Foetry.Com
November 23, 2014, 05:06:59 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Foetry.Com v.2 Forum Archive Through May 2007
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 9
  Print  
Author Topic: Judging Poetry and Integrity  (Read 70558 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Monday Love
Administrator
*****
Posts: 1130



« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2006, 08:50:21 AM »

Quote from: "Bugzita"
ExPat said,
Quote
Which brings me back to what I said at the end of my response to Jennifer's first post about "Touch Me." Is there a connection between integrity and great poetry, or can a charlatan dissemble it?


From what I understand, Robert Frost was a cranky old man who bullied others, and yet his poetry endures because of its accessability across the board. And I'm not arguing for or against the artistic aspects of Frost poetry, just to say that "goodness" in poetry is not always an indicator of good character in the poet.

Within every good soul, there is always an evil twin struggling to burst out; within most evil souls, there is the good twin tapping on their shoulders (sociopaths and psychopaths may be notable exceptions).

If one accepts the notion of Johari's Window, one will see that aspects of personality are broken down into four sections:

Known to Others =
1. Open (Known to Self)  2. Blind (Not known to Self)

Not Known to Others =
3. Hidden (Known to Self)  4. Unknown (Not Known to Self)

Poets and writers (and artists in general) seem to struggle mightily with conflicts between good and evil and sometimes act in ways that befuddle the rest of the world. Their work is "out there" for the world to pick apart and, ultimately, to make assumptions about the writer or artist. The "ordinary" people can hide behind their anonymity.

I contend that the "first apple" bitten into was not an apple at all, but an expression of free will (by a woman, yet  Cool ), and the human race has been struggling ever since with the notion of choosing good over evil, so it's no surprise that artists DO exhibit a duality of character and that it's more obvious to others.

ExPat, please explain, "Can a charlatan dissemble it?" I'm feeling kind of thick-headed today.

Hummm. This is a topic worth developing, but I'm not thinking too clearly at the moment--I have an appointment, and I have to get ready. PLEASE jump in. I think I'm grasping at something...

Speaking of artists, take a look at Google's logo for today (12/11).

Bugz


You could build a whole theory of aesthetics based on johari's window.  Thanks, Bugz, I've never run into this before.  

I think the 'open' window is where most great poetry gets written.

The 'blind' window is where a poet writes unintentional parody.

The 'hidden' window is where obscure and pretentious poetry gets written, like the worst of Plath and Hughes, for instance.

And the 'unknown' window is where most distinguished poetry is produced today, the Ashbery poem, for instance, where neither the poet nor the reader know what the bleep is going on, and almost for that very reason, in our modern euphoria, we are very impressed.
Logged

hisper and eye contact don't work here.
Bugzita
Administrator
*****
Posts: 703



« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2006, 04:21:12 PM »

Wow, Monday Love. It's scary to think that aesthetics of poetry could be developed from Johari's window, but it does make some kind of sense. How much you want to bet that at next year's MLA there will be some kind of paper on "Johari's Window: aesthetics and poetry."

Yikes!   :x

Bugz
Logged

ennifer Semple Siegel

One must always question wrongheaded conventional wisdom.
Monday Love
Administrator
*****
Posts: 1130



« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2006, 09:01:33 AM »

Quote from: "Bugzita"
Wow, Monday Love. It's scary to think that aesthetics of poetry could be developed from Johari's window, but it does make some kind of sense. How much you want to bet that at next year's MLA there will be some kind of paper on "Johari's Window: aesthetics and poetry."

Yikes!   :x

Bugz


Or "Jorie's Window: cheating and poetry."

Open: Wow!  Another prize!
Blind: Helen Vendler is a genius!
Hidden: No problem, darling, I'm the judge!
Unknown: I will now read you my poetry.
Logged

hisper and eye contact don't work here.
Expatriate Poet
Newbie
*
Posts: 150



« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2006, 12:03:50 AM »

Quote from: "Monday Love"

But one might say, surely 'integrity' knows no parts.  One cannot be good part of the time.  So if 'integrity' implies a kind of unity of character or purpose, then we cannot even talk about the 'part' of a person  who makes the excellent poem.  Can we really believe that Stanely Kunitz, who wrote that sweet, nostalgic, sensitive, delicate poem "Touch Me," has no identity, no character, which we can describe as good, which produced that poem?  Is it possible that Kunitz was some foul, corrupt character who had a small island in his soul which happened to grow beautiful verse?

How far are we willing to go in breaking up this inquiry into parts of a person?  How far are we willing to go in saying that what is 'bad' can produce what is 'good?'

One can see that is nearly impossible to articulate this logically.  I believe that good people write better poetry.  But I don't think I could prove it, especially since I could not prove what makes poetry 'better.'


I personally don't think we can talk about the "part" of a person who makes an "excellent" poem--defining excellence as whatever quality there is in "Touch Me" that inspires us all and makes us all stop and ponder the meaning of poetry and life.

Obviously there are 'parts' in us, that's indisputable. We are all enormously complex and we all have sides of ourselves which we hardly know and some of which we wish we really didn't--I still lose my temper at times and throw whatever it is I have in my hand on the floor--which can be dramatic if it's a glass, destructive if it's a fountain pen, offensive if it's something that belongs to someone else, and absurd if it's just a piece of paper. So that's a part of me, and even at 67 I can be diminished by it.

But I know I don't write poetry with that part--and I would even be so bold as to say that when I write poetry well I don't write with any aspect of myself that could be described as a ‘part’ at all. For one thing, I very rarely complete a good poem in under a year, and most of my best poems have continued in a state of flux for well over 10, yet the me that prunes them and blows on them and tweaks them over the years is always the same--and I listen to them with the same ear and am warmed by them with the same heart which never changes.

So what's that?

I have no idea myself, and am impatient with all the discourses, spiritual, psychological and neuro-physiological, that try to define it--including Jorie's window. I'm just convinced that behind the hustle and bustle of being human there is something that shines through, and that that something has no self at all--no part, no aspect, no past, present or future!

I’m also convinced it doesn’t go to heaven, by the way.

On the other hand,  when you read it in a poem it's never out of date!

Christopher
Logged

Christopher Woodman
Monday Love
Administrator
*****
Posts: 1130



« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2006, 11:34:48 AM »

Quote from: "Expatriate Poet"
Quote from: "Monday Love"

But one might say, surely 'integrity' knows no parts.  One cannot be good part of the time.  So if 'integrity' implies a kind of unity of character or purpose, then we cannot even talk about the 'part' of a person  who makes the excellent poem.  Can we really believe that Stanely Kunitz, who wrote that sweet, nostalgic, sensitive, delicate poem "Touch Me," has no identity, no character, which we can describe as good, which produced that poem?  Is it possible that Kunitz was some foul, corrupt character who had a small island in his soul which happened to grow beautiful verse?

How far are we willing to go in breaking up this inquiry into parts of a person?  How far are we willing to go in saying that what is 'bad' can produce what is 'good?'

One can see that is nearly impossible to articulate this logically.  I believe that good people write better poetry.  But I don't think I could prove it, especially since I could not prove what makes poetry 'better.'


I personally don't think we can talk about the "part" of a person who makes an "excellent" poem--defining excellence as whatever quality there is in "Touch Me" that inspires us all and makes us all stop and ponder the meaning of poetry and life.

Obviously there are 'parts' in us, that's indisputable. We are all enormously complex and we all have sides of ourselves which we hardly know and some of which we wish we really didn't--I still lose my temper at times and throw whatever it is I have in my hand on the floor--which can be dramatic if it's a glass, destructive if it's a fountain pen, offensive if it's something that belongs to someone else, and absurd if it's just a piece of paper. So that's a part of me, and even at 67 I can be diminished by it.

But I know I don't write poetry with that part--and I would even be so bold as to say that when I write poetry well I don't write with any aspect of myself that could be described as a ‘part’ at all. For one thing, I very rarely complete a good poem in under a year, and most of my best poems have continued in a state of flux for well over 10, yet the me that prunes them and blows on them and tweaks them over the years is always the same--and I listen to them with the same ear and am warmed by them with the same heart which never changes.

So what's that?

I have no idea myself, and am impatient with all the discourses, spiritual, psychological and neuro-physiological, that try to define it--including Jorie's window. I'm just convinced that behind the hustle and bustle of being human there is something that shines through, and that that something has no self at all--no part, no aspect, no past, present or future!

I’m also convinced it doesn’t go to heaven, by the way.

On the other hand,  when you read it in a poem it's never out of date!

Christopher


Christopher,

Yours is a calm, optimistic, Keatsian, 'the poet has no identity' view of the process, and I feel this is probably as profitable a view as we're going to get.  

I don't know if the modernist 'falling out of faith' pine, expressed here by Melville, rebuts your view or not:

"As far as any geologist has yet gone down into the world, it is found to consist of nothing but surface stratified on surface.  To its axis the world being nothing but superinduced superficies.   By vast pains we mine into the pyramid; by horrible gropings we come to the central rooms; with joy we espy the sarcophagus; but we lift the lid--and nobody is there!--appallingly vacant and vast is the soul of a man!"

Or perhaps this agrees with you, for the faithless  comes full circle to its opposite, for 'nothing' has no 'parts,' the 'parts' which you reject, and if man is 'nothing,' then the 'something' which does exist, whatever desire it happens to be that makes us dive in the first place, what are these but something which we might call God, and who are we to complain if God happens to be a fecund 'nothing?'   The cynic crying "it is all nothing!" always ends up cutting the branch on which he stands.  

My tendency is to agree with your optimism.

Monday
Logged

hisper and eye contact don't work here.
Expatriate Poet
Newbie
*
Posts: 150



« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2006, 07:48:58 PM »

Quote from: "Monday Love"
for the faithless  comes full circle to its opposite, for 'nothing' has no 'parts,' the 'parts' which you reject, and if man is 'nothing,' then the 'something' which does exist, whatever desire it happens to be that makes us dive in the first place, what are these but something which we might call God, and who are we to complain if God happens to be a fecund 'nothing?'   The cynic crying "it is all nothing!" always ends up cutting the branch on which he stands.  

My tendency is to agree with your optimism.

Monday


I thank you so much for this, Monday--and above all for the Melville, which I didn't know.

Sometimes I think all poetry, indeed all art, is just a final cri du coeur, the only message short of suicide that can convey just how urgent the existential question really is. That's why I'm on this forum, my first, in fact--I was so disgusted by the cheap fraudulence which came my way from the press I admired most. Was my cri du coeur to be met with that?

Then I heard all of you, and I felt better.

Ed Dupree asked me for a "pome" and I sent him this. You sent me your tendency to agree with me and even, with a stroke of genius, called it optimism--which it is, though it's very painful to admit it. On the other hand, it's such a blessed relief--like this:


DO NOT ASSUME BECAUSE YOU CANNOT SEE
Do not assume because you cannot see
the emperor's new clothes
he's surely naked,
nor just because you're not waving
when you raise your hand
you cannot see the fine new lineaments at all
or touch the freshly woken garments
just for fun—
when you're but
an ordinary ageing man
or better yet a woman
born to tailor out the bitter truth
of being here alone by chance
and dimmed,
you find solace not
in being one with anyone
or silver dove or dawn
but in not giving in
to contradictions
either.

Then the royal consort's
gnarled and tufted mons displayed
beside the emperor's sagging torso's
mystery enough—
let them strut their stuff
and let the new age courtiers
define the cut and fashion
coming up with fantasy designs
just as Nature with her furtive flourishes
in welts and tucks and turned-up tails
excites sex here,
fills the textbooks, educates,
and in the end mythologizes yet again
our lust for wonder
working
miracles instead.

Yes, just as the pauper prophet says—
pray for what you've got
and really have it!
 
New and better worlds are
just paper patterns in
the homely seamstress' mind,
neither pinned nor cut
nor saddled—
believe
in what you've got
and you can walk her arm in arm
in heaven's fabulous parade
decked out in God's own
fabric!


Christopher
Logged

Christopher Woodman
Expatriate Poet
Newbie
*
Posts: 150



« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2006, 11:14:04 PM »

If I might be so bold as to add in reaction to my own post--yes, art really is that cri du coeur, which is why, if it is effective, it short circuits the endless religious, philosophical and psychological arguments about what it might mean.

 I live in a Buddhist country and can hear monks chanting on some local villager's sound system as I write this--it's either monks or karaoke here, 24 hours a day, full volume. The monks sound golden this morning, but what they're chanting in Pali is about how suffering arises and how it passes away and how many signs of being there are and how little substance. So Monday's "fecund nothingness" becomes 'something' even when the monks do their best to get us to stop trying to define it. And in the end even a Sutra of the Buddha is less effective than a little poem like mine. At least that's true for me.
Logged

Christopher Woodman
Monday Love
Administrator
*****
Posts: 1130



« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2006, 02:56:06 PM »

Quote from: "Expatriate Poet"
Quote from: "Monday Love"
for the faithless  comes full circle to its opposite, for 'nothing' has no 'parts,' the 'parts' which you reject, and if man is 'nothing,' then the 'something' which does exist, whatever desire it happens to be that makes us dive in the first place, what are these but something which we might call God, and who are we to complain if God happens to be a fecund 'nothing?'   The cynic crying "it is all nothing!" always ends up cutting the branch on which he stands.  

My tendency is to agree with your optimism.

Monday


I thank you so much for this, Monday--and above all for the Melville, which I didn't know.

Sometimes I think all poetry, indeed all art, is just a final cri du coeur, the only message short of suicide that can convey just how urgent the existential question really is. That's why I'm on this forum, my first, in fact--I was so disgusted by the cheap fraudulence which came my way from the press I admired most. Was my cri du coeur to be met with that?

Then I heard all of you, and I felt better.

Ed Dupree asked me for a "pome" and I sent him this. You sent me your tendency to agree with me and even, with a stroke of genius, called it optimism--which it is, though it's very painful to admit it. On the other hand, it's such a blessed relief--like this:


DO NOT ASSUME BECAUSE YOU CANNOT SEE
Do not assume because you cannot see
the emperor's new clothes
he's surely naked,
nor just because you're not waving
when you raise your hand
you cannot see the fine new lineaments at all
or touch the freshly woken garments
just for fun—
when you're but
an ordinary ageing man
or better yet a woman
born to tailor out the bitter truth
of being here alone by chance
and dimmed,
you find solace not
in being one with anyone
or silver dove or dawn
but in not giving in
to contradictions
either.

Then the royal consort's
gnarled and tufted mons displayed
beside the emperor's sagging torso's
mystery enough—
let them strut their stuff
and let the new age courtiers
define the cut and fashion
coming up with fantasy designs
just as Nature with her furtive flourishes
in welts and tucks and turned-up tails
excites sex here,
fills the textbooks, educates,
and in the end mythologizes yet again
our lust for wonder
working
miracles instead.

Yes, just as the pauper prophet says—
pray for what you've got
and really have it!
 
New and better worlds are
just paper patterns in
the homely seamstress' mind,
neither pinned nor cut
nor saddled—
believe
in what you've got
and you can walk her arm in arm
in heaven's fabulous parade
decked out in God's own
fabric!


Christopher


Thank you, Christopher.

We are far away from a discussion of the Dorset Prize now, and I suppose we ought to take this part of the thread elsewhere, unless I can by some miracle relate your poem to Jeffrey Levine.

Reading this poem, I would never pretend that I could revise it into a Dorset Prize winner.  You obviously know what you are doing, and you are making an extremely sophisticated philosophical argument which I confess is over my head; the integrity of what you are doing should never be preyed upon by some MFA teacher--that I can see.  What 'teacher' could 'fix' what you present here?   All I can say is that this poem hints at something fascinating I would rather read in plainer prose so I might better grasp it.

Monday
Logged

hisper and eye contact don't work here.
Expatriate Poet
Newbie
*
Posts: 150



« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2006, 11:33:31 PM »

I have the terrible feeling my poem has blocked this whole site for 48 hours, which I certainly didn’t mean it to. The poem was honestly meant as a contribution to what I felt was a meaningful dialogue—at least it had meaning for me, recovering as I was from being mooned right in the face by someone I thought might be interested in my poetry. And the question is, does the revelation that someone is disingenuous, to put it charitably, disqualify him or her as a reliable judge of poetry competitions?

In confident moments I feel the silence that has ensued is good, that it is because none of you staunch regulars, Alan, Ed, Bugz, Matt, Wilson, Monday, my new friends all, wanted to wade in first, the water being so deep—or in my more usual mode of total self-abnegation because none of you wanted to be rude to a nice old man who had blundered onto the site with a poem so naïve it would be cruel even to comment on it.

Monday—during those 48 hours of silence I took the opportunity to read almost every word posted on this site, and yours is the strongest, most flexible yet informed voice of them all. How lucky we are to have you among us, is all I can say. So your claim that this poem is over your head and that you wish it had been written in plain prose so that you could understand it is disingenuous in the extreme—or a devastating dismissal.

Or maybe true.

Or maybe all three of the above—not giving in/to contradictions/either.

Christopher
Logged

Christopher Woodman
Matt
Administrator
*****
Posts: 1063



WWW
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2006, 10:20:44 AM »

Hi Christopher,

I still haven't had time to catch up on this interesting discussion enough to participate, but I just wanted to say that your poem reminded me of a painting by Remedios Varo (which is a good thing, as she is probably my favorite painter Cheesy ).

The painting is called Embroidering the Earth's Mantle.  Are you familiar with it?  I believe Thomas Pynchon devoted some attention to it in The Crying of Lot 49.



A detail:


Yours,
Matt

PS: Please don't worry about slow weekends at Foetry.com.  You are certainly not to blame.  This is typical for the site.

Of course, when posting our own poems, we always run a risk.  In general, Foetry.com is not a member-critique site (there are many other websites that function like this, though).  Member's posted poems rarely get any responses.

This is fine with me.  But of course, posting poems and critiques IS allowed . . . and not discouraged.  My advice is to just not read into any dearth of response.  It's just the way things are here.

I have posted a number of poems here since I joined the site . . . posted with the intention of putting the poems in the context of the discussion (as you noted was your intention, also).  I don't recall if I ever got a response to the poems "as art".  Which was perfectly OK with me, because I wasn't posting them "as art" for critique, but as part of a statement/argument/discussion/line of reasoning.  "As content", I guess one might say.

But I felt pretty self-conscious about posting poems (I worried it would be construed as gratuitous self-promotion) . . . and was very reluctant to post them.  But I decided that I (like almost everyone else here) was a poet . . . and a poet deserves the right to "speak in poetry".  It is, after all, what we do.

And, despite current trends in the field, poetry is a form of communication and can “say something”, can express . . . emotions, ideas, arguments, critiques, content.

Anyway, I'm not sure if this is helpful at all, but I did want to sympathize and advise you not to worry or take anything said or unsaid regarding your poems as an indication of opinion regarding them.

Please post as you are moved to.  I know I have enjoyed your posts and I feel confident that the other members have as well.
Logged

Funk not only moves, it can RE-move, dig?"
      --Sir Lollipop Man (Alias, the Long-Haired Sucker)
Krede_the_Mighty
Newbie
*
Posts: 38


« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2006, 01:14:14 PM »

Quote from: "Expatriate Poet"
Quote from: "Monday Love"
for the faithless  comes full circle to its opposite, for 'nothing' has no 'parts,' the 'parts' which you reject, and if man is 'nothing,' then the 'something' which does exist, whatever desire it happens to be that makes us dive in the first place, what are these but something which we might call God, and who are we to complain if God happens to be a fecund 'nothing?'   The cynic crying "it is all nothing!" always ends up cutting the branch on which he stands.  

My tendency is to agree with your optimism.

Monday


I thank you so much for this, Monday--and above all for the Melville, which I didn't know.

Sometimes I think all poetry, indeed all art, is just a final cri du coeur, the only message short of suicide that can convey just how urgent the existential question really is. That's why I'm on this forum, my first, in fact--I was so disgusted by the cheap fraudulence which came my way from the press I admired most. Was my cri du coeur to be met with that?

Then I heard all of you, and I felt better.

Ed Dupree asked me for a "pome" and I sent him this. You sent me your tendency to agree with me and even, with a stroke of genius, called it optimism--which it is, though it's very painful to admit it. On the other hand, it's such a blessed relief--like this:


DO NOT ASSUME BECAUSE YOU CANNOT SEE
Do not assume because you cannot see
the emperor's new clothes
he's surely naked,
nor just because you're not waving
when you raise your hand
you cannot see the fine new lineaments at all
or touch the freshly woken garments
just for fun—
when you're but
an ordinary ageing man
or better yet a woman
born to tailor out the bitter truth
of being here alone by chance
and dimmed,
you find solace not
in being one with anyone
or silver dove or dawn
but in not giving in
to contradictions
either.

Then the royal consort's
gnarled and tufted mons displayed
beside the emperor's sagging torso's
mystery enough—
let them strut their stuff
and let the new age courtiers
define the cut and fashion
coming up with fantasy designs
just as Nature with her furtive flourishes
in welts and tucks and turned-up tails
excites sex here,
fills the textbooks, educates,
and in the end mythologizes yet again
our lust for wonder
working
miracles instead.

Yes, just as the pauper prophet says—
pray for what you've got
and really have it!
 
New and better worlds are
just paper patterns in
the homely seamstress' mind,
neither pinned nor cut
nor saddled—
believe
in what you've got
and you can walk her arm in arm
in heaven's fabulous parade
decked out in God's own
fabric!


Christopher


Dear Christopher,

Just wondering, what is the methodology/reasoning behind your line breaks? Breath indicators? Enjambment of concepts? Discrete concept to a line? Not wanting to end with words like "and"?

TGWWK
Logged
Monday Love
Administrator
*****
Posts: 1130



« Reply #26 on: December 19, 2006, 10:02:36 AM »

Quote from: "Krede_the_Mighty"
Quote from: "Expatriate Poet"
Quote from: "Monday Love"
for the faithless  comes full circle to its opposite, for 'nothing' has no 'parts,' the 'parts' which you reject, and if man is 'nothing,' then the 'something' which does exist, whatever desire it happens to be that makes us dive in the first place, what are these but something which we might call God, and who are we to complain if God happens to be a fecund 'nothing?'   The cynic crying "it is all nothing!" always ends up cutting the branch on which he stands.  

My tendency is to agree with your optimism.

Monday


I thank you so much for this, Monday--and above all for the Melville, which I didn't know.

Sometimes I think all poetry, indeed all art, is just a final cri du coeur, the only message short of suicide that can convey just how urgent the existential question really is. That's why I'm on this forum, my first, in fact--I was so disgusted by the cheap fraudulence which came my way from the press I admired most. Was my cri du coeur to be met with that?

Then I heard all of you, and I felt better.

Ed Dupree asked me for a "pome" and I sent him this. You sent me your tendency to agree with me and even, with a stroke of genius, called it optimism--which it is, though it's very painful to admit it. On the other hand, it's such a blessed relief--like this:


DO NOT ASSUME BECAUSE YOU CANNOT SEE
Do not assume because you cannot see
the emperor's new clothes
he's surely naked,
nor just because you're not waving
when you raise your hand
you cannot see the fine new lineaments at all
or touch the freshly woken garments
just for fun—
when you're but
an ordinary ageing man
or better yet a woman
born to tailor out the bitter truth
of being here alone by chance
and dimmed,
you find solace not
in being one with anyone
or silver dove or dawn
but in not giving in
to contradictions
either.

Then the royal consort's
gnarled and tufted mons displayed
beside the emperor's sagging torso's
mystery enough—
let them strut their stuff
and let the new age courtiers
define the cut and fashion
coming up with fantasy designs
just as Nature with her furtive flourishes
in welts and tucks and turned-up tails
excites sex here,
fills the textbooks, educates,
and in the end mythologizes yet again
our lust for wonder
working
miracles instead.

Yes, just as the pauper prophet says—
pray for what you've got
and really have it!
 
New and better worlds are
just paper patterns in
the homely seamstress' mind,
neither pinned nor cut
nor saddled—
believe
in what you've got
and you can walk her arm in arm
in heaven's fabulous parade
decked out in God's own
fabric!


Christopher


Dear Christopher,

Just wondering, what is the methodology/reasoning behind your line breaks? Breath indicators? Enjambment of concepts? Discrete concept to a line? Not wanting to end with words like "and"?

TGWWK



I think Krede asks a good question, because I confess I didn't understand the logic of the line breaks in Christopher's poem.  

I recently heard an MFA program director (and poet) say that poetry is all about the line, and I think 'the line' is where a lot of ships get wrecked.  

Verse creates its own sound-reason for line, but looser poetry often does not.  I think I would like to see Christopher's poem with longer lines, or in a prose poem format, escaping from the idea of lines altogether.  I would certainly get rid of those one and two-word lines--they weaken the rhetoric.  

It's as if a very meaningful and powerful speech were stopped by the speaker at very odd points.  

I think every MFA teacher in the world will tell you the best way to write poetry is to get as far away as possible from the idea of 'being poetic.'  

And I agree. Look at the most 'poetic' work in the world, and you'll discover it actually reads like super-fastidiously correct prose, even as it rhymes and chimes.  (Listen to me!  I'm such a helpless pedant!  But I won't charge a dime for it, I promise!)  

When the form is not appropriate to the content, even the best content is betrayed, and when form is appropriate to content, even content which is utter trash gets respect.  Little things bring rhetoric low.  Imagine someone delivering the greatest speech in the world with a piece of snot on his nose.

That's why so often you see these poems which are empty of content spilled in little dribbles across the page with great spaces everywhere--the poet has defered to the low quality of his or her rhetoric with an 'empty-looking' formalist strategy, and even though the essentially empty enterprise puzzles most of us, the form-appropriate gesture is rewarded by publication and even prizes.  The knowing poet is using a secret, humble, code, gestures and signs which the effete-poet wolf-pack understands.  

Reading Christopher's poem, the sly, in-the-know editor sees that Christopher 'doesn't get it' because he's not sending the correct formalist signals.

Matt, on the other hand, who doesn't thrive in the MFA universe, and was in fact spit out by the MFA universe, does respond to Christopher's poem on a level which it deserves.
Logged

hisper and eye contact don't work here.
Expatriate Poet
Newbie
*
Posts: 150



« Reply #27 on: December 19, 2006, 12:09:24 PM »

I've tried so hard to stay out of this.

This forum is about ideas, not about the structure of my poem, the length of its lines or the logic of its form/lack of form, not about  criticism, or poetics, or even about winning the Dorset Prize! It's about a certain push for a real set of standards, and way beyond that a search for a new meaning in the very real new world of our own poetry and our own criticism, about a universe that makes sense out of the desire to be true to ourselves as poets even when we have to earn our livelihood as teachers, about not allowing the likes of a Jeffrey Levine or a Jorie Graham or yes, even a Beckian Fritz Goldberg (how could she!) to dictate what's 'in' and what's 'out' (just Arizona?)--about that cri du coeur just this side of suicide that’s art--my definition, of course, but where's the dissent, where's the outrage to that in these pages? Why don't you ask each other about that and not chatter about Christopher's line breaks and his diction?

Because no one has addressed the thrust of this poem but Matt--and just look at the painting he introduces to elucidate it, so much more fertile than the poem, and DEXTEROUS (just imagine the skill!). Yet the poem has something the painting doesn't have, doesn't it? The poem's directness, its austerity, the ability to speak not in tongues like the painting but simply 'sideways', as Krede_the_Mighty says (whatever that means!).

And what does it mean, why not discuss that? Why don’t you all talk about the poem in a way that Jeffrey Levine will simply have to sit up and deal with if he wants to or not? In other words, why don’t you nail him with this poem as an example of what Monday Love says could never be revised to win the Dorset Prize? Why don't you just say to him that this is a poem that says something that he, Jeffrey Levine, could never possibly understand as long as he continues to hustle?

I'd love to answer all your questions, or at least reply to them--the good ones, of course, nobody could answer. And I will hang in there with you too, I promise--but get back to the poem. Get back to the poem itself!

Christopher
Logged

Christopher Woodman
Krede_the_Mighty
Newbie
*
Posts: 38


« Reply #28 on: December 19, 2006, 01:16:54 PM »

Quote from: "Expatriate Poet"
I've tried so hard to stay out of this.

This forum is about ideas, not about the structure of my poem, the length of its lines or the logic of its form/lack of form, not about  criticism, or poetics, or even about winning the Dorset Prize! It's about a certain push for a real set of standards, and way beyond that a search for a new meaning in the very real new world of our own poetry and our own criticism, about a universe that makes sense out of the desire to be true to ourselves as poets even when we have to earn our livelihood as teachers, about not allowing the likes of a Jeffrey Levine or a Jorie Graham or yes, even a Beckian Fritz Goldberg (how could she!) to dictate what's 'in' and what's 'out' (just Arizona?)--about that cri du coeur just this side of suicide that’s art--my definition, of course, but where's the dissent, where's the outrage to that in these pages? Why don't you ask each other about that and not chatter about Christopher's line breaks and his diction?

Because no one has addressed the thrust of this poem but Matt--and just look at the painting he introduces to elucidate it, so much more fertile than the poem, and DEXTEROUS (just imagine the skill!). Yet the poem has something the painting doesn't have, doesn't it? The poem's directness, its austerity, the ability to speak not in tongues like the painting but simply 'sideways', as Krede_the_Mighty says (whatever that means!).

And what does it mean, why not discuss that? Why don’t you all talk about the poem in a way that Jeffrey Levine will simply have to sit up and deal with if he wants to or not? In other words, why don’t you nail him with this poem as an example of what Monday Love says could never be revised to win the Dorset Prize? Why don't you just say to him that this is a poem that says something that he, Jeffrey Levine, could never possibly understand as long as he continues to hustle?

I'd love to answer all your questions, or at least reply to them--the good ones, of course, nobody could answer. And I will hang in there with you too, I promise--but get back to the poem. Get back to the poem itself!

Christopher


I'll shortly have sketchy access to the internet, so this was probably poor timing on my part (asking such a question which might spark a discussion to which I can't be a consistent part).

I believe that my question was about the poem itself. I come from a position in which a poem is the meeting-place of form and content. They cannot be separated. Thus, another philosophical poet, Alexander Pope, wrote criticism in verse. If you go back and look at a sample of his work, though, you'll find that he uses his couplets to create connections between words, meter to emphasis certain parts of his argument, etc. To render a point in verse runs the risk of undermining the argument specifically because poetry calls attention to its own use of language.

Working back towards the top of your response - did I say something about speaking "sideways?" Don't see that in this thread, but I may have used such language elsewhere. In any event, I'm not going to knock your poem for being direct, in and of itself.

Working towards the top once more - Most of the threads in the forum are, more or less, about arguments related to who is "in" and "out." There's plenty of outrage, and a few very logical discussions as well. This particular post by me, at least, was an attempt to merely understand. I know that different poets come from different positions in their writing, and I would be remiss to talk about a poem, in its totality, from the wrong frame of reference. If you're writing as a Romantic, I don't want to smack you with a Modernist frame, etc. Thus, I'm looking for the space that lies among A) you being true to yourself (as a poet, as a philosopher, as a human), B) your awareness of poetic traditions, and C) those who read what you're doing in light of their own self truths and awareness of poetic traditions. It's a space that requires work to find, and only then can it be discussed and critiqued. Thus my question.

I'm probably making this all worse, so my apologies if I blatantly offended you. In any event, you now have some idea where I'm coming from.

TGWWK
Logged
Monday Love
Administrator
*****
Posts: 1130



« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2006, 03:21:27 PM »

Quote from: "Expatriate Poet"
I've tried so hard to stay out of this.

This forum is about ideas, not about the structure of my poem, the length of its lines or the logic of its form/lack of form, not about  criticism, or poetics, or even about winning the Dorset Prize! It's about a certain push for a real set of standards, and way beyond that a search for a new meaning in the very real new world of our own poetry and our own criticism, about a universe that makes sense out of the desire to be true to ourselves as poets even when we have to earn our livelihood as teachers, about not allowing the likes of a Jeffrey Levine or a Jorie Graham or yes, even a Beckian Fritz Goldberg (how could she!) to dictate what's 'in' and what's 'out' (just Arizona?)--about that cri du coeur just this side of suicide that’s art--my definition, of course, but where's the dissent, where's the outrage to that in these pages? Why don't you ask each other about that and not chatter about Christopher's line breaks and his diction?

Because no one has addressed the thrust of this poem but Matt--and just look at the painting he introduces to elucidate it, so much more fertile than the poem, and DEXTEROUS (just imagine the skill!). Yet the poem has something the painting doesn't have, doesn't it? The poem's directness, its austerity, the ability to speak not in tongues like the painting but simply 'sideways', as Krede_the_Mighty says (whatever that means!).

And what does it mean, why not discuss that? Why don’t you all talk about the poem in a way that Jeffrey Levine will simply have to sit up and deal with if he wants to or not? In other words, why don’t you nail him with this poem as an example of what Monday Love says could never be revised to win the Dorset Prize? Why don't you just say to him that this is a poem that says something that he, Jeffrey Levine, could never possibly understand as long as he continues to hustle?

I'd love to answer all your questions, or at least reply to them--the good ones, of course, nobody could answer. And I will hang in there with you too, I promise--but get back to the poem. Get back to the poem itself!

Christopher



Christopher,

I like your poem very much.

Do you want your poem to save Jeffrey Levine's soul?  Don't you think that's a little ambitious?  A bit quixotic?

Let Jeffrey Levine save his own soul.  

You say "get back to the poem itself," but we have the poem itself.  It is posted right here on this thread.  Is the poem so lacking in efficacy that we have to move its legs and arms?  Do we have to pick it up and move it in the direction of Mr. Levine and wag its dead mouth?  And talk for it?
Let the poem talk for itself.

Here's what I believe your poem is saying: in the 'emperor's new clothes,' a distinction was made between 'real clothes' and 'fake clothes,' the latter existing in the minds of the cowardly and gullible.  I always thought this was a brilliant tale and I would never want to toy with it myself, but you have dared, and so you seem to be making a further distinction, adding a third to the formula, a higher reality which exists in the nakedness of the emperor and which transcends both 'real clothes' (also fake) and 'fake clothes' (fake in the original tale because emperors need clothes.)  You are saying emperors (God) don't need clothes, that flesh is what is real, not clothes, and that it is important for us to understand this higher distinction and see through 'contradiction.'  How am I doing so far?

Monday
Logged

hisper and eye contact don't work here.
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 9
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!