Poetry is Dead

Discussion in 'Writer's Block' started by predicate, Jun 21, 2004.

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  1. Clarksvegas_Dan

    Clarksvegas_Dan Registered Voter

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    I don't know who to reply to, but I like this thread so I'm gonna do my part to keep it near the top.lol. Keep replyin, I know you've got more to say.lol
    later.
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  2. predicate

    predicate New Member

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    Xero, you're wrong, actually. This has nothing to do with immortality or fame. I don't want to make famous poets out of bad ones. This isn't a workshop on how to become a part of the poetry canon. This is an attempt, a plea, for people to start writing good poetry. I'm more concerned for the poetry than for the poet. For example, I have memorized a couple of Donne's poems, and, apart from the era he wrote in, I don't know a single thing about his life. It is the poetry that matters to me, not the fame of the poet.

    So there goes your argument out the window.

    Do I want to make Wordsworth's out of all of you? No. I just want you to know how to write poetry. You can't hop into a car without any prior knowledge to how a car works, or else you'll just stall or crash; and that's what today's poetry is: either stillborn or wretched.

    I have read the poetry on this site and I haven't found one poem that is even close to mediocrity. And, please, don't use the comments of others as a barometer of your talent, because you will only hear flattery in hopes of reciprocation. You learn much more from failing than succeeding, and yet, people here have failed miserably and have learned nothing from it. This argument is FAR from fruitless from those who have an open mind and are not deluded by their contentment. So here is the first bit of honest constructive criticism you will find on this site: learn how poetry works before you write it.

    For the love of God! Learn how to write poetry before you start writing it! PLEASE!
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  3. Clarksvegas_Dan

    Clarksvegas_Dan Registered Voter

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    I had to start writing first just to know that I wanted to write poetry. Could you reply to some of my poems, be harsh, and tell me what I need to do to become a better poet.
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  4. predicate

    predicate New Member

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    If you want to become a better poet, don't write anything else for at least a year. Buy some poetry books, preferably the selected works of the great poets - Keats, Byron, Shelley, Wordsworth, Tennyson - and read the poems out loud. Immitate the poets' style in order to understand their mechanics. Learn what scansion is, and how iambs work. Buy "Poetic Designs" by Adams, read it, and understand it. If you want to be modern, read some books on Free Verse; the one I suggested above is a good start. It might help if you become familiar with "defamiliarization." Enhance your vocabulary ("knowing that violence will always suck" - suck is such a fucking shitty shit fucking word. Think of something that actually has meaning) by reading voraciously. Buy a good dictionary. If you ever come across a word you don't understand, look it up.

    No good poet just woke up and started writing good poetry. Every good poet is well-read. You need to be the same. Writing poetry is hard work, and not a gift that God gave you.
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  5. How should one learn or begin
    to conquer this poetic thing?
    when all that is art, is bold enough
    to stand alone with judgement hushed
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  6. BETTER. Such a subject
    such a subjective subject
    should I add one line
    or a rhyming couplet?


    hmmm...

    You also said that all the poetry here was (mediocre), but have you read it all? And now you are saying God does not give out gifts? Well I am going to give up writing poetry for a year, in the hope of getting better???? and all this so you won't be disturbed about people writing bad poetry by your standards?? Right.

    The only reason a person would stop for a year to become good, was if they were concerned withlooking bad. Which I am thankfully not. There is only one journey with poetry, and that is inward. If out of my search, a poem emerges that sticks in your head day and night, then so be it. But it will not be because I willed it Or tried to write a great poem, It will come from the same place Byron, Poe, and Rilke got it-- From Out of the neccesity to create it.
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  7. nathedawg

    nathedawg New Member

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    poetry is not dead..................

    but this post that you started predicate may as well be..................................
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  8. InTheStars

    InTheStars Reflective

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    I just thought to add a little bit of what I believe about poetry.

    Mainly to predicate....
    First a question to the thread starter. Are you saying that anyone who reads the works of past, great, famous poets will no doubt become a GREAT poet? Because then I think that is a bunch of crap. We are aware of these poets existence because it had to start somewhere and we always had someone telling us about how they remember writing in some part of history. Back then what else did they have but the joy of reading and a few various pastimes. Time wasn't past by playing video games, watching tv, experiencing crimes of all sort, whether doing them personally or being objected to them. That is what they did, read and experience life through someone else’s thoughts and opinions instead of taking up their own pen and paper and writing about what they knew. There could of been extremely great poets in the 19th century that were shunned from letting their pieces be viewed from the public's eye because of negative opinions of others on the subject or form of their pieces. How in the world do you think things start to change and are invented without someone trying their own thing? How can you say that people must stick to the forms of past poets, that you think are great, just to become a great writer? Poets today are filled with the individuality, uniqueness, and strong opinions that in a way we have grown into, because really who wants to conform. Not me because that seems f-ing boring as hell. To look around and see false happiness written in pretty words about life today, come on I wouldn't even agree with you if I was trippin' right now. To be restricted to writing to the form of past poets is taking away ones freedom to write and express their thoughts any the form they want, and have hope to become or be a great writer. And to me if anyone took that away I might as well die, what else is there but the freedom to be myself and express my thoughts by writing poetry? You may think that a majority of people in the realm or in the world as a whole are filled with mediocre writers. Well I respect your opinion, no matter how asshole-like it may be, it is your opinion. But how do you know that anyone one of us writers of today won’t be recognized as a GREAT poet of tomorrow?

    Well those are just my thoughts.
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  9. predicate

    predicate New Member

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    Brit Boi, please. If you're writing for therapeutic reasons, then subjectivity is fine. But, well, I think you forgot that you're posting your poetry on a message board, so subjetivity as a defence gets thrown out the window if you're looking for feedback. There was a sect of 13th century Franciscan monks would write their poetry to God, then burn it immediately after completion. They can use subjectivity as a defence. YOU can't.

    Moving on, the reason I suggested that he stopped writing poetry for a year was so that he could spend that time reading instead of writing.

    My emphasis is perhaps misunderstood. People should read before they write. Byron was a great reader, as was Keats, as was Coleridge, as was Tennyson, Browning, etc.

    As for the God comment, please, let us not quibble over matters of faith. Those who write good poetry were not gifted, but worked hard at it. That's why their poetry sucked when they first started writing it. But they read much, studied hard, and learned how to master the subtleties of expression, rather than waking up one morning with the gift of poetry bestowed unto them by God.

    I have read much poetry on this site, a page worth of threads at least. All have been awful, and all have been filled with flattering remarks. Doesn't anyone want to become better? Is everyone so content with their level of writing that they don't want to improve at all? How do you think you're going to improve? By repeating your mistakes endlessly, allthewhile completely ignorant of what these mistakes are?

    Take my advice. Put down your pen and pick up a book.
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  10. predicate

    predicate New Member

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    In the Stars, I will answer your question quickly:

    Post #11 in this thread
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  11. Clarksvegas_Dan

    Clarksvegas_Dan Registered Voter

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    What do you think of Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Walt Whitman, e.e.cummings, and Assata & Tupac Shakur? What do you think spoken word poetry? Have you ever heard Gil-Scott Heron? What about Allen Ginsberg or Jack Kerouac?
    What is your opinion of Rap music?
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  12. allnakey

    allnakey Sex is no fun by yourself

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    Not everyone wants to be like you, nor are they fixated on the same repiticious thoughts. Being open minded is the closest thing to being free, remember that. I know, you'll say welll people aren't listening to you and all that bullshit and they aren't being concience and open minded about your thoughts, but they are. You seem to undermind the intellegence of people in here, and automatically asssume since we dont write like famous poets, we have not read and studied them.

    This all brings me a round to an another point, more off self preference or figure of own opinion. Many people have their own opinion of what good poetry is; from past or present; and undoubtably the poets you refer to as being great were all good writers, but what made them great is the fact that they were able to think for themselves and write. By not having some one tell them what was great or not, they became great. There are many different paths to the same goal... but none of thos paths can be discoved if you keep a closed mind on what is good and not, or if you see things only as right and wrong

    In no way am I trying to say the poets in the realm are great, but there are some with a lot of talent. Poetry is an artform and a form of free expression, you fail to see poetry for the art it is, and for the many faces it can take.
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  13. predicate

    predicate New Member

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    This discussion is becoming a matter of mindless repetition. You're going to fight tooth and nail against form, while I'm going to use examples of the great poets to prove you wrong.

    One last time, here's T.S. Eliot: "No verse is libre for the poet who wants to do a good job." Poetry is not free expression. Stop bullshitting yourself. You fail to see poetry for the art it always has been. The simple fact that the lines of poetry do not go all the way to the right margin and occasionally rhyme PROVES BEYOND A DOUBT that poetry isn't free, but confined to some other form of expression than prose. There is something in poetry that differentiates it from prose, and that is its FORM. Just because you write bad poetry effortlessly does not make poetry free.

    How is that so fucking hard to understand?
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  14. nathedawg

    nathedawg New Member

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    *marveled*

    in complete awwwhhh... predicate is king.......................

    wtf, put this to rest already
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  15. Anaphora

    Anaphora was here

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    Wow. Another ally in my war against Brit Boi and his 'poetry is good no matter what' campaign... but as for formalism I must disagree with you... on several counts.

    A) The reason so many goddamned poetry books were sold and memorized in the 19th century was because it was their primary form of entertainment. They didn't have TV, movies, rapmusic.com... they had books, plays, games, and love, though they are all very related, especially the last three.
    B) I've read a good ammount of poetry, starting out around 9th grade, and of course they made us read the classics, and neo-classics, Housman, Keats, Frost, Dickinson, Owens... that that's simply putting the wrong message out to kids. The idea of rhyming poetry, though is fine in itself, in the hands of a 15 year old is painful...
    C) Shakespeare shmakespeare. Yea, its great work, but jesus christ people, shakespeare was illiterate, jesus was human, santa claus retired in 1973.
    D) Writing styles have constantly been changing. If you read the illiad (though tedious, a dry, virtually exact translation will illustrate this well), you won't see shakespearian dialog... you won't see Shelley in the pages of Don Quixote... or Wilfred Owens in Monkey (an ancient chinese fable)... or hell, Aesop even. Not only do different regions spawn different styles (this can be seen in how easy it is to distinguish a contemporary 'Fresno' school poem from a language poet of the southwest, or nuyorcan poetry) but times change styles as well. Keats, Shelley, Byron... they all wrote most of their most famous poems at a very young age... younger than the average grad student who has yet to fully appreciate that life causes great poetry (well, for the most part, but lets keep emily dickinson out of this)... or that rhyming couplets and iambic pentameter have seen their day. Forms are good exercises still, to flex your poetic muscles, but sticking to either strictly free verse, or blank verse, or villainelles, or sonnets is very shortsighted.
    E) Whoever mentioned the beats needs to read more. Kerouac was a pompous asshole, burroughs was a junkie, ginsberg was a pervert, mcclure was a no talent hack, and snyder's my hero... heh. there's a grip more that are.... ok.
    F) I don't remember what I've mentioned so far.

    I need to stop there and go do some other things, but I agree with you arguing with Brit, but wholly disagree with you as far as 'poetry is dead'... you simply can't say one style is better than the other altogether any more than you could say for example, that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was a better novel than Kurt Vonnegut's Galapagos... or that a basketball is more of a sphere than a soccer ball. Or um... yea.
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  16. Anaphora

    Anaphora was here

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    Oh, and yea, everything has a form, hell, minimalist paintings of solid black canvasses have form, a conversation with a $2 hooker has a form... of course all writing has a form, but if you throw off the yoke of meter, and rhyme, it has more room to play without letting the rhyme dictate the poem/prose's direction.

    And scancion is far from an exact science.
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  17. Clarksvegas_Dan

    Clarksvegas_Dan Registered Voter

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    Well, I guess you can forget the beats, on account of Anaphora, but you still haven't anwsered my questions?

    I just picked up the Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, which to my mind includes all of the greats. What do you say to that?
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  18. Clarksvegas_Dan

    Clarksvegas_Dan Registered Voter

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    I still love Vergil of course.lol
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  19. Anaphora

    Anaphora was here

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    Seriously, all you fuckers need to read some decent contemporary shit...here's a brief list.

    Sharon Olds
    Billy Collins
    Kay Ryan
    Phillip Levine
    Campbell McGrath
    Charles Simic
    Yusef Kumanaca (I can't spell his)
    Adrienne Rich
    Galway Kinnel
    Robert Creely

    That is a good start, maybe try collins first, he was afterall the national poet laureate
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  20. predicate

    predicate New Member

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    I thought you people would give up by now. Anaphora, rather than saying something specific, you've just flooded this thread with quibbles.

    a)Then what is the reason why those same poems are still being memorized today? I hear people still reciting Shakespeare aka shmakespeare, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Milton, Yeats, etc, but I don't hear people reciting any of today's crappy poets. But maybe that's just my part of the world. Up here, we don't memorize crappy poets.

    b)The 15 year old doesn't like it for the same reason people here don't like it. They can't appreciate the form, since it is so much more complex than the 20 second scribble-be-doodles they write in the heart of their journals.

    c)Was Shakespeare illiterate? I'm not sure if you're joking or not. If not, then, wow, I never knew.

    d) Using Byron, Keats, and Shelley as examples writing great poetry at a very young ages is cheating, because they all died at a very young age. And no good poet sticks to only one form, as these three poets haven't, so I don't understand your point. Since when have I told people to write one form of poetry and one form only? I suggested that they become familiar with how poetry works, how other poets made it work, and then synthesize something out of it, rather than find one form they like and stick with it. Keats thoroughly examined Spenser, and his first poem was an imitation of Spenser. Pope spent the first part of his poetic career understanding and translating Homer. Apart from telling us the breadth of your reading experience, what the hell were you trying to say?

    You've missed my point completely. I am not saying that one form is better than another. I respect e.e. cummings for his brilliant use of counterpoint, even though I don't like his poetry. What I am advocating is the use of form, and the understanding of how poetry works. I am not saying that one form is better than another form. I am saying that more form is better than less for, and some form is much better than no form. Got it? Good.

    Scansion, yes, is not an exact science, but that doesn't mean that poets don't keep the metre in mind when writing their poetry. So just because its inexact, we should discard metre altogether? Eliot (God, I sure do refer to him a lot) would suggest otherwise in "The Waste Land", as would Browning in "Porphyria's Lover."

    I have said before that form can be just as evocative as language. Fuck, why do I have to repeat myself? Of course poets want to rid themselves of its yoke, but only because they're lazy or inept. Again, I'm repeating myself. Jumping all over the place doesn't work for me. How about this: you form a coherent argument, and I'll coherently shoot it down for you, ok?

    On a side note, I checked the first three authors on your list. The first one had a poem about why he doesn't have a gun in the house. It was funny, but it was still bad poetry. The second poet bored me, and the third wrote some poem about lions that made me want to impale myself with a fencepost because it was so awful.

    Dan, what the fuck do you want me to say? You want me to address every single one of those poets in essay format? Give you my opinion on the fundamental difference between poetry and music? Not that I'm afraid of answering, but I really don't see the pertinence of it, and I've answered so many quibbles for one day that I'll explode if I answer any more.
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