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Passions in Poetry

Truth versus poetic license

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Bob K
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25 posted 01-30-2008 09:22 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

     I've never been a soldier, but I did work for a year on an internship on a VA psych ward.   Wilfred Owen as Propaganda?  I don't think so:  His was a bitter address to the propagandists of his day, as you surely must know.
  
     I hope I'm completely missing your point here.  I must be, and you've been simply too gnomic for me to follow.
Bob K
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26 posted 01-30-2008 09:27 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

     I've never been a soldier, but I did work for a year on an internship on a VA psych ward.   Wilfred Owen as Propaganda?  I don't think so:  His was a bitter address to the propagandists of his day, as you surely must know.
  
     I hope I'm completely missing your point here.  I must be, and you've been simply too gnomic for me to follow.
Grinch
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27 posted 01-31-2008 01:30 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
what was your argument again, exactly?


I don’t really have an argument Stephen, I was just wondering at which point fact becomes obvious fiction and obvious fiction becomes acceptable as fact and why.

My definition of fact here is some reasonable approximation to reality as we know it and fiction the opposite.

Can a book riddled with obvious fiction ever be accepted as fact?
Huan Yi
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28 posted 01-31-2008 05:37 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


"Can a book riddled with obvious fiction ever be accepted as fact?"


The Protocols of the Elders of Zion

.
Ron
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29 posted 01-31-2008 05:52 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I'm reminded of a line from Absence of Malice, starring Sally Fields and Paul Newman. At the close of the movie one reporter asked Sally Fields, also a reporter, if the rumor is true that she had a relationship with Newman's character. Fields replied, "No, it's not true, but it is accurate."

It would be a shame, I think, to confuse facts with truth.
Stephanos
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30 posted 01-31-2008 09:56 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Can a book riddled with obvious fiction ever be accepted as fact?


I suppose that would depend upon the book, its specific content, and the intent behind the writing.  Books written as reportage, that contain glaring untruths, are not exactly "fiction" ... they are merely false, though there may be a mixture involved.  Books written as mere art or entertainment are certainly fiction, and were intended in that vein.  Didactic literature containing the equivalent of "parables" and rich in metaphor may also have elements of fiction, but are not for that reason wholly fictive.  Its not always easy, but I think one needs to determine the kind of writing that comprises whatever work is in question (and it may be more than one).  At any rate, your question can hardly be answered in a general way ... It seems a better question when asked of specific works, where textual criticism can be discussed and considered.  For when you say "obvious fiction", it strikes me as obvious only to you, as long as we're talking generalities and not particulars.  


Stephen      
TomMark
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31 posted 02-01-2008 10:41 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

How about Santa Clause? You can find those in reality, right?
1.gift giving
2.red suit
3.fat belly
quote:
Can a book riddled with obvious fiction ever be accepted as fact?

Not all fiction writings follow the definition of fiction.  They are mostly true human stories with the names and places and time changed.  If you wrote like 'I turned the switch on and I know tomorrow I shall see light. or I know that it will rain tomorrow because my memory told me yesterday." I shall say, fiction.  
Essorant
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32 posted 02-01-2008 01:45 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I find fictional additions, when used wisely, often help bring out important facts better.  A story needs some completeness, and usually some dialogue, but the plain and cold facts, often don't supply us with the "whole picture", what exactly people said in certain circumstances, etc.  Instead they often give us a "puzzle" with pieces missing.  Therefore, when we are dealing the facts, in the form of a story, it needs that we fill in the missing pieces with fiction, in order to enliven the facts and give the story a sense of wholeness.  A cold list of facts does not work as a story and especially does not work as poetry.  Fiction is a needful part in conveying facts in an artful and memorable way.  

It is better for important facts to be remembered imperfectly or inaccurately than for them to be darkened over by forgetfulness and ignorance because men fail to express them in a form that people may understand and remember well.
  

Christopher
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33 posted 02-01-2008 06:14 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

Truth is something that is true regardless of who is looking at it and remains true no matter their perspective.

All the rest are stories.

Let people tell their stories and judge them on their own merit, not their percieved level of truth which, if you really think about it, is an overrated concept that serves more to confine people, rather than free them; if we accepted "truths," I can imagine much of this world that would differ greatly from what we see of it now... and not necessarily for the better.
Essorant
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34 posted 02-02-2008 12:19 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Truth is something that is true regardless of who is looking at it and remains true no matter their perspective."


Therefore, that truth
that I have youth
And hair ungrey,
Shall be for ay?

Bob K
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35 posted 02-02-2008 04:17 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

    


     Mere art or entertainment?

     Any of us should be so lucky as to be guilty of producing "mere art."  The notion is an oxymoron, and meaningless on its face.  If we're lucky our entertainments may graduate to the level of art and may heal us in profound ways where we may not even be aware of being torn.  To despise or denigrate even slapstick comedy, movies that can make us laugh with no pretense at value beyond the merely  quotidian, is to ignore their value.  These things can help and heal people in physical and spiritual pain.

     In our search for lasting values, we do ourselves damage when we discount the very real value of the things that are not to be designated as higher or more special.  "A Night at The Opera," a whirl on the merry go round, "Groundhog Day," or even some seriously wonderful detective fiction by Raymond Chandler or Ross MacDonald or a good comic book or two can all be very healing things.  There's no need to denigrate them.

      

Stephanos
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36 posted 02-02-2008 08:06 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Please, in context ... by "mere" I did not mean to devalue art.  It was used by me to indicate a work which aspires to nothing other than what art may aspire to.  For "Crime and Punishment" is still fiction, no matter how inspiring.  It's not a devaluing statement by me, but a limiting one.  Historical documentary would aim at (and claim) something quite different than a novel would.  

You do raise a good point to Grinch however, that even fiction may hold much wisdom, truth, and power, and influence history.  

Stephen.
Essorant
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37 posted 02-02-2008 12:31 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I think it is chiefly the token of truth pursued with much wisdom and strength that we go by, rather than how many or how much "facts" or "fiction" is part of a work.  Facts, when used unwisely, may bring about and establish lies and misconception, just as much as fiction when it is used unwisely. Without truth and wisdom, facts and fiction are useless.  

TomMark
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38 posted 02-02-2008 01:45 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Grinch, for all those late discussions: truth, free verse, Dylan Thomas' Altarwise by Owl-Light,  may I ask you what shall we read out from a poem?

1. to read truth from a imaginary poem?
2. to read clear meaning from a obscure verse?
3. to read  form from free verse?

I don't know. I try to get whatever I can based on my knowledge. Sometimes, to read one without using a dictionary brought  great  satisfaction to me. truly

And I read The Altarwise again this morning. I shall find something about  his attitude toward Christianity in the net.
Grinch
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39 posted 02-02-2008 02:49 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


TomMark

My answer would be yes but why ask me? He didn't write his poem specifically for me.

TomMark
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40 posted 02-02-2008 03:25 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Grinch, do you really expect truth from a poem?  ( I myself have given up the expectation)
Ron
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41 posted 02-02-2008 04:49 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Truth is what makes a poem or story good enough to even bother reading.

Form, rhyme, pacing, tropes, dialog, even grammar and spelling -- those are just techniques, things anyone can learn. It is Truth that separates art from craft.
Bob K
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42 posted 02-02-2008 06:56 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


     And the places truth is to be found are elusive.  An experiment that has on occasion paid off for me and which may or may not work for you:  I take a place in a poem where I have become stuck, and instead of trying to think my way through the problem, which does sometimes work, I go back and look for rhymes to the words that give me problems and then plug those in to the difficult places in the text.  Or I will re-write the offending lines as the exact opposite of what I've been trying so earnestly to be saying.  These things are sometimes closer to the truth I'm searching for than my original attempts, which have been clouded by my assumption that I know the truth in the first place.

     The truth I am looking for may not actually be the truth I am initially so certain I need to express.  I may need to re-write the entire poem around the new insights.  In looking for truth, I guess I'm trying to say, I must first be willing to acknowledge that I may be shocked to discover what it is.  If I already knew, there would be no need for poetry, would there?  We could all spend our time telling each other stuff everybody already understood, as if it were shocking, important and new.  

     We need to find truths that surprise us.  That's why we can talk about poetry as risky, too.  Nobody likes to look foolish in public.  Anyway, I'm meandering too much.
Brad
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43 posted 02-02-2008 07:22 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

From memory:

The only way to tell the truth is through fiction.
--more than one guy

The ordinary is not ordinary, it is extra-ordinary.
--Heidegger

To the degree that a poem is true, it must be comic. The more serious the poem, the more the need to be fictive.
--[horribly paraphrased]John Hollander


TomMark
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44 posted 02-02-2008 08:04 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

"Truth is something that is true regardless of who is looking at it and remains true no matter their perspective."
---Christopher

"Truth is what makes a poem or story good enough to even bother reading."
---Ron

"We need to find truths that surprise us.  That's why we can talk about poetry as risky, too.  Nobody likes to look foolish in public."
---Bob K

"From memory"
---Brad

?  


A poem, one may like the best but another may not like it at all.
A poem may not reflect the author's feelings
A choosing word may not bear its original meaning
A walk on the rainbow is simply impossible.

So, what is the truth in a poem? I think that "It is what it is".(I don't think I can know the truth of a poem  because  the author himself may not know at all or simply the author has died.) But when I read it, I only acknowledge the truth of how I feel or I may feel differently from how others feel.

My thought.
TomMark
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45 posted 02-02-2008 09:56 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

quote:
Truth is what makes a poem or story good enough to even bother reading.

So, truth or not truth is based on if you want to bother yourself to read?

quote:
It is Truth that separates art from craft.

May you explain more, Dear Ron.
Craft is a skill and a product
Art is a skill and a product
?  

[This message has been edited by TomMark (02-03-2008 01:06 AM).]

Bob K
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46 posted 02-02-2008 11:22 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

I am greatly enjoying this thread, and everybody's contributions to it.  It is good to be here today.
Huan Yi
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47 posted 02-03-2008 01:39 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

"Truth that separates art from craft"


What is Dada then?

.
Bob K
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48 posted 02-03-2008 01:40 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


     I'd ask Mama, if I were you.

      That's Dada.
Grinch
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49 posted 02-03-2008 07:13 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

WARNING: The following is a little boring.

Dadaism could be viewed as a rebellion against the establishment or an antipodes to accepted standards in art. The main claim of Dadaist supporters being that society was a bad judge when in came to major decisions in areas like politics and questions with global implications and so by inference could not be relied upon to decide what was art. To emphasise this Dadaism sought to counter all recognised standards, to become anti-art, similarities could be drawn with the emergence of Punk rock which railed against popular music and commercialism.

Dadaism however suffered from the same inbuilt self destructive fault that afflicted Punk, the most popular proponents became the thing they were railing against, commercialism and popularity made them the target of their own ideology.

Dadaism could be viewed as a very good example of fiction turned fact in it’s own right in that it’s followers sought to replace the existing predominant truth  regarding the question “What is art?” with their own construction.  As I mentioned though when the popular answer to the question “what is art?” became “Dadaism” the movement was condemned to become a snake eating its own tail.

There are several discussions bubbling along in various threads at the moment that I believe are all interconnected. They all seem to be attempts to quantify poetic worth; to structure forms and styles into a hierarchical list promoting one above the other , to my mind they all boil down to the same question asked by the followers of Dadaism, “What is art”.

My own belief is that to find the answer you need, as Stephen suggested, to examine specifics, however it isn’t specific examples of art that need to be examined but individual and personal beliefs regarding art. My thought process regarding this is convoluted and may be flawed but here it is just the same, those people who abhor tongue twisters should look away at this point.

Art, like quality, is a label bestowed  by group acceptance, it is defined democratically and as such is a manufactured fact subject to change.  Belief that non-art is in fact art is a fictional notion until that belief becomes factual in the eyes of a significant minority, at that point the fiction becomes fact and a relative truth based on popular belief.

That would seem to suggest that the label “art” cannot be attributed by an individual however this raises the paradox that the individual is the source from which the label is democratically decided. So it must be the individual that decides fact from fiction based on personal belief which becomes a relative truth.


Which leads back to my original question:

Can a book riddled with obvious fiction ever be accepted as fact?

My opinion is similar to Ron’s, unless I’m misreading his post.

It can only be good\fact\true\art if you believe it.

[This message has been edited by Grinch (02-03-2008 08:10 AM).]

 
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