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Modern Poetry

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Brad
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since 08-20-99
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Jejudo, South Korea


0 posted 06-26-2001 06:04 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

There are so many things in this article that I disagree with and yet it ends praising a poet that I really like. What are you gonna do?

Here's a sample:

"At the beginning of the 21st century, the contrast between the relative health of poetry in Britain and its dire condition in the US is striking. In Britain, the Poet Laureate is known if not always respected and the selection of the Professor of Poetry at Oxford makes the newspapers; in the US, nobody can tell you the name of the Poet Laureate (answer: Stanley Kunitz). The best British poets, such as Seamus Heaney, James Fenton, Charles Causley, Tony Harrison and Wendy Cope, use traditional verse techniques in innovative ways to write about a range of subjects in a variety of genres, including political satire and light verse. In the US, by contrast, almost all of the prestige poetry is written in the early 20th-century mode of "free verse"--that is to say, lines of prose chopped up at arbitrary points--and almost all of it consists of relatively short poems, usually a domestic epiphany or a description of a scene or item as its subject. Hardly anyone writes poetry in the US other than professors--and hardly anybody reads it, other than the professors who write it."


Modern Poetry


Please read the rest of the article but understand that many of his points are dubious.

Brad

[This message has been edited by Brad (edited 06-26-2001).]

jbouder
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since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


1 posted 06-26-2001 10:23 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

I recall be flogged a long time ago when I suggested that writing free verse was easy compared to writing verse.  Am I finally vindicated?  Or does this mean that I think more like those in the U.K. than those in my own country?  Should I be concerned about that?  

Seriously, I must agree with many points the writer makes regarding the apparent decline of quality in American poetry.  I, personally, would attribute it to the American tendency toward anti-traditionalism and apathy.

Why don't Americans celebrate their Poet Laureate?  I don't know.

Interesting article, Brad.

Jim

  
hush
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since 05-27-2001
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2 posted 06-26-2001 11:32 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

While I don't agree with the author's condescending tone towards free-verse writing, I can understand many of his points, especially that good free-verse is easier to write than good metered verse. But I wouldn't necessarly call it prose- I think that's where you hit a grey area and you have to define prose and poetry, and that is an entire topic alone.

everything's fine.

Not A Poet
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3 posted 06-27-2001 04:49 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Brad, that is an interesting article. As an obvious addict of metered poetry, I tend to agree. I can't claim familiarity with much of what the author says but I certainly do agree with his premise.

Jim, I do remember when you said that and got lambasted for it. I think I would agree with you but since I don't have the experience at writing free verse, I can't speak too strongly. Much of what I see touted as free verse really strikes me much as described in the article in question, just prose with randomly broken short lines. We do have some poets here who certainly don't fit in that category but much of it does. I hesitate to name anyone because I will surely forget and leave someone out.

Well, of course, this is all just my opinion but that's what these discussion forums are for, after all.

Pete
Sunshine
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4 posted 06-30-2001 06:24 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Brad, thanks for the link.  It was an interesting article, and I think I see what you may disagree with.

Now, I'm off to read more about Gioia.
Local Rebel
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5 posted 06-30-2001 10:08 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

I would hardly define free verse as prose chopped into short lines at arbitrary points -- nor would any of it's practitioners.

Half of the challenge is deciding where to break the lines to compliment and optimize the imagery.

It is a rather acedemic point that there is more bad poetry in the world than good.

So what?
Brad
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6 posted 07-01-2001 02:39 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

LR,
Good to see you around here again.

I honestly didn't plan a renewed debate on free versus formal verse but I'll adjust:

I agree. It's harder to write BAD formal verse than it is to write BAD free verse.

If it's good, it doesn't matter if it's free or formal, it matters if it's good.

The amount of effort it takes to write a GOOD poem, and even more importantly a GREAT poem, is irrelevant.

Just get it right.  

More later,
Brad
brian madden
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7 posted 07-01-2001 06:31 AM       View Profile for brian madden   Email brian madden   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for brian madden

well the only point I would like to add to this is Seamus Heaney is an Irish poet. Sorry just something I had to get off my chest.  

"Like Sand underneath the snow, I make you mine." Kristin Hersh

Brad
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8 posted 07-01-2001 08:31 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

And that was just one of the things that was sticking in my craw!  

Brad
Local Rebel
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9 posted 07-01-2001 03:58 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Well Brad I don't know why you'd add more later... you already said it all.

It only matters if it's good.

Truer words ne'er spoken lad.
Brad
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10 posted 07-01-2001 08:02 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

LR, are you kidding?

The next step is to figure out what determines, sets the parameters for, good poetry.

My point here is that work or effort are not determining factors in what's good.

What is good poetry is not subjective.

It is not objective.

It's much more complex than that.  

Brad
Local Rebel
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11 posted 07-02-2001 01:40 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

perhaps when I was a pup I would have agreed Brad... but... now I'd just say it is all subjective.. almost everything is except math.. but.. I think those discussusions have been had too... lol..

if there is a point to be had, however, it is that for some reason poets in the USA have done an extremely poor job of marketing their art... perhaps a good poet war is needed....like the old cola wars
Brad
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12 posted 07-02-2001 04:40 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I don't know if we can ever make it a popular art form, it's too close to home physically and metaphorically to resonate with people.

But when you say what is good is subjective, that's just being lazy.

You give up even bothering to explain why you like something; I don't mean I like it because it moves me -- that's explaining the feeling, not the poem.

There's no excitement.

I've seen better discussions on who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman than I have in discussing a poem.

Why is that?

Brad
Local Rebel
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13 posted 07-02-2001 11:13 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

well that's a horse of a different color... I'd be perfectly willing to engage a discussion of why I like a poem or what good poetry is to me.. but... that's subjective.

Right?

And.. Superman would win... easy. lol

and anything can be made popular with the proper marketing (which includes the right amount of money being spent on it)  in order to remain popular it will have to be considered good by a lot of people

[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (edited 07-02-2001).]

Not A Poet
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14 posted 07-02-2001 04:15 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Batman is pretty tough but no match for Superman, unless he has a bunch of Kryptonite. But then it wouldn't be a fair fight and both those guys are of the highest moral fiber.

Pete

Never express yourself more clearly than you can think - Niels Bohr

Local Rebel
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15 posted 07-02-2001 07:44 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Oh I don't know about that... if there was just enough kryptonite dose to weaken ol Kalel down to human level then it would be kind of like taking the handicap in golf...

then..  who would win?

One could ostensibly say Batman because he's more used to having to fight with skill than brute strength.
hush
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16 posted 07-03-2001 02:20 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Poetry could get a second wind if it is presented to the public in a new and exciting way- the problem is the same that exists in the music industry- a bunch of crap is in the limelight of national anthologies and it's getting praise- people are too scared to tell anyone their poetry sucks, so they say it's good. When they say it's good, the writer continues to produce substandard poems with the confidence that he/she is writing great things. Which was one of the points made in the article I agreed with.

When people just read poetry in poetry cafe's, it does limit the availability to the public. maybe if someone did something spontaneous like standing up in a shopping mall and reading a famous poem, passing out copies, that would get attention- but everybody's too afraid of rejection to do anything like that.

everything's fine.

Local Rebel
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17 posted 07-03-2001 04:36 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

I don't know hush.. I'd say there is lot's of good poetry being written.  It is the natural distribution curve that dictates there is very limited excellent poetry.

It is the subjective nature of what constitutes good however that is limiting the potential of poetry to be a populist medium.

The poetry community will classify 'good' poetry in intellectual elitist terms -- however -- that kind of work would only have limited appeal.

I could argue there is indeed a very commercially successful populist brand of poetry -- Rap Music... but... the 'poets' would never recognize it as such.
Brad
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18 posted 07-05-2001 11:58 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

"Originality no longer means a slight modification in the style of one's immediate predecessors; it means a capacity to find in any work of any date or place a clue to finding one's authentic voice."

--This deserves a thread in itself but he continues:

"The burden of choice and selection is put squarely upon the shoulders of each individual poet and it is a heavy one."

--W.H. Auden

That we have reduced this into the whining need for self-expression is not the fault of free verse. It is not the fault of free verse that 'the voice that stands out from the crowd' has become 'I stand out from the crowd because I have a voice.'

We have confused self-expression with 'want'and forgotten that the self lies in the quest for self-expansion, it's never just there.

Brad

PS Batman wore an exo-skeleton and plugged into the entire power grid of Gotham City. If you want to know the rest, you have to read "The Dark Knight Returns" by Alan Moore.

PPS Anybody considered the pop-psych implications of choosing one over the other?

[This message has been edited by Brad (edited 07-05-2001).]

hush
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19 posted 07-05-2001 01:09 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

The subjective nature of what constitutes good does not limit the popularity and diversity of music, however. I think the two are very similar- but poetry just isn't marketed right- not that I want to see pretty boys and girls reciting poetry for profit- but people are not exposed to poetry when poetry is limited to bookstores and cofeeshops. Which also addresses your point that the 'poetry community' would classify good poetry in intellectual terms- well, if the poetry community was expanded, that wouldn' be a problem, would it?

I would also argue the validity of rap music as poetry- while the idea of rap is very poetic, and I very much enjoy that, the execution is a whole different story. Most rap lyrics do not stand alone without the heavy bass to accentuate them- I do enjoy poetry that has a rap-like beat to it- and if more rappers focused on that, it would be a wonderful medium.

everything's fine.

 
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