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Passions in Poetry

A little dialect feedback, please

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rwood
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0 posted 03-03-2007 08:14 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood


Iím a little torn on something and I hope yíall can help me out.

Does anyone feel that the use of southern dialect reduces the quality of prose or poetry?

I feel dialect enhances a body of work, but I was told that southern dialect tends to not only reduce the piece but ďun-educateĒ the author (as in date-as in mark) as well as the character if one is not very careful.

I thought all literature was carefully written.

Does dialect really reflect intellect?

Iím seriously considering slightly revising something based upon this notion, because I donít want someone very important to me to be mistaken as uneducated. Sounds unethical in ďkeeping it realĒ but presentation is key.

Thank you, and g'day,

Reg

serenity blaze
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1 posted 03-03-2007 10:35 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Yanno?

I nevah let dat stuff bothah me.



But I have found a society dedicated to dedicated dialecticals. (izzata woid?)
http://www.americandialect.org/

I found that here:
www.burryman.com

and to save ya the time and trouble, I even scrolled down to the dialect section, which is the most plentiful list of resources I have seen listed on one site yet:
http://www.burryman.com/resources.html


And to answer your question? I've been writing in dialect alla m'life. I just didn't know it--nevah went no where else.



But I do think if it is employed, it should read easily and naturally. Some people do not like my use of slang and colloquialism. But some people do not like my writing either. *shrug*

It oughtta sound natural to the ear tho, and not like read like phonetic pronunciation.

I sincerely hope that my own attempts have passed my own standard.

Write what makes ya happy, lovie.


Ron
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2 posted 03-03-2007 10:45 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

How is the dialect being used?

* Some people speak with a dialect because it's the only way they've ever talked.

* Some people speak with a dialect because it's an affectation.

I think it's generally true that people, when they attend college (even a local one), tend to lose much of their dialect. They don't necessarily drop their accent, but they do start avoiding grossly ungrammatical constructions. They talk like their instructors talk. Even when they eventually leave college, they usually find themselves around people of similar background, and the dialect doesn't return -- unless they WANT it to return. If I spend more than a week with my Louisiana kin I start calling them kin instead of relatives.

Dialect, Southern or any other, is incredibly difficult to use because it so easily overpowers all other concerns -- even narrative. There can be no suspension of disbelief if the reader is struggling to understand what a character just said. In my opinion there are really only a handful of writers in the last hundred years that handle it well, both in terms of a really good ear and in knowing when and where to abandon the dialect. Personally, I wouldn't even dream of trying to use dialect in a poem or story beyond, perhaps, one or two quick phrases. Some call that representative dialect, or dialect that doesn't really try to be true to what the ear actually hears so much as what the brain interprets. Twain was probably the acknowledged master of representative dialect.

If you want to avoid making someone speaking in dialect appear uneducated, I think the trick will be to give them the opportunity to NOT speak in dialect at some point in the poem or story. Make it clear it's an affectation. Consider it part of revealing character.


serenity blaze
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3 posted 03-03-2007 10:53 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

*laughing*

Well, Reg? Since I am most certainly more than a handful--I guess I got an unexpected answer too.

serenity blaze
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4 posted 03-03-2007 11:10 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I had to add something--

the very first poem I ever recited for my grade school class, was this:
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/digriwyn/tales5.htm

My favorite novel, was, and remains,

To Kill A Mockingbird

that might explain a few thangs.
serenity blaze
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5 posted 03-03-2007 11:32 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

somebody STOP me!

How very boring life would be
if we were raised so properly
that vowels all said "ow" and "ooh"
and never dared to wink at you.

If all of us wore our white gloves
and sat up all tall and properly--
how could we discern the truth
to triage those who weary be?

Certainly, it is good rule
of etiquette and breeding, blue
blood of talent for the tale
insteada stickin' tongues atchoo!

But there is something about me
that is surely most unique--
it's something that I had unschooled--
to be myself and not be you.

Not that you are bad to be--
yer just a better Ron than me!

I'll shaddup now.
Larry C
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6 posted 03-03-2007 01:05 PM       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

Reg,
See, Karen is proof dialect can be entertaining. But you gotta confess she looks silly there rollin' on the flo'.

A pity it's hard to be true to roots and still present our best. But on occassion truth hurts and needs to be said, specially if you ask. Daddy always said to honor the truth and know when to speak it. Hope we get to see the results.
Peace,
Larry C

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

Marge Tindal
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7 posted 03-03-2007 01:35 PM       View Profile for Marge Tindal   Email Marge Tindal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marge Tindal's Home Page   View IP for Marge Tindal

Reg~
I not only enjoy reading poetry and prose with specific dialects worked into them, I also like writing them~

A 'dialect voice' gives a specific character the ability to spring to life before the reader, in my opinion~

Here is an archived piece here at PiP, titled, "Oh Widder Woman", that I can't imagine being told in any other way except for utilizing the language of the dialect in which it takes place~
http://piptalk.com/main/forumdisplay.cgi?action=displayarchive&number=31&topic=001825

Actually, if one gives deep thought to it ... much poetry springs forth effectively from a 'dialect' ...~

Will be very interesting to see how this thread continues~

~*The sound of a kiss is not as strong as that of a cannon, but it's echo endures much longer*~
Email -             noles1@totcon.com

Essorant
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8 posted 03-03-2007 05:27 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"to not only reduce"


"to NOT speak"

You may improve your own dialect by avoiding split infinitives  

serenity blaze
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9 posted 03-03-2007 07:47 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

was I talking to you?

Nope.

I'll tell you all what Karen has decided--and I really don't care if makes me a "writer"- stamped and approved.

I'm going to write what I like, how I like, when I like, and if it happens to fit the guidelines here, then it will be here.

Everybody else can snuff a daisy.
Brad
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since 08-20-99
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Jejudo, South Korea


10 posted 03-03-2007 08:58 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Who are the greatest American writers of the 20th century?

If a few Southern names don't pop in your head after hearing that question, you haven't read enough.

To deftly split an infinitive is one of the greatest tricks of the English language.

rwood
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since 02-29-2000
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Tennessee


11 posted 03-04-2007 08:26 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Karen~Awesome! (said southern with a tryiní mock of valley-speak.)

Thanks for the great links.   Loved the Burry site too. This quote caught me on the opening page.

ďIn the artistic world, the most solitary of disciplines may be that of the writer. There are few premieres or opening nights, gallery exhibits or unveilings. There is just the work, and the elusive promise of success.Ē

See, most of my works have always included elements of my dialect, too. I could say that I donít know how else to write, but thatís not exactly true. If Iím writing from the core of who I am, my southern roots are as bold and evident as mad mink roots on a bleach-bottle-blonde, especially in artistic pieces. My phrasing gets most noted, and I have been scolded for using things like ďthangs,Ē but Iím too rebellious to erase every thang in everything I write. Critical papers and technical pieces are so taxing to me that I just wanna go get soused down at the pub and argue it out with some other Scots-Irish inflected/infected person to feel real again.  If yíall could hear me speak, oh my, youíd know how far south my gerunds have gone with the wind.

Portraying another is a different story though. I do want to be mindful of what the world may perceive someone to be through my words.

Iíve always understood and enjoyed your writing, and in fact your dialect just makes your words hit closer to home with me, so donít lose it, use it! Hehe.

Well, hon, we are definitely akin on our favorite novels.  Harper Lee is the only one I know who did it so right the first time she didnít have to write another. I also love her friend, Truman Capote. Alice Walker is another who deserved her Pulitzer, for ďThe Color Purple.Ē Masters of the southern written word to me.

Ron~ The piece Iím working on is a tribute to my daddy: A Fatherís Day submission for publication. His speech/voice can be somewhat compared to Foghorn Leghorn and Yosemite Sam, which is funny, but part of his mastery and presence is how he delivers his intelligence through that type of speech. Does that make sense at all? I want to capture his character without slighting him or degrading his intelligence.

Iíll be sure to highlight and reveal how wise he is through speech an action, as well as how ďcolorfulĒ and raucous. He can go from, ďWhat thah blaziní battles double-D barreled hell is going on?Ē(Sister-fights.) to ďAh have no comment on the mattra.Ē I canít help but hope he thinks Iíve done right by him.

Yes, college and the business world tend to erase elements of dialect. And yes, Twain is tough to tango with, in the essence of dialect. No matter how simplistic, that man made the slightest utterances a work of art.


Larry~ Ainít Daddies the greatest! Donít worry, Iíll share. Thanks so much for you.

Marge~ Wow! That piece reminded me of Eudora Welty. Fabulous word usage and yes, the dialect brought her to life. Iím happy you shared her with me.

Ess~ Au contraire, mon ami. That wouldnít be as distinguishing now would it? Improve on dialect? Thatís how it gets gone. But in this case, Iíll admit my split infinitive faux pas and thank you for having such a keen eye. Donít forget though, split infinitives are allowed in non-formal writing and in certain instances of formal writing. Even William Shakespeare used one.  Peace, my word brother.

Brad~ I know, I listed my few above, which Iíd nevah be able to compare my writing to theirs but they are a great influence and inspiration for me.  I hate to say there are few today who are able to rise to the task of that level of writing. Charles Frazier is coming along.
Sunshine
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12 posted 03-04-2007 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

Regina, a timely question, and a lot of great advice from everyone.  Thank you for sharing this question.

Mysteria
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13 posted 03-04-2007 01:16 PM       View Profile for Mysteria   Email Mysteria   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Mysteria

J Store
Regina, this journal is a great reference, for all the southern dialects.  I can't imagine any writer from the south not using a dialect actually, but then I am just a little Canadian gal, eh!  Imagine William Faulkner's work without dialect?  I find J Store invaluable for researching.  I am not a great, or even good writer, but I sure love the art.

Here's another one for you Reg.
WriteSpot - Jamaican Patois

So?  When do we get a poem with dialect from you?  I can't wait.


         
Carpe' Diem    
Mysteria
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14 posted 03-04-2007 01:51 PM       View Profile for Mysteria   Email Mysteria   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Mysteria

I forgot a great link you may enjoy Reg, this one you can hear poems as well as see then with dialect.  I like this site as I find a huge difference in hearing a poem vs reading it.  

The Poetry Archive
Larry C
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15 posted 03-05-2007 07:25 PM       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

Seems I caused offense to Karen and would like to own my error. Without diminishing my apology I believe I was misunderstood. I'm truly sorry.
serenity blaze
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16 posted 03-05-2007 08:41 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Oh Larry, c'mere.

I have a few other things on my mind and Ess? I didn't mean to hurt your feelings either.

It's not a good excuse for bad behavior, but my mom is sick and in icu and I guess I've been displacing all over the place again.

I think I oughtta shut this thing off awhile.
Larry C
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17 posted 03-05-2007 10:22 PM       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

Karen,
I'm truly sorry to hear about your mom. Seems you've had far more than your share of stress. I pray that she recovers soon.

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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since 02-29-2000
Posts 3797
Tennessee


18 posted 03-07-2007 08:30 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Awww.

Group hugs.



I hope your Momma's health has improved and is home, Karen.

Larry, you're a good man and thanks for caring.

Thanks Ms. Sunnyone. Your everlovin' light is always appreciated too.

Sharon, thank you so much for the links and my notes. I enjoy and appreciate them both, but I'll have to get permission for Insights, haha. I'm fixin' to post a little ditty here in just a bit. We'll see how it flies. Many hugs.


love,
reg

Huan Yi
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19 posted 03-11-2007 02:41 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

http://quotations.about.com/cs/poemlyrics/a/To_A_Mouse.htm


.
 
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