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Passions in Poetry

For Brad: What Makes Poetry, Poetry?

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Local Parasite
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0 posted 04-18-2005 01:55 AM       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 think this is a good idea.  Just to generate some discussion, I've pulled out a few of my favourite remarks by poets on the topic of poetry.

First, Philip Sidney's famous tract "An Apology for Poetry" distinguishes poetry thus:
quote:
There is no art delivered to mankind that hath not the works of nature for his principal object, without which they could not consist, and on which they depend... The physician weigheth the nature of a man's body, and the nature of things helpful or hurtful unto it.  And the metaphysic, though it be in the second and abstract notions, and therefore be counted supernatural, yet doth he indeed build upon the depth of nature.  Only the poet, disdaining to be tied to any such subjection, lifted up with the vigor of his own invention, doth grow in effect another nature, in making things either better than nature bringeth forth, or, quite anew, forms such as never were in nature, as the Heroes, Demigods, Cyclops, Chimeras, Furies, and such like: so as he goeth hand in hand with nature, not enclosed within the narrow warrant of her gifts, but freely ranging only within the zodiac of his own wit.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in his Biographia Literaria, writes:
quote:
"It is an art (or whatever better term our language may afford) of representing, in words, external nature and human thoughts and affections, both relatively to human affections, by the production of as much immediate pleasure in parts, as is compatable with the largest sum of pleasure in the whole." (Coleridge, Lectures on Literature, 1811-12)
Wordsworth's statement of intent for his Lyrical Ballads:
quote:
“Poems to which any value can be attached, were never produced on any variety of subjects but by a man who, being possessed of more than usual organic sensibility, had also thought long and deeply... Our feelings will be connected with important subjects... We shall describe objects, and utter sentiments, of such a nature, and in such connection with each other, that the understanding of the being to whom we address ourselves must necessarily be in some degree enlightened, and his affections ameliorated.” (Wordsworth, Preface to the Lyrical Ballads)
From Shelley's Defence of Poetry:
quote:
"A Poet participates in the eternal, the infinite, and the one; as far as relates to his conceptions, time and place and number are not. The grammatical forms which express the moods of time, and the difference of persons and the distinction of place are convertible with respect to the highest poetry without injuring it as poetry and the choruses of Aeschylus, and the Book of Job, and Dante's Paradise would afford, more than any other writings, examples of this fact." (Shelley, A Defence of Poetry)
From Ruskin (of whom I could probably find much better quotes on the topic, if I had an indexed copy of his works) in his Modern Painters volume III:
quote:
I come, after some embarrassment, to the conclusion, that poetry is "the suggestion, by the imagination, of noble grounds for the noble emotions."  I mean, by the noble emotions, those four principal sacred passions---Love, Veneration, Admiration, and Joy (this latter especially, if unselfish); and their opposites---Hatred, Indignation (or Scorn), Horror, and Grief,---this last, when unselfish, becoming Compassion.  These passions in their various combinations constitute what is called "poetical feeling," when they are felt on noble grounds, that is, on great and true grounds.
Ruskin, of course, goes on, but I doubt anybody's going to actually read it if I type the whole of it out.  He mainly emphasizes the importance of the imagination in the formation of poetry.  

I'd quote some Aristotle, but that would be a bit heavy, and these authors are closer to our time and speaking more of the kind of poetry with which we are concerned today (Aristotle focuses on dramatic and epic poetry, writers of which I don't think we have at piptalk).  Hopefully this will give us some good material with which to start a discussion?  Is poetry, like Sidney suggests, the highest of the arts because it invents, rather than subjecting itself to nature?  Is its duty the veneration of human emotion, as Ruskin suggests, or is it meant to draw attention to specific subjects and "ameliorate" the affections of those that read it?  Is it obliged less to morality, to "nobility," and more simply to pleasure, as Coleridge says?  I look forward to what all of you have to say.

Brian
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1 posted 05-28-2005 10:08 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

quote:
One must, I say, be a seer, make oneself a seer.
  The poet makes himself a seer through a long, a prodigious and rational disordering of all the senses. Every form of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he consumes all the poisons within him, keeping only their quintessences. Ineffable torture in which he will need all his faith and superhuman strength, the great criminal, the great sickman, the utterly damned, and the Supreme Savant! For he arrives at the unknown! Since he has cultivated his soul-richer to begin with than any other!
He arrives at the unknown:and even if, half crazed, in the end, he loses the understanding of his visions, he has seen them! Let him croak in his leap into those unutterable and innumerable things: there will come other horrible workers: they will begin at the horizons where he has succumbed.


~ Rimbaud
timothysangel1973
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2 posted 05-29-2005 12:00 AM       View Profile for timothysangel1973   Email timothysangel1973   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit timothysangel1973's Home Page   View IP for timothysangel1973

Great question Brian

One that I am sure will generate a lot of conversation, as everyone has their own opinions on the matter.  As for me personally, well I will have to give it some thought.  Because, for me, it's not about perfect form, or rhyme.  It's more personal for me that the technical side of writing.  I only spill myself onto paper if I really feel moved, or passionate about something.

As far as what others think... two of my favorite quotes are:

quote:
"Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words."

Poetry Quote by Robert Frost
Famous American Poet (1874-1963)


and

quote:

"Poetry is an orphan of silence.
The words never quite equal the experience behind them."

Poetry Quotes by Charles Simic
American Poet born in 1938

I may hate myself in the morning - but I'm gonna love you tonight
-Lee Ann Womack

Essorant
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3 posted 05-29-2005 01:05 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I emphasized before by art, that I believe art is creative success of tradition,  and must be civilized as well;  it is a tradition's success and "civilization"

I believe what makes Poetry distinctly art, is its own tradition, success and "civilization"  

The only way one may practice Poetry with skill, is if s/he  follows, in one way or another, convention within these, and corresponds in one way or another with an inherited and familiar "character" that comes from the past.  The past poets are as kings, and present as princes, inheriting Poetry's "character".   Many ages of men have established the best ways on this art, that no man may do in one age, but all may have fruitfulness and bring forth fruitfuflness that learn how to keep what they inherit, and truly add to it too.   Without following Tradition, it is only distant hues in mind of those familiar characters of the past, and some inevitable grace at hard work, that the art is continued.  
For example, think of a poem without rhyme, and without meter.  Is a person more familiar with it as "poetry" than a poem with rhyme and meter?  Despite the extent of Free Verse today, I don't believe so. When someone hears "poetry" they most often think of words with that special quality: rhyme.  And if you ask a person to write a poem on the spot, I think he'll most likely strive to write something with rhyme as well.  This a simplest traditional aspect, but has a strongest impression on our mind.  People are not as certain about poetry when it doesn't have such a tradition attribute.  
Meter, certain words and ways with words, meanings and other things though all strongly count as well to keep a familiarity about Poetry.  Although it is doubtful that any are as crowning and famous as rhyme.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (05-29-2005 03:19 PM).]

Local Parasite
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4 posted 05-29-2005 02:37 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

Essorant,

Have you ever read "The Anxiety of Influence" by Harold Bloom?
Essorant
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5 posted 05-29-2005 03:14 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Hi Brian.

No I never read that book.  Is it recommendable?
Local Parasite
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6 posted 05-29-2005 03:21 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

Yup.  Based on what you're saying about poetry being participation in a tradition, anyways... Bloom develops a theory of poetry based on the idea that generations of poets "misinterpret" their predecessors in trying to write "canonical" work.  Give it a go, it's not a long or difficult book.
Essorant
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7 posted 05-29-2005 05:58 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I don't know.  I fear overcomplicating the subject.  

A tree needs to stand on roots.  So does Poetry.

What more?  

Essorant
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8 posted 06-25-2005 08:05 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Brad didn't even show up
Local Parasite
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9 posted 06-26-2005 03:54 AM       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

Yeah, he's a real enigma, but he's just like that sometimes---kind of an unreliable guy when it comes down to it.  To be quite honest, the poor moderation is one of the reasons I don't spend a lot of time in the philosophy forum.

I mean, why address a concern to which the moderator specifically gives voice if he's just going to give you the cold shoulder in return for it?  Really, you'd think he would read his own forum enough to spot his name in a subject line, and at least acknowledge it somehow...

"God becomes as we are that we may be as he is."  ~William Blake

Stephanos
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10 posted 07-03-2005 02:50 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Hey guys,  Go easy on Brad.  I really think there's a certain kind of philosophy thread that gets his motor running, and he's not been seeing it.  He's very intelligent and respectful in the way he relates to everyone.  He'll be back.


Stephen.
Local Parasite
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11 posted 07-03-2005 03:43 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

Stephen,

I'll quote Brad here:
quote:
For the record, getting back to what makes poetry poetry would be a great idea.
This is where I took the idea for this thread.  I don't mean to blow off steam, but it's kind of irritating.

"God becomes as we are that we may be as he is."  ~William Blake

Essorant
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12 posted 07-03-2005 04:35 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I'm not irritated.  Just a bit disappointed.  
Brad
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13 posted 07-03-2005 10:27 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Points taken.

Yet, I think it's a more interesting thread without my input. Apparently, I can intimidate people and it makes more sense to remain silent than it does to state my opinion on poetry 'yet once more'.

If you want to know my opinion, it's around here somewhere.

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