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Passions in Poetry

Truth versus poetic license

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Balladeer
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50 posted 02-03-2008 09:52 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

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.


Right, Ron. Actually, brain surgery, astronomical physics, and electrical engineering  are also things anyone can learn  I assume.

p.s. Before anyone says poetry ain't brain surgery, don't be so sure. To many who can't grasp it, it is.
Grinch
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51 posted 02-03-2008 11:39 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
Actually, brain surgery, astronomical physics, and electrical engineering are also things anyone can learn I assume.


I think they’d be closer to craft than art so I’m guessing the answer would be yes.

Essorant
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52 posted 02-03-2008 11:49 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Sand without the form of a sandcastle is not a sandcastle, nor is language that expresses truth poetry without the form/structure of poetry.  Without poetic structure, or with exceedingly little partakingness thereof, it is but prose or a very weak echo of a form of poetry, such as "free verse".
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53 posted 02-03-2008 11:53 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Ginch, what is the truth here

Deft tricksters these letters
Prove my disgrace,
Sentencing spies;
Mocking words peck at my eyes.

----Wordless by Grinch.

esp, Mocking words peck at my eyes
There is a truth in here.
TomMark
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54 posted 02-03-2008 11:57 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Sir Essorant
quote:
Sand without the form of a sandcastle is not a sandcastle

Sir Balladeer must like this very much and there is no gold either

Do we use sand to build a fancier castle in our brain before we even get to touch the sand?
Grinch
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55 posted 02-03-2008 12:41 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
esp, Mocking words peck at my eyes
There is a truth in here.


I'd say yes, but why are you asking me? I didn't write it for me.
Essorant
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56 posted 02-03-2008 02:47 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant


Do we use sand to build a fancier castle in our brain before we even get to touch the sand?



We use the "sand" of language in our brain, but we may not form it to anything as strong in our brain as we may thro practicing a tradition that has already been cultivated and proven thro many ages of practice, as a continued inheritance of success, instead of "starting at scratch" so to speak.  That is how you may have a strongly cultivated part of the work of many ages and practice in your own brain and practice, and build thereupon, that is to say by taking into hand the goods and weal, the strengths and foundations left behind by the past, as an inheritance for the present.  If we don't stand on the strengths of the past, we fall into a weakness in the present.  Unfortunately this is happened to the art of poetry today with the excess of free verse and many obscure manners of writing.  

Many other areas of our civilization are having more and more success in the world, such as Government, Law and Medicine.  It is unfortunate that Poetry can't share the same success, but is losing more and more of its familiar form and characteristics all the time because people keep trying to "free" from the strong traditions and "revolutionize" things out of the evolutionary success of the past.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (02-03-2008 03:41 PM).]

Grinch
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57 posted 02-03-2008 05:21 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Ess,

“My wife is beautiful” I said to an ex-friend, he shuffled his feet, coughed and said “No my wife is beautiful, yours is downright ugly”.

Trying to impose your preferences or beliefs on other people regarding what they consider art or what is beautiful isn’t a good way to make friends or influence people, it’s also futile and likely to cause offence.

Art is in the eye of the beholder.


TomMark
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58 posted 02-03-2008 05:21 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Grinch,
this white lady is for you. Is this a fiction or fact or truth.
Grinch
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59 posted 02-03-2008 05:30 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Yes, but why are you asking me? Jim didn’t write the poem for me.
TomMark
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60 posted 02-03-2008 05:42 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Sir Essorant, you did intentionally not use music to support your opinion.
TomMark
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61 posted 02-03-2008 06:17 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Grinch, this is only for you by Tom.
How do you read this?

The temperature gradient dispelled your spark
So many flirting tongues  enticed you not
A few of furry sticks the monkey's ark
If floating the flood but not under pot.

Grinch
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62 posted 02-03-2008 06:34 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


I take each letter and string them together until I make recognisable words then I check the context of the word with the words around to form sentence structure. I then try to determine the form of writing, prose poetry etc. Once I’ve done that I try to make sense of the sentences using previous experience, if the sentences don’t make direct and obvious sense, and I believe it’s a poem, I select individual key words and try to find an association within the text the suggests the underlying meaning. I also look for devices, metre, metaphor etc.

TomMark
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63 posted 02-03-2008 06:41 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Grinch, you made reading poem a rocket science.   
Grinch
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64 posted 02-03-2008 06:49 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Actually I over-simplified it - reading is a complex task.

TomMark
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65 posted 02-03-2008 07:23 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

No, it is easy
Grinch
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66 posted 02-03-2008 07:44 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Tom,

This was especially useful.

quote:
Use Your Instructor - admit you are stuck and make an appointment with the instructor. Be specific about your confusion and point out the paragraph you find most confusing.


It‘s complex
TomMark
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67 posted 02-03-2008 08:27 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

you are right, you are right!!!! At least you answered your own question.
Bob K
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68 posted 02-04-2008 02:39 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


     The conversation seems to have gotten less and less understandable.  This may be a limit on my own understanding of things.  Essorant's comment about free verse being a weak form of anything is one I find difficult to grasp.

     There are enough talented poets who are able to turn their abilities to both and who have done so to suggest that to categorize free verse as an inferior modality is probably not a well considered position.  James Wright, Galway Kinnell, Donald Justice, John Berryman, Theodore Roethke, W.S. Merwin, Robert Lowell and Ted Hughs come to mind  without difficulty.  Kinnell did a book length translation of Francois Villon twice, once in rhymed and metered verse, once in free verse.  None of these people are (or, as the case may be, were) ignorant of the tradition, and have made choices to write in free verse over metered verse for specific poems because they thought it was a modality that was better suited for the poem, not because it was somehow weak and inferior.  There are, I notice, several Pulitzers in Poetry on that list.

     Essorant is a good writer, but I must disagree with him here in the strongest terms.  I know that he has well developed theories of his own about the way poetry works and the way it should work.  I don't know how well read he has had time to become in the contemporary and modern poets.  Many of them have, from time to time, been known to say they thought that free verse was in fact more difficult to write than traditional verse.

     I have never myself thought this to be a universal truth.  Formal verse I find simpler to simply abandon than to revise through difficulties to a satisfactory conclusion.
Free verse simply takes me years.  The jury is out here.  Maybe I will be able to finish up one of my sonnet type poems in the next few years, and I'll be able to say.

(And yes, I intended the split infinitive "to simply abandon;" it seemed to work more gracefully.  I put off commenting till later because I thought I shouldn't call immediate attention to it.)
Essorant
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69 posted 02-04-2008 01:17 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I have nothing against acknowledging that freeverse is a form of poetry and one that may sometimes work fairly well.  But to put it on the same level as the long and strong traditions that are far more established, I find is incorrect.  Why?  Because freeverse abandons the important characteristics that have been established and that strongly distinguish poetry as poetry in the first place.  When you take away poetic patterns of meter, and rhyme, you assimilate poetry much to prose and plain speech.  Who says prose and plain speech don't have virtues and greatness?  Not I.  But they are not poetry without poetic form.  

To say that after divorcing important parts of form for freedom it is still just as much a form of poetry I think is a bit of a delusion.  That is the only part that I don't agree with.  What more?

TomMark
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70 posted 02-04-2008 01:55 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Sir Essorant, My old neighbor Mr.G has planted his little garden for 27 years. Mrs G told me that he has been planting the same kind  flower for 27 years, the impatient. When April come (MO) I saw him using a meter long ruler to do the measure. I could not help laughing  aloud at him. Even if he was a mathematician, (he was teaching Math in University after retired) he did not need to measure everything. later at the spot where he used to plant line by line, he asked me to plant a lip shape with impatient.

You may have a garden by measuring
You may have a garden by not measuring

All we want is the beauty.

my thought.

PS, 20 years ago, the average age of my friends were 65.
  
Bob K
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71 posted 02-04-2008 04:19 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Essorant,

          "[F]ree verse abandons the important characteristics that have been established and that strongly distinguish poetry as poetry in the first place.  When you take away poetic patterns of meter, and rhyme, you assimilate poetry much to prose and plain speech."

     In poetry, the argument by appeal to tradition actually makes more sense than usual.  When women began to use ether to assist with management of pain in childbirth, there was a wide  cry of reaction against it, initially on the grounds that it hadn't been done before; then later because women's suffering during childbirth was supposed to be their punishment for the loss of paradise.
The general hue and cry subsided, if I remember my sixth grade research paper correctly, only after Queen Victoria made a point of using ether to aid in the delivery of her children.

     The number one cause of hospital death for women during much of the 19th century was Childbed Fever.  The cause?  The doctors loved their authority symbol coats that never seemed to get washed, and the doctors never seemed to get around to washing their hands.  They scoffed at the guy who pointed this out, and ran him out of the profession.  Semmelweiss, I believe his name was, Ignaz Semmelweiss.  They'd always worn their coats, they'd never had to wash their hands before; obviously Semmelweiss was a dangerous quack and had to go.

     In cases like this, so far away from the subject at hand, the relationship of tradition and truth is a bit easier to look at; we don't have anything to defend.  I've stacked the deck using examples absurdly favorable to the notion that tradition is a threat to a rational examination of reality.  That's because I'm being a weasel here.  The truth is that it could go either way, and that you have to examine each new proposition on its own merits.  

     Even, as I said to start off with, that with poetry there's a good case for not throwing tradition out.  I wouldn't.  But Essorant is suggesting that with free verse we're going through a process we haven't gone through before in poetry, and I respectfully disagree with him.

     The poetry the Greeks had was very different than the poetry the Romans had.  The poetry of the Romans was very different from that of the Anglo-Saxons.  The poetry of  the Norman-French was different from that of the emerging middle-english, and so on.  A good case can be made that the contempt of people today who write "formal" verse directed toward those who write "free verse" is no different than that expressed across any of these other cultural gulfs.  Two  exceptions apply.  The contempt is slightly more distasteful because we have to deal with it.  And, contradicting myself in virtually the same breath, because there is an even more awesome gulf opening between practitioners of "other kinds of verse and "L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E POETRY."

     The original Greek poetry was bardic.  It was oral.  It was in meter to be accompanied by music as an aide memoire.  It was memorized verse, and it wasn't written down for hundreds of years.  Homer was like that.

     Think of the revolution between poetry that was composed out loud and memorized, and revised by endless recitation into some sort of final form and poetry that was written down.  Can you image the mud-slinging that went along with that shift?  People who didn't have a muse inside them to guide them versus the improvisers, who did?  or the people with a decent memory versus those who needed a crib sheet?  HA!

     By the time a Latin literature started to develop, there was a similar pool of bad blood there too.  Essorant, you're far more scholar than I am.  You'd be the first to tell me where the word Barbarian came from.  You know what an inferiority complex the Romans had about Greek poetry, and how every Roman with pretensions to culture and to poetry had to be fluent.  And how that still wasn't enough.  It took centuries before Latin had a respectable literature (in its own eyes) of its own.

     The same thing has happened at every cultural turn and twist, when a language has emerged or reinvented itself.  This contempt for the future is tired and predictable.  In time, all these past movements get clumped together into one revered mass called the tradition.  The new one will eventually be added to it.  The contempt in the meantime is sad and tired, and it's been going on for thousands of years to no good point.

    
Huan Yi
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72 posted 02-04-2008 07:11 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

,

“What is truth?”

Pontius Pilate


“Archaeology is the search for fact... not truth. If it's truth you're looking for, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall.”

Indiana Jones


"Quick definitions (truth)

noun:   a fact that has been verified "

Quick definitions (fact)

noun:   a concept whose truth can be proved


.
Stephanos
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73 posted 02-04-2008 07:21 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

hmmm... I wonder if an older wiser Indy would concede that Philosophy has been most concerned in recent centuries with convincing itself (like Pilate) that there is no such thing as truth.     

Did you know that there's yet another Indiana Jones movie coming out, with Harrison Ford?

Does he have a walker or a cane in this one?  

Bob K
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74 posted 02-08-2008 10:30 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Stephanos,

           I can't really say what modern philosophy is about.  I'm trying to get through stuff about parrhesia by Foucault which is interesting, but its take on truth has to do with truth spoken against power.  Truth spoken in a democracy, as I understand it, may not even be a matter of discussion, though it does have some glancing relation to concepts of "logos."  We always seem to go back to roots in order to get ahead, I've noticed.  I think sometimes, we need to check our feet are still firmly rooted before we allow our heads to do any wandering.

     Linguistic philosophy is not necessary a way of avoiding the notion of truth, though.  It's a way of approaching truth that I've never been entirely certain I've understood.

     I do like the notion of performative language:  That is, language that is an action.  The whole sticks and stones business goes out the window, where I suspect it's always belonged.  The prototypical situation for a piece of performative speech is in the marriage ceremony, where either of the two celebrants says "I do."  That single sentence changes everything about the lives of both parties forever.  Language as action.  Or oath taking is another situation of the same sort.  When one says," I so swear," reality is in that moment changed.

     A case can probably be made for language being the arena for the functioning of the performative, and that this is one of the reasons for the depth of meaning in the word "Logos."

     My understanding is that modern philosophy is ill-served by your description of it.  I believe in a similar fashion, however, that a decent examination of religion has not been undertaken by modern philosophy since Teilhard, though some theologians have tried.  Religion has been under-served and perhaps ill-served and has cause for complaint.

All my best, Bob K.
 
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