A quote that applies to writers here...

Discussion in 'Writer's Block' started by Anaphora, Jul 23, 2004.

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  1. Anaphora

    Anaphora was here

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    Just came across it on the University of Iowa's website.

    The bad writer believes that sincerity of feeling will be enough, and pins her faith on the power of experience.

    -Jeanette Winterson, highly acclaimed author of Written on the Body among many others.


    Yeah. Very applicable here.
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  2. allnakey

    allnakey Sex is no fun by yourself

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    Well you say it like it's a bad thing... A lot of poetry in here is emotionally driven... and yea it means little to a lot of people that read it, but to the person that wrote it, it means a lot. I really don't see anything wrong with that.
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  3. Mind~$oul

    Mind~$oul I'm Pretty

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    Jeanette Winterson's quote=Equals nothing more but an opinion.
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  4. Clarksvegas_Dan

    Clarksvegas_Dan Registered Voter

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    Overtime, all poems sound the same. Until you start removing the inauthentic. Good writers compromise their art for attention. The attention is inauthentic. At least most of the time. So write a poem from your Father's perspective, using your child's voice.... yeah.....it's bad writing. But it means everything to the Father.
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  5. 6th_plague

    6th_plague More then meets the eye

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    How so, I mean whats bad in her book?

    No using metaphors? Personification? Smilies? Formatting?

    Poetrys about expression... If you score on that, then your good IMO... If you can develop on that with language that can make some ones hair stand on end then thats a home run. Theres no better than a home run (I got a feeling my lack of knowlege on Basball will fuck that analogy up)
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  6. I disagree.

    A good writer always follows sincerity of feelings-- the good writer cannot deny this as the most important thing rising in their heart. The good writer knows the value of experience and faith in that experience, as it is is the powerhouse and beautiful marriage of all of these things.
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  7. Vember2

    Vember2 New Member

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    I totally disagree, and thats a terrible quote

    Poetry is the expression of thought and feeling, thought and feeling is what makes us human. For her to say we have to forsake our Trueness to ourselves to write well is totally obsurd.

    And for you to post this and think it has anything to do with even 1% of this site makes you really stupid yourself
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  8. nathedawg

    nathedawg New Member

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    saying stupid is not quite right...close minded would be fit...

    i totally disagree with the quote as well

    and to think this woman is highly acclaimed!!!!
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  9. Vember2

    Vember2 New Member

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    well yea, i wanted to use another word other than stupid, but i didnt feel like spending the 2 seconds it would take thinking of one
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  10. Anaphora

    Anaphora was here

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    Hahaha... by saying that its just one person's opinion would be incorrect though. It is virtually every teacher, and serious writer's opinion... ask them. Malo, see, what you're describing isn't bad writing... because it is using literary tools, and not just relying on the emotion. You can have the strongest emotion in the world, and write a limerick about it, and it will not convey itself into words.

    I'm not sure if you people don't understand the quote, or are in denial about why people study the written word, as opposed to just writing it. All great writers have been great readers. Example: Jose Saramago, nobel prize laureate, author of 5 best selling books: great reader. Jewel: not so great reader. But that's all digression from my point.

    What Ms. Winterson is saying isn't that emotion doesn't belong in a piece of writing, much on the contrary. She's saying it can't be alone. Without good word choice and literary devices, the writing will be bad. Which is not saying "Only those who have an MFA from a big time school can write well," or anything about education, or even writing style. Its simply saying that chickens feel emotions, but if you set one at a typewriter and let it peck away, it won't be good writing. The same goes with a human. If they don't grasp the language, or the uses of the language very well, it will be hard for them to write a great piece... By saying that's not true, you're just showing your true colors, which mark you as either children who don't want to accept that learning is the key to better writing, or idiots... I'm sure the former is usually the case.
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  11. Although there must be some distance one must travel in knowledge of a subject to gain extra things that will be adapted to ones writing, the fact that good and bad poetry does not have a definate platform, weaves a paradox into your argument that you shall never transcend. Plus many experiences in life and feelings are in a realm where a word has ever entered, and this must be taken into account. Because of social factors one may miss irony, and a reader may not grasp the true meaning of a word, and this may vary depending on personal and cultural differences, plus language has been changing and continues to change.

    Your comparison of a chicken and a human, would work if they working towards a plateau where people have stood and looked back knowing they have reached what is universally accepted as perfected and perfectly working to each and everyone, but even that lady who quoted what makes a bad writer will have tastes,and may desire a word to use for a feeling that you would not be able to appreciate.

    The great create when life moves the feelings to ones attention, feeding off the vast experiences, and the neccesity is there to write. The Good writer must always be aware of his/her development and accept that even though to make a change in ones writing to become better, the journey of finding a world of soulmates to chime along with will not be a thing to realistically grasp. Therefore, the further you travel, the more you develop, but the more you develop, the more you change, and people and writers change with you, and so may their tastes for good poetry and good words. So I believe there is only the journey inward, inward and onward, and the good writer eventually comes to realise that to have their poetry in their own fond posession is enough; as looking outward to such a personal thing would never suffice.

    Take care
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  12. predicate

    predicate New Member

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    God bless your soul, anaphora. This is gospel truth.

    But I already had this discussion before, and slaughtered everybody who opposed (yeah, that's right, SLAUGHTERED), so repeating it would be useless.

    This quote is true, and I'll use the crappiness of the poetry of those who disagree with the quote as my evidence for the quote's validity.

    Maybe I should throw in some linguistic theory to prove that experience is not enough for poetry? The link between word and concept is arbitrary, as any linguist will tell you, meaning that ideas/experiences themselves do not naturally have a word attached to them. The words we use to express the experiences are of our own creation, so assuming that the simple experience, feeling, sentiment is enough to write good poetry is absurd.

    Poetry and feeling are not equal. You need more than simply feeling to write poetry. Good poetry is more of an understanding of language than of emotion.

    "Sometimes I hold it half a sin
    To put in words the grief I feel
    For words, like Nature, half reveal
    And half conceal the soul within" - Tennyson

    I dare any motherfucker to prove me wrong.
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  13. oh, how grand to hold conversation with someone who feels he hath
    slaughtered you.(some irony to show how even the best intention to
    articulate can fall on deaf ears and thus not be appreciated and even
    disliked, and thus one should appreciate that he may not know the
    intention of the poet or the direction or be in the position to hold it
    in high or low regard, although his tastes may be true to him or
    wayward to another, the answer maybe far from the feeling and intention
    behind the eyes of the mind, and one should approach the individuals
    work with an open mind and delicate touch to their development.
    Besides, as far as I knew, the opinions varied, and no argument was
    won,not even by you bringing some of your favourite poets to the table. Why? You know why. Your opinion of what makes a poet grand: what literary devices work best to capture a feeling, what metaphor would be more appropriate, may not be grand to another man. So as you say to slaughter is not an absolute science in this case, and for one man capturing a feeling there may be another man seeing him chase the wind.


    Bring the poems to compare and explain why they are bad--then ask the
    people in this thread if they agree. Further still, make a
    recomendation to alter it, then again ask if the people here agree
    with your valid insight into what makes it better.

    Ofcourse the experience is not enough. Thats like saying being dead is
    not enough to live. I could just as easily say that words are not enough for poetry. A man with a limited vocabulary and vast experience may craft something beautifully simple with his feelings and sense of rhythm alone that is to many, timeless. Also, Tell me, once the lexicon has been built, how far does it keep building until the writer has reached the level to adequately satisfy?

    Way to spot the obvious.

    This has nothing to do with what makes a good or a bad writer, which was the emphasis of the quote. It just shows that we associate words with feelings and other things, and they may merge to make a poem. If you are trying to say that every
    experience and feeling has a fitting word or more so a phrase that people all agree on the correct way to describe it then you are mistaken.

    Just because the words are of our own creation doesn't mean we all agree on their meanings and when they should be used in a poem and when the effect is not correct.

    Try writing a poem without feelings. In poetry, language and emotion both hold value in my opinion. I won't disregard one and belittle a working part of the process.

    Half reveal, Indeed.
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  14. predicate

    predicate New Member

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    "If you are trying to say that every experience and feeling has a fitting word or more so a phrase that people all agree on the correct way to describe it then you are mistaken"

    Way to suck at reading. I made my comment because people are arguing against the quote, which suggests that they assume that emotion is all that is necessary to write well. I pointed out the fundamental flaw in their reasoning: that emotion alone will not even put a word on the page. It is our understanding of language that will write the poetry, and not the emotion itself. Did you understand the quote? Read it again.

    Stop trying to argue and start trying to think. "The bad writer believes that sincerity of feeling will be enough, and pins her faith on the power of experience." Bad writers think that they can rely on their emotions alone; as if an abundance of feeling will compensate for their lack of understanding of language; as if their overwhelming emotions are enough to mask their overwhelming lack of talent.

    Sure, what these people feel may be poet-ic, but what they write is not only a far cry from what they feel, but also a far cry from being poetry.
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  15. allnakey

    allnakey Sex is no fun by yourself

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    "Sure, what these people feel may be poet-ic, but what they write is not only a far cry from what they feel, but also a far cry from being poetry."

    What they write is poetry... Now I know you would like to take the other road or path on this one and disagree, but free verse is a form of poetry... , But you want form right... I guess we have two very seperate opinions on what poetry is. But it's all good... Why don't you drop some of your poetry in the realm... Show use what poetry really is
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  16. predicate

    predicate New Member

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    What a great rebuttal to my argument. No need to acknowledge any flaw in the argument, no need to address anything that was said, but only blindly and faithfully murmer:

    "What they write is poetry"

    Thanks for adding nothing to the discussion.
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  17. This is your assumption of them. We are not arguing that you do not need words to write. But those words which are judged to be good or bad is where the problem is in her assumption of what makes a bad writer. Emotion and words are pieces of a personal puzzle that sometimes can only burn bright for one person. Also it depends what this lady thinks makes a good writer, and whether that means being published, or whether is enough if the author alone believes it is worthy etc.

    I understood the quote. You are taking it and turning it into something else.
    Who said that with emotion alone, one could write? Even a strong grasp of language may not be enough to become the master of emotion. Even though the words will write the poetry, the emotion and feelings along with experience cannot be discredited. And if an individual puts more faith in experience than language, it does not make them a bad writer.


    So how do you explain someone who writes a timeless love song with limited knowledge of language?

    And what makes a poet talented? their knowledge of language? Is this what you are saying??

    You assume that you know the meaning of every word and understand how a emotion vibrated of the inner feeling in a particular moment when it was put forth onto a page and why. You assume that you know what makes a poem a poem, and you assume you know when someone is just writing poetic nonsense that is jibberish. You also think that even though someone feels they are poetic, they maybe by an unfixed standard, not poetic atall. I find this sad.
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  18. predicate

    predicate New Member

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    You know, every time I come to this section of the site, I imagine nothing but hippies in gardens writing crappy poetry and congratulating each other for it. Nobody improves. Everybody smiles at their own and others' perfection. "Nice poem. I felt it. Good drop. Keep writing!" Never a word of criticism, never a suggestion of improvement.

    This is an attempt to make all you bloody hippies improve.

    So, how can you hippies improve? Understand language better, which doesn't mean that you should use six-syllable words in your poems, but that you should understand what language and poetic form have to offer, so that you ca use it to improve the meaning of your message.

    I am saying that a good poet is one can manipulate language to supplement his message. The better the poet, the better his use of language. Every poem I have read on this site uses language terribly, and thus, all of the poems were terrible.

    How about you tell me what a bad poem is. Every poem I have read on this site is heavily complimented, so I assume that everybody thinks that every poem is good, and that no bad poem exists. I haven't read one word of criticism here, but thousands of words of praise instead. This is what the quote is suggesting. As long as you people write to your emotions only, your poems are infallible in your eyes, because emotion is all that matters, and you will never grow out of your own solipsistic world, and never improve, never improve. It's this utter stagnation that disgusts me, and everyone's complacence with their level of writing.

    Fucking hippies.
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  19. Way to complain about people not contributing to the discussion and then resort to name calling.

    I'm done with this.
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  20. predicate

    predicate New Member

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    What, my simile of the hippies is supposed to be less frustrating than your bright-burning puzzles, feeling-moving and experience feeding life, of journeys inward and onward?

    The name calling is supplement, and not the substance of my argument. You want me to edit out my metaphors? If I do, then the substance of my argument will still remain:

    -Nobody improves on this site, because they have no concept of or goals for improvement
    -As a result, their poetry is neither good or bad: it just exists for other people to say that it is either felt, well written, a good drop, or reason to continue writing.
    -No criticism is given, no suggestions for improvement are posited, only response after response of meaningless flattery.

    This isn't a place for people to improve. This is a support group, where everybody just pats each other on the back and give words of encouragement.
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