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Passions in Poetry

Poetry and typography

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oceanvu2
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since 02-24-2007
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0 posted 06-16-2007 07:59 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Poetry and typography:


When                    I
             Read             the Magazine
New
                American Poetry

                        I

SEE       a lot  of                  stuff
                       That
                       Looks
                       Like

                       This,
                                            But
Makes less sen         se.


Am I just out of it, missing the point(s) entirely?
I don't have a problem with eccentric line breaks, but when one throws general absurdity or surreal, Dada type images into the mix, what does this kind of formatting add for the reader?

I'm not coming down heavily on content, though I admit to being "lost" much of the time.  I wonder, though, what this formattting is all about.

Any friends working this way?  Thoughts?

And, oh, I'm a fan of Appolonaire, whose poems often were hand written as caricatures -- word outlined pictures related to the subject at hand.  So I'm not entirely dense.

Best, Jim
Stephanos
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1 posted 06-16-2007 08:26 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

The trick is, is to be so "avant garde" as to create the feeling in others that unless they "get it" they are less intelligent or hopelessly backward.  I'm not against experimentation, but I think much of it is smoke and mirrors.  


Stephen.
Drauntz
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since 03-16-2007
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2 posted 06-16-2007 08:43 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

Space Poems are for technical eyes. but this, need  de-fragmentation, obviously.
oceanvu2
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3 posted 06-16-2007 09:17 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi Drauntz! re: "Space Poems are for technical eyes. but this, need  de-fragmentation, obviously."

Can you go further with explanation?  What's a Space Poem, a genre different from Field Poetry?

When you say "this," I think you are referring to my "example" of typography.  It was not intended to be a poem, just a picture of what many poems in a specific magazine, and probably others, currently "look" like.

Where does the "technical eye" come into play?  Does this style consist of elaborate crossword puzzles?  Or is the format intended to display something accessible in a unique way?

I'm not knocking it too hard, I just ain't gettin' too much.

STEPHANOS:  I'd like to think that there is something more to this than showing off in an avant garde way.  Maybe I'm naive, but I keep thinking that writers write to communicate.  I'm not convinced it's nonsense, I just can't make much sense out of it.

  Jimbeaux-in-limbeaux.
Edward Grim
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4 posted 06-16-2007 09:44 PM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

Maybe they're leaving enough space between the lines so their English teachers can put their critique marks in there. heh

Or maybe we're meant to fill in the blanks.





Edster


“Well all the apostles, they’re sittin’ on the swings, sayin’ I’d sell off my savior for a set of new rings.”
Ron
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5 posted 06-16-2007 11:10 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Many would contend that the principle difference between prose and poetry is the line break. Or, as Frances Mayes says in her book, The Discovery of Poetry, "Poetry is a line art and prose is a sentence art." Every single line break in a poem is a choice made by the author and, ideally, every single line break -- like every single word -- should impart meaning. Whether it actually does or not should be an indictment of the writer, not of the medium.

What you're describing, Jim, is simply free verse. The line breaks and white space create a sense of movement, just as meter, rhyme and (again) line breaks do with more traditional form poetry. Done right, it should determine the speed in which a poem is experienced. Done right, it should reflect the energy of the poem. And, done really right, it should enhance and underpin the feelings evoked by the content. In great poetry, form and content are not only inseparable, the are all but indistinguishable.

Now, whether what you're reading actually accomplishes these lofty goals is another matter entirely.
oceanvu2
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6 posted 06-16-2007 11:25 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi Ron.  Ok, I'll buy that.  I'm all in favor of whatever works.  Just waiting for it to work for me, and I'm flexible enough to come around to lots of things.

Best, Jim
Essorant
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7 posted 06-17-2007 12:10 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I noticed Freeverse often tries to make up for its lack of structure, poetic meter and rhyme, with visual vanity.  That is because it doesn't give enough to the ear, so it tries to make up for it, and somewhat desperately, by giving more to the eye.
rwood
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8 posted 06-17-2007 07:30 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Some are purposely visual and pricey.

I have my eye on a Bob Marley piece done by a local artist.

It's a watercolor and ink similar to the image on his Legend album cover.

His song lyrics etch the entire picture so subtly you can't tell from a distance. Up close is every word along with some of his quotes, creating every detail from his eyelashes to his dreadlocks.

people get creative, some applications work, some don't.  
Drauntz
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9 posted 06-17-2007 04:34 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz


oceanvu2,

"What's a Space Poem, a genre different from Field Poetry?"

"Field Poetry"...... you read the words and you read between the lines of the "vertical" sense. you read the breath from the length of verses.

"Space Poetry"....you read the words and the two dimensional spaces, both "vertical" and "Horizontal". You read the breath in the space between the words.

You see the stars among the space...the sky
you see the the wave in the water...the ocean
you see the trees in the mountains...the forest.

That is my best guess. But, I do not think that I enjoy reading that style, no matter how artistic I thought it is.
Edward Grim
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10 posted 06-17-2007 05:32 PM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

quote:
I noticed Freeverse often tries to make up for its lack of structure, poetic meter and rhyme, with visual vanity.  That is because it doesn't give enough to the ear, so it tries to make up for it, and somewhat desperately, by giving more to the eye.


*sighs

again with the jabs at freeverse.

“Well all the apostles, they’re sittin’ on the swings, sayin’ I’d sell off my savior for a set of new rings.”

Essorant
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11 posted 06-18-2007 07:52 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

It is more a scientific observation than a jab.
Edward Grim
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12 posted 06-18-2007 09:53 AM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

Scientific observation? Yes I suppose there's a science to writing but maybe not in the definition you mean. And Traditional poetry is just a formula; anybody can follow this "dress pattern" and (to other Traditionalist poets) will pass off as a "worthy" piece of poetry. Freeverse isn't inhibited by any formula or anything, which is its grace and its downfall. In the right hands, it is a very powerful vehicle for writing poetry; in the wrong hands, it's a mess. Any kind of poetry is like that. You've said that my poetry and all freeverse sounds weak, well, I have the same sentiments towards traditional; but in my mind, next to sounding weak, traditional writing often sounds just plain asinine. I’m not going to drudge up this conversation again; this is just a subject we will absolutely never agree on.



I don't know why people use those funky line breaks in poetry. It's ridiculous, it shows that they don't have enough talent to enhance their language; they have to "enhance" the structure.

“Well all the apostles, they’re sittin’ on the swings, sayin’ I’d sell off my savior for a set of new rings.”

oceanvu2
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since 02-24-2007
Posts 1007
Santa Monica, California, USA


13 posted 06-18-2007 04:32 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Edster:  RE:

"And Traditional poetry is just a formula; anybody can follow this "dress pattern" and (to other Traditionalist poets) will pass off as a "worthy" piece of poetry."

I not sure you thought this comment out.  If "anybody" can follow a traditional "dress pattern," a real fun excercise might be to write a sonnet, and then, just for the pure joy of it, write, say, 127 more, making each one sing...

Or, if you just can't bring yourself to rhyme, try 40,000 or more lines of blank verse, another nifty "dress pattern."  You start out gently, with comedies, move on to histories, dramas, and end up with a really wild dream play or two, that resonate through centuries.

Oh wait, somebody already did that!  My bad.  

RE:

"Freeverse isn't inhibited by any formula or anything, which is its grace and its downfall."

Free verse, as you go on to correct yourself, seems totally constrained by the skills and referential background of both poet and reader.  Like traditional verse, it's entirely a matter of the "right hands."

I think, in essence, what you are objecting to is "incompetent execution" in traditional forms. I'm not the one who establishes the line for competency in any format.  I'm wrong about a lot of things.  But generally, you can smell it when you read it.

And I qualify this by saying that the technically naive are not the same as the "incompetent."  This would wipe out the untutored but read-for-centuries balladeers
who gave us "Barbara Allen," "Sir Patrick Spens," "Childe Maurice" and host of other rustic rhyming treasures.

As For:

"I don't know why people use those funky line breaks in poetry."

Me neither. .

Best, Jimbeaux.
oceanvu2
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14 posted 06-18-2007 05:17 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Essorant:  Do you then dismiss Whitman, May Swenson, Richard Wilbur, Stephen Spender, Dylan Thomas, Bishop, Denise Levertov, Diane Wakowski, et al?  

Also, I forgot that Cummings, ("Oh Sweet Spontaneous Earth",) Muriel Ruykeyser, and May Swenson used well wrought idiosyncratic typography, Cummings sometimes with rhyme, and Swenson and Ruykyser almost never.

My mind is fetching this up from a distance, so I might not be dead on, and this is lot to throw out there, but I hope you get the notion of the question posed in this response.

Best, Jim

Best, Jim
Edward Grim
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15 posted 06-18-2007 05:38 PM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

Jimbeaux

quote:
I not sure you thought this comment out.


Wouldn't be the first time, or second time. Perhaps I just didn't explain myself properly.

quote:
If "anybody" can follow a traditional "dress pattern," a real fun excercise might be to write a sonnet, and then, just for the pure joy of it, write, say, 127 more, making each one sing...


Heh, well of course you use Shakes as your example. I bring up paper airplanes and you're talkin' about 747's. Really, what I'm trying to say is that people today have this notion that rhyming and certain patterns will make a poem good. I'm saying that many people truly believe that all they have to do is follow this "pattern" and whatever nonsense they pump out will be good. The problem is that most of the traditional poetry I see today doesn't "make each one sing" like you said. I mean come on, you've seen some of the traditional poetry today, it tends to be unbearable. Then again, you get some of these beat poets who need to be shot with a crossbow... My God, I don't think I have a good opinion about poetry in general. This is news to me... Do I hate poetry? Wow, I'm confused now.

Well anyways, this is pretty much just residue leftover from the "what is poetry" thread that Ess and I never really came to terms with. That's why I was keeping it brief and incoherent. Ok, the latter wasn't really intentional but who gives a Chippendale (I like to use cabinetmakers in phrases whenever I can).

quote:
Free verse, as you go on to correct yourself, seems totally constrained by the skills and referential background of both poet and reader.


Yes, freeverse is an acquired taste I suppose, and it does limit both parties but not everyone digs Jackson Pollock either. A lot of people prefer the "Jack and Jill ran up a hill" poem, that's just how I see it. What can I say, I'm a rebel without a leather jacket.

And when I said:

"I'm saying that many people truly believe that all they have to do is follow this "pattern" and whatever nonsense they pump out will be good."

I'm the same way. Because a lot of my expletive is a steamy pile of expletive soup. Everybody has certain formulas they follow, to a certain degree, the neo-traditional style of poetry just irks me I suppose. That's not to say it's bad because it's not; I just have an itch and it doesn't scratch me the right way.

quote:
Like traditional verse, it's entirely a matter of the "right hands."

I think, in essence, what you are objecting to is "incompetent execution" in traditional forms.


Bingeaux Jimbeaux!!

quote:
I'm not the one who establishes the line for competency in any format.


Maybe not. But I'm very proud to say that I utilize all of my incompetence on the side of freeverse. I don't pretend to be a good poet; I pretend to be a good writer in other formats by not in poetry. I just like to tell stories and use cool word combinations and poetry is a good way to tell a quick story.

quote:
And I qualify this by saying that the technically naive are not the same as the "incompetent."


I might just be naive about how high my level of incompetence is (in this area that is). I don't hide the fact that I don't study poetry (I have in the past) but retained none of it and don't care to.

Peace

Edster

“Well all the apostles, they’re sittin’ on the swings, sayin’ I’d sell off my savior for a set of new rings.”

Christopher
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Purgatorial Incarceration


16 posted 06-18-2007 07:27 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

Your personal interpretations don't necessarily qualify as "scientific observation," Ess.   

oceanvu - I just wanted to throw out a couple of examples (sort of) of where some interesting line breaks can lead you. These links are all here on PIP.

One of my favorites and incredibly creative


if not my favorite poet here, close to


I've done a few myself
oceanvu2
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17 posted 06-18-2007 08:11 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Thank you Christopher!  I wouldn't throw these "out" for contemplation, but throw them in! Allicat's poem defeats me, but I love it when his form moves to a Jack Grapes mode.  For me, this is one of the hardest things to do well, and it is exceptional.

The other two examples, (including yours) are also excellent, and ring with accessibility.

Thank you for your thoughts and insight through example.

Best, Jim

 
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