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Poetics and Poetry Discussion

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  • Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/16/2005 5:17:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    John Kay: 'Many of the poems posted on this website are poor imitations of the Van Dyke poem-too many. If making it new and fresh is not our responsibility...'.
    John, exactly what did you think this website is? A site for accomplished poets or a site for all to enjoy and dabble in poetry?
    As much as I gripe about I must say without reservation of any kind that it is a veritable paradise for many.
    To be able to enjoy visiting here is something to be treasured and to be thankful for.
    Applying some arbitrary standards to the poems posted here and handing out harsh critique is missing the point and, to put put it bluntly, rather childish.

    No one denies that there are standards in poetry as there are in all of life's endeavours but it's a bit rich to play critic in such a misguided manner.

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    • Poetry Hound (10/16/2005 6:09:00 AM) Post reply

      Uh oh. Does this mean you're not going to be handing out harsh critiques anymore? I think I'll miss that.

  • John Kay (10/16/2005 4:30:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Again, I'm with Jefferson on this topic. You wouldn't know that we studied at the same school with many of the same teachers, fine poets in their own right, at the same time, about thirty years ago. For me, as a serious poet, it is my responsibility to make every poem I write NEW, unlike anyone any other poem written, and that is a tall order. It should bring forth something from the language that is rich and mysterious, maybe something spell-binding that has never been seen or heard before in quite the same way. It should be uncluttered without cliches and worn-out poetic strategies. For that I am responsible. Many of the poems posted on this website are poor imitations of the Van Dyke poem-too many. If making it new and fresh is not our responsibility to the language, then what is our responsibility? We can argue intellectually all day about taste and the democracy of opinions, but what we do when we begin to shape a poem is another matter. We can write a Van Dyke like poem-god forbid-or we can make something new. When you leave one of my poems, I would hope that you are thinking, if nothing else, I have never read anything like that before and it sprang from a place of honest feeling, not sentimentality. I ask you, really, what do you think Frost would think of the Van Dyke poem? I have not doubt.

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    • Poetry Hound (10/16/2005 6:05:00 AM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

      With this clarity of mind, it's no wonder you are one of the best poets on this site, John. It's not a question of there being standards; it's a question of whether a poem is NEW. I like that you alw ... more

  • Jerry Hughes (10/16/2005 3:50:00 AM) Post reply


  • Max Reif (10/15/2005 10:10:00 PM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

    We had all this nicely resolved about 8 hours ago, as a matter of taste.
    I don't want to die for this poem, but there are many celebrated poets from whom I get NOTHING, and I did get something from this one. I've actually *read* Fussell's 'Poetic Form and Poetic Meter', and I've read a fair amount, I don't know if any amount of reading would make me the same as anyone else.

    I'm getting tired of the discussion. I guess I'm trying to have the last word. Rather doubtful that this will be it.

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    • Poetry Hound (10/15/2005 10:20:00 PM) Post reply

      Of COURSE it's a matter of taste. But that's not all it is. It's also a matter of recognizing what's been done a million times before. If you nevertheless like something that is derivative or cliche, ... more

    • Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/15/2005 10:16:00 PM) Post reply

      No Max, you will NOT have the last word, lest we call you mad Max. But you are exactly right (sometimes I sense the voice of reason in you) it does come down to taste. You may drive a Chevy Caprice a ... more

    • Poetry Hound (10/15/2005 10:15:00 PM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

      Well, sorry for not having been around 8 hours ago, Max. But I find the discussion interesting. Why do you want it to end?

  • Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/15/2005 8:02:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    I just posted a Van Dyke like poem 'Only For You'. So, go ahead and attack it for its audacity to not go straight to the Rice Krispies Box.
    Best H

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  • Max Reif (10/15/2005 8:00:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Looks like we're choosin' up teams for a football game!
    And football's a muddy sport!
    Would it be less of an Infinite divide if we used words slightly less charged than 'hideous'? Or shall we petition Collette to have TWO Forums?
    Or perhaps a moratorium?
    On WHAT, I don't know, I just love to say 'moratorium'!

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    • Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/15/2005 8:03:00 PM) Post reply

      Right you are (again) Max.I think your students are getting a less than hideous start in life.Moratorium is better than poetry crematorium as well. Best H

  • Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/15/2005 7:08:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    I just read the poem by van Dyke and find it heartwarming, filled with a musical beauty that needed expressing and was done well, I am sure there are better poems on the subject but there is nothing at all wrong with this one.
    Must have rather simple tastes.
    Today it seems fashionable to discard everything that's old, declaring it obsolete, worn out, over-the-hill, useless. What doesn't make too much sense though is the oft-encountered situation that the critics are usually unable to match the quality of the ones they are so eager to discard.
    This poem was written with feeling and what it conveys to the reader justifies not cement boots in the Hudson River but a place among the Forget-Me-Nots.

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    • Mary Nagy (10/15/2005 7:24:00 PM) Post reply

      I agree wholeheartedly with you on this one Herbert! Mary

  • Michael Shepherd (10/15/2005 6:57:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Several of you here are teachers of poetry or literature.
    A 15-year-old says he likes a certain poem.
    Do you ask him 'What exactly do you like about this poem? '...?
    No - it's 'You're not reading THAT poem in MY house, son...'
    I pity your own children if that's the way you behave at home.
    Or in class.

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    • Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/15/2005 7:38:00 PM) Post reply

      Michael I do appreciate the combative streak in you, especially when you are right. I also think that some of the dismissive attitude displayed by various people in all walks of life stems from a dee ... more

  • Michael Shepherd (10/15/2005 4:54:00 PM) Post reply

    Jesus K.Rice Krispies! We're 'talking' about a poem which a 15-year-old happened to mention he liked... because of some internal music which he had heard in it... a 15-year-old whose poems are IMHO pretty impressive for his age, and which I suggest we might care to advise him on, even encourage him to continue writing...

  • John Kay (10/15/2005 4:28:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    'A Lover's Envy' is a hideous poem of the highest order. I agree with Jefferson. I would hope that this shallow, unoriginal, undeserving, cliche choked, sentimental, stale joke of a poem never be thought of as a model or valued in any way. Was this poem reading material recently printed on the backside of a box of hamburger helper, for god's sake. Frankly, I can't believe that we are talking about this poem 150 years after it broke so many hearts. It is nothing short of the enemy of this art form. For years I fought with students who felt that 'anything' anyone wrote was sacred and shouldn't be criticized, that the standards of good poetry writing were all a matter of opinion, and their opinions were as good as anyone elses. I might actually use a poem like this as an example of exactly what not to do if you want to write a good poem. I'm surprised that this one didn't find its feet in cement at the bottom of the Hudson.

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    • Poetry Hound (10/15/2005 10:57:00 PM) Post reply

      Words of wisdom, John. You hit the bulls eye. Regards.

    • Herbert Nehrlich1 (10/15/2005 7:47:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Personally, I think you are dead wrong.Judging by the standards you appear to espouse where would you place most or all of your poems? In front of some imaginary class as examples of how to be modern ... more

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