Poetics and Poetry Discussion


Post a message
  • Michael Shepherd (9/9/2005 10:37:00 AM) Post reply

    Did Leonard Cohen write that album, 'Attitude Lite for Stoned Wannabees'?

  • Michael Shepherd (9/9/2005 4:11:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    'A poem should stand by itself' has now become a standard badge of pride, I notice...I think it's possible to understand both points of view. The ultimate achievement of the poet is to get the finality of the poem down in words 'for the future'. But they will have 'read it aloud in their mind' many times, and the music will be there. But to me it's arrogant and unforgivable not then to give to their faithful public in a reading, just what they heard in their mind, music, vitality, relevance and all, when they wrote it. The principle of oratory is that you speak to the audience in front of you at the time... I'd be very suspicious of the others, that they think poetry is a contribution to immortal written literature, period...

    Of course, since the days of the bards who created to be heard, until recently, few or no-one would have heard a poet read their own poetry. Certainly no-one would guess from the printed page how 'We real cool' (excuse the repeated reference) sounds when it's brought to life... and of course, some may prefer their own reading to that of the author!

    So I guess it's like the score of a Mozart piano concerto - it's a vital record of what you may bring to life yourself, but only an approximate record of how Mozart played it - and played around with it!

    Replies for this message:
    • Herbert Nehrlich1 (9/9/2005 4:33:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Yes Michael, Mozart is nice enough but Bach! I sometimes imagine that you would read one or two of my poems to an audience. It would boost them to untold heights.As to hearing your poems in your hea ... more

  • Allan James Saywell (9/9/2005 3:54:00 AM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    a library rang me up and asked me to read some of my poetry for a fund raising
    night ALL TICKET AFFAIR, so along i went with my poetry i think i had written a hundred poems or so i brought along my own amps and mic thank god i did
    there were about seventy people, i was introduced to the audience of about seventy people all full of red wine and away i went like some bloody actor reciting my poems let me tell you at the finish i was exhausted but i did put everything i had into it thank god for amps and mics but i have to tell you it made me feel good at the finish they did give me a ovation not for my poetry
    but the fact that i didn't die on the job

    Replies for this message:
    • Cheri Leigh (9/9/2005 10:29:00 AM) Post reply

      That is great Allan, I'm certain they were applauding your work, not just your performance. Of course, that begs the question, is there a division between the two when it comes to spoken poetry? At ... more

    • Herbert Nehrlich1 (9/9/2005 4:35:00 AM) Post reply

      Modesty may not become you Allan. I am sure they loved your poetry. H

  • Michael Shepherd (9/8/2005 5:53:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    That raises an interesting sidelight - where does a poem exist? Is it possible that those poets who read their own poetry so 'arms-length' and boringly are those who believe it really exists as 'literature' on the page, whereas those who read it wonderfully (Gwendolyn Brooks} see it as something living? Her reading of her own last words of lines which may look like slightly over-styled enjambment on the page - when she reads them herself it's like Ella Fitzgerald about to take off... and when she reads the word 'jaaazzz' it's like a one-word performance...so for her, the poem's a living thing. Whether you can really make a bad poem into a 'good' poem I doubt - but perhaps you can make it a more worthwhile experience?

    Replies for this message:
    • t. h. ashbury (9/8/2005 7:53:00 PM) Post reply

      if it isn't entirely obvious in my work and i suspect it is, i read my work, which may account (i've always hoped not) for a discrepancy between the page and the performance... i read all poetry out ... more

    • Raynette Eitel (9/8/2005 6:13:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

      Your discussion made me remember a poet in a workshop I attended for years, Elizabeth Shafer. She wrote mighty poems but read them in a monotone...absolutely dreadful. When I asked her why she did t ... more

  • Poetry Snob (aka Jefferson Carter) (9/8/2005 5:22:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    Hunters & Peckers, I agree with Michael's ideas about the need to read a poem aloud to get its full effect. Of course, a bad reader can ruin a good poem and a good reader can trick us into liking a bad poem; I've heard Ashbery read and did not enjoy the experience or the poems. They were boring because he read in such a weak, unexpressive way. When I read his work to myself, I love it. The Cohen poem (it's meant to be a poem, right, not a song?) is pretty clunky. The great image at the end almost makes up for all that flabby wordiness in the rest of the poem. IMSelfimportantO. JC

    Replies for this message:
    • t. h. ashbury (9/8/2005 5:44:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      the song reference is interesting, since we are talking about cohen, are we sure? the reason i ask is i remember struggling mightily to do a prosodic analysis of his work (this was a long time ago) ... more

    • Cheri Leigh (9/8/2005 5:36:00 PM) Post reply

      Very true. I remember the first time I really read Shakespeare, and then speaking it aloud. The effect is entirely different and far more profound, when read well.

  • Michael Shepherd (9/8/2005 1:37:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    Reading the Cohen poem, it occurs to me that we and most others may have been looking for the wrong context in which to judge the 'poetry (or poeticness) of poetry'. Read by eye on the page, it doesn't seem far off straight 'prose', except for the lineation; certainly unpretentious, almost banal in its diction.

    But rather than argue on lines of poem ] prose ] novel via eye to ear: if we take poetry as an oral/aural art, then isn't the right line, poem ] script ] drama?

    Although I might call Cohen's as-print diction 'prosy', I would love to read the Cohen poem to an audience. I would treat it as a script, and find all sorts of pauses, speed variations, emphases, all the devices of oratory, to 'put it across'. With luck, it would then never quite return to the printed page for that audience. ('We - cool' read by the author on poets.org is never quite the same on the page again!)

    Because poetry has been evaluated over the centuries by 'men of letters' and 'literature teachers' who have in mind the novel as the great art form, and even judgments of 'prosody' take into account the music rather than the total theatre or drama of a poem, I think it's possible that we (and that certainly includes me) have been complicit to making poetry a matter of dry judgments which a practising actor, director or playwright would never bring down on a text.

    Sorry about the length of this - thinking as I wrote... Lawrence and other theatre-experienced poets might like to comment on this?

    Replies for this message:
    • Michael Shepherd (9/8/2005 3:40:00 PM) Post reply

      I don't necessarily mean, turn it into a song.. that would still maintain some equivalent of metre - but rather, 'declaim' it. There are too many variations of rhythm etc in a poem to set it to anythi ... more

    • Cheri Leigh (9/8/2005 3:09:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      You make a good point Michael. Poetry is an aural medium. Perhaps I would have thought differently if I had recited the poem out loud. Still, there is a difference between poetry and prose. Does th ... more

  • A.p. Sweet (9/7/2005 11:30:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Has anyone here read Galway Kinnell's The Book Of Nightmares? If not, I highly recommend it to anyone looking for weird and obscure poetry.

    Replies for this message:
  • Mason Maestro (9/7/2005 11:22:00 AM) Post reply

    I'd like to prompt some writers to take a look at one of my poems so I could get some much needed feedback. 'Tumbledown Slums' can be found on my list, and i would totally appreciate the honesty from some of you sharp minded artists. thanks... jazzmaestro

  • Allan James Saywell (9/7/2005 2:08:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    The riddle of Pearson was solved he didn't disappear his groupy is still active
    he only had one groupy, i believe there was a poem explaining it all
    the poem was called the 'Kane Mutiny'

    Replies for this message:
    • Raynette Eitel (9/7/2005 12:51:00 PM) Post reply

      Allan, I'm surprised that you would promote 'Kane Mutiny.' It is a personal and vicious attack on a fine poet. There's no excuse for one person attacking any of us in such a vile, obscene fashion. ... more

  • Andreas Saarva (9/6/2005 9:00:00 AM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

    How can I come into the TOP500 poems? : /

    Replies for this message:
    • Herbert Nehrlich1 (9/6/2005 5:32:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      I would also replace the word 'come' by using the more neutral 'get'. That's another step forward and upward. Blondes (assuming all Swedes are thus challenged) are not allowed in the 500 club. H

    • Michael Shepherd (9/6/2005 5:00:00 PM) Post reply

      .. and one way NOT to do it, Andreas, is to vote for your own poem 259 times...naughty lad. Or did Tess vote the 259 times? Thus far, your 'poems' read like letters. It's not the same. Do as Adam says ... more

    • Michael Shepherd (9/6/2005 10:47:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Ho ho ho, as we say in Lappland around Christmas time - sorry, Winterval...now's the time for those high on the snowy peaks of The 500 to tell the world - not how THEY got there - but How I Got There ... more

[Hata Bildir]