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Passions in Poetry

The Rest of Your Life

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Essorant
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since 08-10-2002
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Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


0 posted 01-11-2008 08:53 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Through Maecenas Vergil met Octavian, who at once took him under his protection, compensated him for the loss of his farm, and made it possible for him to devote the rest of his life to poetry"  (From the Introduction in Clyde Pharr's edition of Vergil's Aeneid)

If you had the opportunity truly to dedicate the rest of your life to poetry, would you do so?


[This message has been edited by Essorant (01-11-2008 09:39 PM).]

serenity blaze
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since 02-02-2000
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1 posted 01-11-2008 11:21 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

no
Essorant
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since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


2 posted 01-12-2008 12:12 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I would.
TomMark
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since 07-27-2007
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3 posted 01-12-2008 01:29 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

I would too.
Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
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Whoville


4 posted 01-12-2008 07:44 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


No.

The only good reason to dedicate your life to anything is if you’re actually very good at it to start with, or have a clear and obvious chance to be very good  at it at some point in the future. Dedicating your whole life to something when you’re never going to be anything other than mediocre at best seems a bit of a waste of time to me.

At our level dedicating a little of your  free time to poetry is justifiable but dedicating your whole life?

If you’re claiming the potential to be another Dylan Thomas or the like then I’d say go for it, if not I’d stick to spending a little of your spare time and getting some enjoyment from posting in an internet forum.
TomMark
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since 07-27-2007
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5 posted 01-12-2008 11:33 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

quote:
The only good reason to dedicate your life to anything is if you’re actually very good at it to start with


Sound very illogical.
And who is Dylan Thomas?

[This message has been edited by TomMark (01-12-2008 12:41 PM).]

Bob K
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since 11-03-2007
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6 posted 01-12-2008 07:44 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Essorant Folks,

     If you can give it up, you should give it up, otherwise you're setting yourself and everybody around you up for a lot of unnecessary grief.  You'd have to be a fool to put your life into a meat grinder like that if you didn't have to.  The issues of acceptance and rejection alone are enough to make a rock weep.  If you can quit and have a nice quiet life as a lion tamer or human cannonball where the trajectory of events is at least predictable, why wouldn't you?

     Not that money isn't important:  Does anybody out there feel they have "enough?"  And bless those of you who do.  But any of us who are idiot enough to be poets in the first place have got to be dealing with issues of grandiosity, otherwise why even start in a field with such an intimidating history to it.  William What's His Face, and Homer Simpson and Angie Dickenson and all those folks.
(For those who may take it upon yourselves to leap to correct me, those aren't actual mistakes; they are jokes in extremely poor taste.  Sorry.  When I try to talk honestly, I tend to get very nervous).

     Also, P.S.:  Essorant; I've left bits of feedback for you here and there, some of which has shown up, some not in the feedback sections. I tend to enjoy what you're doing in "The Quarrel," for example.   If you've seen any and have any reaction, I'd enjoy hearing.  If not, not.  My best, BobK.
oceanvu2
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since 02-24-2007
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7 posted 01-13-2008 05:08 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

ESSORANT:  Heck of good example and follow up question.

Since you couch the question as something you are asking people individually, I respond with a personal answer:

Per the Introductory statement:  Through Military, Social Security, Medicare, Medical, and Housing Authority benefits, the US government has taken me under its protection and given me the possibility of devoting the rest of my life to poetry.   That is, I don’t have to work for a living.  As long as Deb and I are content to live modestly, thanks to the Government. we will “always” have roof overhead and food to eat without punching any particular clock.

The “always,” is conditional, of course.  Disasters happen, governments fall, etc, but for the nonce, and what I can tell of the immediate future, we’re OK.

So the question for me is not entirely speculative, but it does bring up some expanded notions re the “dedicate the rest of your life to poetry” part.

I have to ask what that might mean to you specifically.  If circumstances were such, that is, if the academic creds were gained through formal study of poetic literature, and a choice were made to spend a life teaching and writing “about” poetry through formal career and beyond, without ever writing a single line, does that qualify one as dedicated to a life of poetry?

Similarly, if one is “free" enough to choose simply to read poetry, pretty much to the exclusion of other types of literature, for insights gained or the just sheer joy of it, is that a valid example of dedicating one’s life to poetry?

Similarly, if at some point a non-writer and non reader, casual reader or avid reader has circumstances which permit the support of poetry through creating a publication outlet or an internet site, for poetic expression, and keeps it going, like Black Swallow,  City Lights, or PiP, with no lines written, does that constitute a life dedicated to poetry?

Or are you asking about this in a Thomas Merton sense, who forsook everything including speech and interaction with others to dedicate his life to poetry?  Even that’s only a half decent example.  Merton was equally dedicated to religious meditation.  Or is there not much difference between the two?
At any rate, having the option, I am choosing a dedication to poetry for what time I have left, the reading, writing, publishing, yapping, and occasionally teaching parts.

The question might be “why poetry?”  

I could, with close to equal amusement, spend my time constructing scale model airplanes or becoming immersed in Meso-American cultural anthropology, two other long term interests and wonderful time killers for my days of leisure.  

Why poetry, then?  Is this no more than making a judgment  call? I don’t know anything beyond the simple notion that poetry tickles me more than other options right now, and it has a sustaining quality.

Infamous pastes which some people despise:

“I don’t want to set the world on fire,
I just want to start
The flame in (my) heart.”

And, butchering Bob Dylan:

“There’s something going on here, but I don’t know what it is, does I, Mr. Jones?”

Not much “Philosophy 101” in this, but an honest response.

Best, the other other Jim.  

[This message has been edited by oceanvu2 (01-13-2008 10:45 PM).]

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


8 posted 01-13-2008 05:18 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi Grinch:  A perfectly reasonable and pragmatic reply.

On the other hand, poetry and dedication seem to have little to do with pragmatics.

An ass can always bray, no matter how indifferently it sings.  You can tell an ass to shut up, or hit it over the head, but it's not likely to make much of an impact on the ass.

Best, Jimmy
oceanvu2
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since 02-24-2007
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Santa Monica, California, USA


9 posted 01-13-2008 05:26 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Bob K: "If you can give it up, you should give it up..."

If you can give it up, you will give it up.  End of poet and reader grief, for sure.

If you can't give it up, and are incompetent, you still can't give it up.

If you can give it up, and are highly competent, you still can't give it up.

Some people are obsessed with collecting shells or stamps.  Some people are obsessed with wretched rhyme.  What do you do, shoot'em all for killing time?

Best, Jim
Bob K
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since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


10 posted 01-13-2008 11:45 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Jim,

         You can argue with a man when he's right, but it's not as much fun.  You're right, of course.  Affectionately, BobK.
oceanvu2
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since 02-24-2007
Posts 1007
Santa Monica, California, USA


11 posted 01-14-2008 01:14 AM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

BobK:  No one besides you seems to agree with me ever. Perhaps it's a shared illness.

Smiling out loud, Jim
Stephanos
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since 07-31-2000
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12 posted 01-14-2008 05:42 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Jim:
quote:
No one besides you seems to agree with me ever.


I simply have to disagree here.




Stephen
Essorant
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since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


13 posted 01-16-2008 01:25 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Grinch


The only good reason to dedicate your life to anything is if you’re actually very good at it to start with..

Which man in Middenard was or ever will be writing poetry very good right "to start" with?  Methinketh, the "very good" instead comes from dedication, not from "the start".  



"...or have a clear and obvious chance to be very good  at it at some point in the future. "

Wouldn't the opportunity to dedicate your life be a "clear and obvious chance"?  I think so.  

Nevertheless, Fortune's wheel may turn anytime.  Just because you fall today, doesn't mean you won't fly tomorrow.

Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


14 posted 01-16-2008 03:37 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
Wouldn't the opportunity to dedicate your life be a "clear and obvious chance"? I think so.


Only if you believe every would-be-poet has the potential to be the next Dylan Thomas.


Susan Caldwell
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since 12-27-2002
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15 posted 01-16-2008 04:02 PM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

I love poetry, I really...but I can't totally dedicate my life to any one thing..

I would get bored.

I need more.  Always.  *sigh*

"too bad ignorance isn't painful"
~Unknown~

Essorant
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since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


16 posted 01-17-2008 01:44 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant


Only if you believe every would-be-poet has the potential to be the next Dylan Thomas.


Absolutely.  Wasn't he a mortal human too?

 
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