)... and expression in art of the human condition is what makes life rich and helps us see each other more clearly, joins us together in some kind of unity, and gives us avenues to feel our way through... hopefully adding some wisdom and beauty along the way...

it's in the reading and the writing that we come to know who we are and all the sameness and differences of us

of course, none of this comes with a Personal Poet Guide to help and batteries aren't included... lol... so we have to do it individually.... feel our way through... and find the joy of it in the expression.

whew! did that make sense? lol... i need coffee with lots of cream...

oh, one more thing, any time you're interested in taking me under your wing and teaching me about this Maslow Hierarchy stuff and all those other philosophical names you reference on occasion, i'd be interested in learning  

jbouder
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5 posted 09-29-2000 12:41 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

quote:
The poet transcribes the human condition for the next generation -- to put into language that which may not be put into language--this is the poet's job.


For the most part, I agree with you except I think that the poet is not only transcribing the human condition for the next generation, but also (and very importantly) is doing so for the current generation.  I think the best poems are those that explore the complexity of the human condition (human limitations, various emotions, lucid or disjointed thoughts, etc.) and have some measure of success in giving us a look into something that may be completely foreign to our own experience.  Or maybe I'm completely wrong.  

Jim
Local Rebel
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6 posted 09-29-2000 12:49 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Yes Jim -- I would agree that it is also for the current generation -- but, I think to an extent -- by the time the poet learns what he really needs to know it's almost too late for him/herself, and his/her generation...

my example would be the Goetheian Faust -- Goethe began transcribing the legend when he was relatively young -- but lacked the knowledge to give it an ending until he was old...
Local Rebel
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7 posted 09-29-2000 01:00 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Doreen..!  

well -- sans-seriph is certainly much more logical looking... but I think... unfortunately -- too many of us have gotten used to reading seraph style... lol

now let me just go get that coffee for ya!!

Brad
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8 posted 09-30-2000 04:51 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

LR,
Well, it seems to me that both you and Seraph are making the same mistake here (I guess we'll keep that reference cryptic for the moment). It's not that there are or aren't universal conditions but that we CAN'T know what they are.

"Human concerns are universal."

--Interesting point but don't you mean there is a universal human condition? Other life forms don't seem particularly concerned with our concerns.  I could be wrong, of  course.

"We share the same needs, feelings, desires, sins, and joy."

"but the basic human condition is constant."

"Moreover it is beyond the capacity of common language."

--Apparently it's not beyond the capacity of common language. Didn't you just describe, or attempt to describe it?

"The poet transcribes the human condition for the next generation -- to put into language that which may not be put into language--this is the poet's job."

--If this were the case, wouldn't it be an impossible job based on your stated assumptions? If you mean the poet should work with the language in such a way, that certain things are seen in a different way or in a way previously thought impossible, I have no problems. Besides, didn't you already do it with "we share the same needs, feelings, desires, sins, and joy"?

Still, isn't describing the 'human condition' and its corresponding relational points (our position in the universe), pretty much the job of all language, art, and science?  Why does poetry stand out for you and not other forms of description or inquiry? If, however, you are arguing that all human endeavours, all forms of inquiry, all aspects in this universe have an aesthetic quality (math is beautiful), I agree with you.

I'm just not sure what you mean.

Brad

Local Rebel
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9 posted 10-01-2000 01:00 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Well Brad -- We certainly can know what some of them are -- I'd agree that we can't know what all of them are -- and by your own definition of the problem I assume that you agree there are some universalities within the human condition -- you and I will both be aware of the more basics and both have knowledge of some human concerns that the other has no idea of...

and would it make you feel the statement is more succinct if I instead said -- "there are universal human concerns"?  if so I will modify the definition to reflect it that way -- but it would be too late for me to edit here

and no -- I didn't describe the human condition at all -- I gave the poets job description -- why the poets?  because this is a poetry forum -- not an art forum -- not a math forum -- realizing of course that within the bounds of philosophy we discuss the entire realm of the aesthetic and I agree that within each corner of human endeavor it is that for which we struggle...

and yes -- when I say it goes beyond the bounds of description within common language I refer to that which cannot be described -- and I mean nothing more than that in any language known to humanity -- the color red may not be described in such a way with words that a person born blind can percieve it...but within the boundaries of poetry that is the essense of our attempt -- we must -- without 1000 words -- paint.

I don't disagree that the job seems impossible -- but I think some poets -- at some points in time -- are able to achieve just that in communicating with a few readers who can see beyond the words and between the lines -- it doesn't happen all the time -- but when it does I think it's called inspiration -- an epiphiny even perhaps...

and I like to quote Jean Luc Picard when the word impossible comes up in conversation...

"Things are only impossible until they are not."

realizing even a fictional work can speak truth of course..

So -- in essense -- I meant exactly what I said...

Of course this definition of mine is relavant only in the context that if I am to be a poet (which I often insist I am not and others argue I am) then I must know what it is I must do.

Brad
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since 08-20-99
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10 posted 10-01-2000 07:53 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Far me it from me to disagree with Picard.

Old Grey, hot.

Try to get back to this later.

Brad
Ron
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Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
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11 posted 10-01-2000 08:40 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Uh, I think that's Earl Gray, Brad...

Brad
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12 posted 10-01-2000 10:56 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Always wondered why I could never find it in the stores.  

The English and their accents.

Brad
Local Rebel
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13 posted 10-02-2000 09:46 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Yes it is Earl Grey -- and it's good -- with the first frost...
JP
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since 05-25-99
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14 posted 10-03-2000 01:58 PM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

Is it not part of the poet's job to attempt to describe the indescribable?  Is not the beauty of poetry the ability to help the blind person understand the color red (metaphorically speaking of course)?


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

Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so.
B. Russell
Brad
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Jejudo, South Korea


15 posted 10-03-2000 06:39 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I could go through this statement and argue that something is either impossible or possible, indescribable or describable but if you're arguing the poet's job is the attempt to do such things, I have no problem. If the attempt is successful, then the question becomes moot -- it is possible, it is describable (even if it works for only one person).

Brad
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