Poetics and Poetry Discussion

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  • Rookie - 7 Points Max Reif (8/31/2005 7:37:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply
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    Anyone know Lisel Mueller? I was just blown away by 'Monet Refuses The Operation' and 'Immortality'! She has about 17 poems. I hope to read more soon.

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  • Rookie - 7 Points Max Reif (8/31/2005 7:06:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Thanks for all the replies.
    Was at Barnes & Noble earlier, to get the Guide To Literary Agents and a cupa coffee. Walked over to look at the Poetry section for a moment. The one that most caught my eye was an anthology called

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  • Rookie - 7 Points Max Reif (8/31/2005 9:47:00 AM) Post reply | Read 4 replies

    Hey guys, I've noticed that I've been missing here!
    You've managed without me, somehow?

    The oddest thing happened: I have to report to my teaching job tomorrow, after a heavenly month of vacation and poetry. I wanted to get a certain prose writing project finished first, and have turned almost wholly to it in the last week.

    It's most interesting! Suddenly I couldn't concentrate on poetry...couldn't read the poetry books I'd been spending 2 or more hours a day with. It may be part burn-out, from absorbing so MUCH poetry, the past month or two. And maybe partly just a conservation of mental resources for the project I'm (because I put myself) under the gun to finish!

    That ever happen to you?

    Anyway, regards from prose-land!
    I should think I'll be around some time soon, though possibly in not as concentrated doses as before.

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    • Rookie - 7 Points Herbert Nehrlich1 (8/31/2005 6:57:00 PM) Post reply

      Don't be so poetic about your absence Max. I was going to write a rhyming poem about you in your absence, sneak it in so to speak, but 'by the time I found a pen, put the pen to paper...' you had re-a ... more

    • Rookie - 7 Points Raynette Eitel (8/31/2005 5:30:00 PM) Post reply

      We've missed you, Max. Hope your prose as well as the teaching goes well, but still we need your wisdom and kindness here. Raynette

    • Rookie - 7 Points Michael Shepherd (8/31/2005 1:16:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Oh boy - rewrites and footnotes and their indices with 6 co-writers and a co-editor - did I tell you about my breakdown...? Best wishes for fame and immorality, Michael

    • Rookie - 7 Points Michael Philips (8/31/2005 11:26:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      I'm there right now, Max. I'm in the mid ... more

  • Rookie Ca Viet Caotran (8/30/2005 10:42:00 PM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

    Hi all,
    I am reading The Preface to the Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth and cannot understand the following passage because of its too complex sentence structures. Would you please help me to get its main idea, and if it doesn't take too much time of yours, rewrite it in a briefer English version? The passage reads as follow:

    'In answer to those who still contend for the necessity of accompanying metre with certain appropriate colours of style in order to the accomplishment of its appropriate end, and who also, in my opinion, greatly under-rate the power of metre in itself, it might perhaps, as far as relates to these Poems, have been almost sufficient to observe, that poems are extant, written upon more humble subjects, and in a more naked and simple style than I have aimed at, which poems have continued to give pleasure from generation to generation. Now, if nakedness and simplicity be a defect, the fact here mentioned affords a strong presumption that poems somewhat less naked and simple are capable of affording pleasure at the present day; and, what I wished chiefly to attempt, at present, was to justify myself for having written under the impression of this belief.

    'But I might point out various causes why, when the style is manly, and the subject of some importance, words metrically arranged will long continue to impart such a pleasure to mankind as he who is sensible of the extent of that pleasure will be desirous to impart. The end of Poetry is to produce excitement in co-existence with an overbalance of pleasure. Now, by the supposition, excitement is an unusual and irregular state of the mind; ideas and feelings do not in that state succeed each other in accustomed order. But, if the words by which this excitement is produced are in themselves powerful, or the images and feelings have an undue proportion of pain connected with them, there is some danger that the excitement may be carried beyond its proper bounds. Now the co-presence of something regular, something to which the mind has been accustomed in various moods and in a less excited state, cannot but have great efficacy in tempering and restraining the passion by an intertexture of ordinary feeling, and of feeling not strictly and necessarily connected with the passion. This is unquestionably true, and hence, though the opinion will at first appear paradoxical, from the tendency of metre to divest language in a certain degree of its reality, and thus to throw a sort of half consciousness of unsubstantial existence over the whole composition, there can be little doubt but that more pathetic situations and sentiments, that is, those which have a greater proportion of pain connected with them, may be endured in metrical composition, especially in rhyme, than in prose.'

    Wordsworth, as for me, wrote too difficult English, and English is not my native language, so I actually need your help.

    Hope to get the help soon.
    Thank you very very much.

    Ca Viet

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    • Rookie Max Reif (8/31/2005 9:42:00 AM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

      I found this transcript of poets discussing of Wordswath's 'emotion in tranquility' quote. I e-mailed a preface about it to Ca. Thought the rest of you might find it interesting. (Or ONE of you, maybe ... more

    • Rookie Michael Shepherd (8/31/2005 7:26:00 AM) Post reply

      It occurs to me, Ca Viet, that what Wordsworth is talking about is not so far from what can be seen on Poemhunter's '500 most popular poems' - poems that could almost be written by children for child ... more

    • Rookie Michael Shepherd (8/31/2005 6:28:00 AM) Post reply

      I couldn't improve on Adam's interpretation of the second paragraph. I would suggest that the first paragraph is also written to fellow poets (particularly) and readers against this background: Wor ... more

  • Rookie Michael Shepherd (8/30/2005 1:43:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Ron, I'm just re-reading Gertrude Stein's 'Wars I have Seen', the almost diary account of living in France during the German Occupation 1939-45, before and after. She writes as she thinks - little punctuation - but chooses each word so carefully that it's as valid as a poet writing. Certain repetitions - 'that was babyhood to fourteen years' - and delightful recall of the repetitions of daily formal conversation. Wonderful recall, too, of the various speeds of time in wartime. When there's a simile or a metaphor, you know they have been carefully chosen and entirely to be studied. So what distinctions can you make between honest free verse and carefully written prose, that's going to matter to the reader? Both can be 'heightened' when emotion or drama requires it, etc. I'm reading the Stein as if I were a proofreader!

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  • Rookie - 15 Points Ron Price (8/30/2005 10:32:00 AM) Post reply | Read 3 replies


    In an essay on the great Russian writer Alexander Pushkin, John Bayley quotes literary critic Edmund Wilson to make the point that “Flaubert, Joyce and Virginia Woolf were in a sense poets who wrote in prose because….prose seemed to offer the freedom and authority”1 for the writing they were attempting. This idea struck me as significant for the writing I do because I often feel I am a poet who writes in prose. There is certainly a kinship between my prose and my poetry for many reasons one of which is expressed by John Crowe Ransom: “There is no principle of rightness in poetry; ….there is only ponderous whimsicality, labour of wit and a certain obscure self-indulgence.”2 -Ron Price with thanks to 1John Bayley, Pushkin: A Comparative Commentary, Cambridge UP,1971, p.236; and 2 J.C. Ransom in Author Unknown.

    I seem to learn of my profoundest
    yearnings though an awareness
    of other selves and their yearnings.
    Whatever is within me it is so often
    found in the shame, the splendour,
    the ideas and wisdom of others.1

    Making present the possibilities
    of the past, actualizing historical
    possibility, this is live tradition2
    and I am helped in this effort by
    the ponderous whimsicality
    and the self-indulgence of poetry.

    1 Harold Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence, pp.25-6.
    2 Martin Heidegger in Destructive Poetics: Heidegger and Modern American Poetry, Paul Bovem, Columbia UP, NY,1980, p.90.

    Ron Price
    August 30th 2005

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    • Rookie - 15 Points Michael Shepherd (8/31/2005 6:40:00 AM) Post reply

      John Ashbery's latest book of poems, 'Where Shall I Wander' even takes its title from a several-page 'prose' piece - a good test case.

    • Rookie - 15 Points Michael Shepherd (8/30/2005 1:02:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      How can Ransom be so right in the first statement, and so wrong in the second? In fact, isn't it the first stated principle that saves 'vers libere' from the dangers of the second - or is that the poi ... more

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  • Rookie Michael Shepherd (8/30/2005 8:24:00 AM) Post reply

    , , , and before you compete shamelessly for the Halloween Horror Poem Contest, so appropriate for this site... please prioritise, you gentle guys, that unprized but so Sweet surprise?

  • Rookie Rev. Dr. A. Jacob Hassler (8/30/2005 6:46:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    thanks to all of the Hunters who participated. i think this corpse turned out really well. i had a good time organizing it. in the original post, i formatted the poem a bit to preserve continuity and make it easier to read. here is the Corpse again with each stanza credited to its author. Outstanding Job, Everybody!

    I know that face! She sat across the room
    in algebra. She never spoke. I used to turn
    around to ogle at her breasts.
    I never even knew that she wrote poetry,
    Or lived a hundred fifty years ago.

    (Max Reif)

    Announcing love swept up and other stuff we'll never need
    Emily Dickinson I want you to know I once startled highstreet revellers
    And also their pizza boxes, whilst wearing nothing but a pair of socks.
    Hope is the thing with feathers that perches on the soul, you said.
    Now do you doubt your Bird is true?

    (Adam Reynolds)

    Paned thoughts, stricken from your murals
    To bind your broadcloth breasts in pearls
    Punctuation no longer yours
    And lines re-worked for simpler shores
    Because you would not stop for death?

    (t.h. ashbury)

    Every gentle breath is followed
    by delicious quivers of pearl-white flesh
    above a modest bodice covering treasures
    satin-smooth, shivering, and soft enough
    with promise to sustain a lust-filled head.

    (Raynette Eitel)

    Oh, what combustible thoughts of Thomas’ hands on an
    uninhibited body – her body
    He, famished for the unleashed passion of a woman
    socially kempt for far too long, but cognizant of her
    fragility, coaxing her, coaxing her out of her rigidity, freeing her from

    (Sherrie Gonzales Kolb)

    the corset she knots herself each morning,
    moving the hand mirror until she can see
    the top of her head, which prickles & opens, letting
    in starlight whenever she reads a perfect poem.

    (Poetry Snob)

    And the moon stands by, her own yellow hunk of cheddar,
    watching words of sadness and love rise from the heather,
    only to drift away and be lost forever now.
    Leaving her, flushed and covered in the rouge of virginity
    with the longing of her childhood's treasured and wordless dreams.

    (Herbert Nehrlich)

    The longing was endless
    Together she was a dream for many
    Even though her life so sheltered
    Never left her wanting anything
    Just something so far out of reach

    (Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari)

    But not so far that I cannot sail on her bay,
    And trace the punctuation of dashes downward
    To an unread manuscript so pungent
    Lurking there like circumference
    And I dream of the key to her father's house.

    (Poetry Hound)

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    • Rookie Poetry Hound (8/30/2005 7:31:00 AM) Post reply

      How interesting to see who's who. The one that surprises me the most is Adam Reynold's. His very literal contribution is so different from his poems, which are so atmospheric and wrapped in metaphor.

  • Rookie Michael Shepherd (8/30/2005 5:49:00 AM) Post reply

    Guys, I've just cruised like a missile thorugh Aaron Sweet's 66 poems to date, which are largely without comment - and despite his poem 'A Plague Upon Your Vaunting'(blush) I consider he might be a candidate for our most c.o.n.s.t.r.u.c.t.i.v.e. comments. A number of his poems are slight, but not without 'one-glance' thought. And Matthew, if you've taken your mind out of its cast, you can join in too.. remember, a report is always a report on the reporter too...
    At least it may indicate to Aaron whether it's worth staying with this nest of vipers? How about it, now you've handled Emily's breasts so glovingly?

  • Rookie Allan James Saywell (8/30/2005 5:16:00 AM) Post reply

    well Lamont why dont you write some poetry and you really are not dead

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