Poetics and Poetry Discussion

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  • Rookie - 1st Stage Jefferson Carter (9/19/2014 9:07:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Lamont, I really don't help from Acker. I just want you to answer three questions: 1) That old but unanswerable chestnut, what is poetry? You keep saying I defy definitions everyone else agrees on, but such definitions don't exist. If, as you suggested, " The Great Gatsby" were broken into lines, what essential quality would keep it from being poetry? 2) What do you mean by music? Strict meter? Alliteration?Rhyme? Music has to do with sound, with form, not content. Why is one rhythm better than another? Why are you so hung up on iambic meter?Doesn't every line have rhythm of some sort? 3) You've said the more " formal poetic devices" a poet uses, the better the poem. I know the plain style eschews rhyme and strict meter, but don't the best plain-spoken poets use such figures of speech as similes and metaphors?

    I've been thinking about why I dislike so many plain-style poems I've been reading lately. You're going to faint, but I agree the plain style has fostered the worst kind of flat, uninteresting verse. The chopped-into-lines personal memoirs I hate are prosaic, not because they lack music (though the music supplied by lines breaks in the hands of a good poet like Williams is both subtle and expressive and is absent from the works I despise) but because they lack vivid, precise imagery and original, profound figures of speech; it's their content that sucks, not so much their form.

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    • Rookie - 1st Stage Lamont Palmer (9/20/2014 8:52:00 AM) Post reply

      JC, I didn't faint, but you just proved you knew what the heck I was talking about all the time. Your grudging admission (I feel like an attorney breaking down a witness on the stand) about the failu ... more

  • Rookie - 1st Stage Frank Ovid (9/19/2014 8:50:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    I just went to a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and I noticed there was an icon to " Edit Poem" . I clicked it and did a little " cleaning up" for " The Wad" (what his close friends refer to him as) . Yeah, I noticed the poem needed some work, so I helped him out. I changed a few lines around. Not much.

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  • Rookie - 1st Stage Mike Acker (9/19/2014 5:19:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies


    Figures dance, as dark shadows against
    silk shrouds. Some charge, chase, and chivy,
    others are felled, fleeced and flitched

    What fate awaits me?Is it
    the figurine, or just a black
    silhouette against the shrewd silk screen?

    Mike Acker

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    • Rookie - 1st Stage Mike Acker (9/20/2014 11:23:00 AM) Post reply

      Being desperate to write without the triteness you mentioned, I went, well, poem-hunting. I ran across this " original" piece. I can't for the life of me recall the name of the writer. Ma ... more

    • Rookie - 1st Stage Lamont Palmer (9/20/2014 9:13:00 AM) Post reply

      'Dark Shadows' was a TV show back in the 70's. But even before then, 'dark shadows' was still a terrible cliché. 'What fate awaits me'?So melodramatic, 'Acker'. You've got the soul of a poet, but you ... more

  • Rookie - 1st Stage Mike Acker (9/19/2014 4:54:00 PM) Post reply

    It seems our resident Big Bird(Lamont Palmer, see my poem " Lamont Palmer and His Mediocrities" ;) is getting in too deep.
    i want to help Lamont Palmer by providing the forum with great examples
    of his " genius" . Sometimes how someone actually writes is more relevant than
    what he says(over and over again) .
    Anyone who does not see the genius in the following lines
    from Mr. Pamer's poetry is either blind or not a child in the crowd:

    " Drive his tongue from city to city" , or
    " Lay like roadkill at the entrance of ears" , or even
    " in the car Of your thoughts" ....

    This is so dense that at first it feels like gold and then upon
    closer inspection it becomes clear that we simply have
    a lot of lead, dead lead.
    These are excerpts from a poem he is so ashamed of, he has deleted it.
    I think we need to take whatever Palmer says with a pound of salt.

  • Silver Star - 5th Stage Mohammad Skati (9/19/2014 1:09:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    A poet's style clearly shows him or her greatly to others. Thanks.

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  • Rookie - 1st Stage Jefferson Carter (9/19/2014 10:06:00 AM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

    Here's Monty Lamont again, trashing the plain style: " With the plain style, the content has to carry the poem.... It's also a less risky way to write, as you don't have to worry about figures of speech being called 'too dense', or 'too clumsy', etc."

    That's exactly my point, Monty. Instead of playing parlor games with rhyme and meter, open form poets who like plain speech focus on original metaphors and similes, which are CONTENT, not form. You seem to be saying (I still am having trouble getting your position about the role of such " poetic devices" as figures of speech in conversational-style poetry) plain verse poets don't use figures of speech. If so, you're plain wrong. If you're saying formal poets employ " dense" figures of speech, which are criticized as " too clumsy, " that's a different issue from your hobby horse about " music." Clear it up, Mr. Clumsy! !

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    • Rookie - 1st Stage Lamont Palmer (9/19/2014 7:13:00 PM) Post reply

      Thanks for giving JC aid and comfort. He badly needed it. -LP

    • Rookie - 1st Stage Mike Acker (9/19/2014 4:51:00 PM) Post reply

      It seems our resident Big Bird is getting in too deep. i want to help Palmer by providing the forum with great examples of his genius. Sometimes how someone actually writes is more relevant than ... more

    • Rookie - 1st Stage Lamont Palmer (9/19/2014 2:57:00 PM) Post reply

      Again, what you call 'parlor tricks', are what great poets call technique, and untilizing the poetic devices that are available to them. Your problem is, you are so relentlessly dedicated to defending ... more

  • Rookie - 1st Stage Professor Plum (9/19/2014 8:40:00 AM) Post reply

    2 whom is Sean speaking 2?Aye! Me w0nders!

  • Bronze Star - 4th Stage John Westlake (9/19/2014 4:47:00 AM) Post reply

    So sad to see that Ed Nigma has taken down all of his poems. A great poet and his works lost.

  • Rookie - 1st Stage Professor Plum (9/18/2014 4:23:00 PM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

    I just looked up Robert Bly and I like him very much. He reminds me of someone who used to be on here called " The Literal Poet" . I think it was Bluebird. She wasn't too bad. Anyway, here's my poem inspired by (and in the style of) Robert Bly:

    The Table

    There’s a piece of food encrusted on the
    side of the kitchen table where Mom
    forgot to wipe with her blue rag. She’s
    behind me now sloshing dish water
    around as I read a book about biology.
    The glob of food is bothering me so
    I tell her about it and she says wipe it
    up yourself, I’m busy doing the dishes.
    The table is five shades lighter than it
    used to be because it’s 25 years old.
    I complain to Dad about this hunk of
    food, but he’s asleep already in his
    chair and he has a lit cigarette about
    to burn his fingers. His nails are yellow.

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    • Rookie - 1st Stage Professor Plum (9/18/2014 9:05:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

      @ Jeff, I like Bly, from what I've read (4 poems) . I didn't see much humor in the poems though. VERY serious guy. I think if you use that " plain" style in your poetry you'd better have som ... more

    • Rookie - 1st Stage Lamont Palmer (9/18/2014 8:50:00 PM) Post reply

      Actually I was trying to amend my comment to JC (not sure if it went through or not) but, yes, Bly was a pretty good early on. But like a lot of poets who let the attention go to their heads, he bec ... more

    • Rookie - 1st Stage Jefferson Carter (9/18/2014 6:08:00 PM) Post reply

      Well, Prof, I'm not sure this is in the style of Robert Bly, but.... Read his early books, " Silence in the Snowy Fields" and " The Light Around the Body." They're deceptively si ... more

  • Rookie - 1st Stage Jefferson Carter (9/18/2014 11:48:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Here is Lamont babbling again about his idol Wiliam Logan: " Logan, here, is not referring to meter and rhyme at all. He's speaking specifically about language. He seems to be saying that, while there's a place for the plain style, there's such a thing as being too plain. And if one is too plain, then one is probably not creating 'powerful, original figures of speech', and thus not creating strong verse. In other words, no, he does not think a poet like Bukowski is equal to a poet like Hecht, in terms of pure language."

    One of the frustrating things about arguing with Lamont is his refusal to directly answer my questions. Here's one: WTF is " pure language" ? Please answer.

    Willie L. exposes his ongoing bias toward meter and rhyme in 2 ways: he always cites as his models the formalists Hecht, Wilbur and Lowell (early Lowell, not the plain-spoken champion of " Life Studies" ;) . He himself writes in form, truly stiff and stale attempts at his kind of " music." Both in theory and practice, Logan IS " referring to meter and rhyme" as the essence of admirable verse. His attack on the plain style derives from his infatuation with formal poetry.

    He (and Lamont) don't see that the plain style fosters powerful figures of speech and vivid imagery. Bukowski sucks not because he uses plain diction but because he can't create strong imagery and figures of speech. If Lamont and Logan read James Wright and Robert Bly and other " deep image" poets, they'd see how the plain style necessitates other poetic devices to heighten the reader's experience of the work. Good contemporary poets know this. Bad ones don't.

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    • Rookie - 1st Stage Lamont Palmer (9/18/2014 2:15:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Some day, if Bly is ever critically considered to be a greater poet than Auden or Hecht, I'll buy your argument about the plain style, JC. Till then, I'll continue to say that the closer a poem gets t ... more

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