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Poetics and Poetry Discussion

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  • Peter Stavropoulos (4/26/2014 5:18:00 PM) Post reply | Read 4 replies

    " It will remain remarkable, in what ever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the SCIENTIFIC conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality." - Eugene P Wagner, a Nobel Prize winner and one of the leading physicists of the twentieth century.

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    • Peter Stavropoulos (4/27/2014 6:17:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      This quote was taken from a lecture on YouTube - " Explained! The Double Slit Experiment" - and I see it not only as being relevant to poetry but also of freeing poetry of any self-imposed r ... more

    • Jim Hogg (4/27/2014 3:06:00 AM) Post reply

      Just catching up with you guys on this and all the other stuff and think it's worthwhile making a few connections here. This does seem to be interesting from a poetry point of view actually... if the ... more

    • Mike Acker (4/26/2014 8:13:00 PM) Post reply

      You've always been a snake in the underbrush, Peter. Yes, I agree, Peter. One day science will prove beyond doubt that Christ was a blonde, blue-eyed Norwegian. Is that what you are trying to s ... more

    • Mike Acker (4/26/2014 5:46:00 PM) Post reply

      No matter whom you quote, your poetry st ... more

  • Jefferson Carter (4/26/2014 3:50:00 PM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

    Lamont, thanks for clarifying below your poetic tastes and influences. Here are some responses to the individual points you made.

    1. You love “the mixture of strong music, yet often casual language.” So do I, with more emphasis in my poetry on casual language, including “anti-poetic” diction (slang, cuss-words, profanity, etc.) . The challenge I give myself is how to “poeticize” (in Paul Fussell’s term, “heighten”) such unprepossessing, vulgar diction. I try to do it through line breaks, figures of speech and images. The stanzas and line breaks in the poem I’ve posted below attempt, through form, to make the plain diction more expressive; for instance, the line break between stanza three and stanza four intends to suggest an unexpected conviction that, yes, opinions ARE like assholes.


    He writes “dripping from the trees,
    human gray matter.” I suggest

    “gray matter dripping from trees”
    works better. He writes “a person

    of interest.” I suggest “an object”
    of interest.” It’s true—opinions

    are like assholes. For instance,
    some editor wanted to delete this

    dialogue from my edgy urban poem—
    “Wanna blowjob?” “No, I’m good.”

    Where we disagree is what is strong music. Dana Gioia and William Logan write formal poems; their “music, ” even when not employing end rhyme or a rhyme scheme, strikes me as bloodless, contrived, fey, and redolent of elevator music in a museum no one bothers to visit anymore. Of course, our personal tastes come into play here.

    2. You say, “METER is what separates a poem from prose; that the more one waters down the meter, the closer one gets to flat sounding lines, thus, prose. And I knew that I did not want my work mistaken for prose, or derided as chopped-up essays.”

    First, we need to clarify our terms. Here I’ll jump on my poor, worn-out hobby horse (joining the critic Charles Hartman) , and declare “prose is NOT the opposite of poetry.” Prose and VERSE are opposites, the former organized by paragraphs and the latter organized by line and stanza. In fact, the term “poetry” might best be dropped from all future discussions of literature. No one can (or has) definitively defined it. For simplicity’s sake, I use the terms verse and poetry interchangeably, meaning, without implying differences in quality, a kind of writing organized by lines and stanzas. Most critics (like Lewis Turco) confuse the term “poetry” for “poetic” and the term “prose” for “prosaic, ” as Turco does when he labels Joyce’s “Ulysses” poetry. The book is highly “poetic” (musical) prose, not poetry. You, Lamont, would probably label Philip Levine’s poetry (and, of course, my verse) as “prose chopped-up into lines”; a more accurate and useful phrase would be “prosaic” verse, meaning poetry whose diction is plain and relatively flat.

    You want me to stop using the word “educated” in reference to poetry. You insist “there is no real 'education' in poetry, save vast amounts of reading and riding and absorbing good, fresh work from the masters, or near masters.” But that term “meter” you so dearly love demands that its proponents learn what they’re talking about. I suspect any poet who hasn’t read Paul Fussell’s classic “Poetic Meter & Poetic Form” has little understanding of the subject. The inept formal poems posted by many, many Poemhunter poets proves this as they adhere to a perfectly regular meter, a rigid pattern of rhythm that ignores opportunities for expressive variation.

    3. And, finally, you say, “I just think meter (and a slightly elevated diction) gives a poem beauty and impact, and the further you pull back from that, the further you get away from verse. The ‘plain style’ blurs the line too much for me.” I suppose you mean “...the further you get away from [GOOD] verse [poetry].”

    Scanning a few lines from your own poem “Amish Girls” makes me question your understanding of meter. I assume you’re attempting an accentual-syllabic metered poem because each line aspires to five feet. The first line, “Where is the religious eye?Morning is dark, ” should, ideally, establish the rhythmic pattern the reader may expect; here’s how I scan it:
    u/ uu/ u/ /u u/
    It’s pentameter but not regularly iambic, with the 2nd foot anapestic and the 4th foot a trochee. I’m guessing you think you're writing a poem in iambic pentameter meter. However, this expectation is blown to hell as the poem unfolds. Look at the third stanza:

    When blood played a part it never played,
    u / / u / / / u /
    painting the floorboards a crimson no one
    / u u / / u / u u /
    desired; leaving lesson plans scarred and drenched.
    u / / u / u / / u /

    4½ feet in the first line, five feet in the next two lines, so Lamont’s still struggling with pentameter, but what a mix of feet,2 trochees and a spondee in line 1,3 trochees in line 2, and 2 trochees and a spondee in line 3. If this poem is written in METER (which you say “gives a poem beauty and impact”) , it’s a garbled meter, some kind of heavily trochaic pentameter you never intended. Here’s what I conclude: counting syllables is the only thing you understand about poetic meter. Counting syllables, while being deaf to the rhythms of stressed and unstressed syllables, is no more useful than counting crows.

    4. I believe the true bone of contention between us is our taste for plain or elevated diction. That word “scarred” in line 3 above exemplifies what I dislike about elevated diction—it may sound “poetic” and emotional, but it’s imprecise, clunky, and vague. How can a lesson plan, a piece of paper, be scarred?With that question, I’ll abandon this too-long disquisition.

    Replies for this message:
    • Lamont Palmer (4/26/2014 10:12:00 PM) Post reply

      Yes, please rely on the Professor, especially when he's being honest, and not churlish and angry and phony like at the moment. -LP Jefferson Carter (10/14/2013 10: 04: 00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 ... more

    • Mike Acker (4/26/2014 5:41:00 PM) Post reply

      Almost forgot about the Driving The Tongue line, I guess that one must be a 7th foot anapesticfckued up meter?

    • Mike Acker (4/26/2014 5:04:00 PM) Post reply

      I am sure Palmer is seeing this as two titans discussing poetry. Unfortunately for him, it is one titan(JC, just so there is no doubt in Palmer's mind) berating a pathetic, mixed-up poet wannabe. U ... more

  • Alexander Rizzo (4/26/2014 3:48:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    the discussion we were having between mr carter and mr palmer is what we need in this forum, no more of this foolishness from you mr acker who i now believe is in disguise, as no one would behave so maniacally under their actual names. you have a fixation on mr palmer obviously for reasons that have nothing to do with poetry; leave it off these pages, for gods sake

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    • Mike Acker (4/26/2014 4:45:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      No, not a fixation, but yes, I am convinced he is a phony and a quack, Sherrie. His poetry stinks. Instead of being so biased, why didn't you respond to my valid comments about what he views as his ... more

  • Mike Acker (4/26/2014 2:30:00 PM) Post reply | Read 5 replies

    Lamont's Cutting The Losses....
    I will be reworking a bit as it lacks some music. I'll be taking the drivel and doggerel out for him and I am sure he will thank me once I am done.....I will need a week or so, as the foundation is questionable. I will do what I can to save this overly sentimental, drab poem from itself and especially from Lamont.......

    Cutting The Losses

    All lengthening dies; so goes hair and hipster styles, (all lengthening dies?I don't know, will rework for you Palmer)
    Now, in tune, to what may be the last strand touched.
    As he sat, motion displaced in the muscles, (motion displaced in the muscle, we know what you mean, but badlty put from a poetic point of view, don't worry, will work it out for you)
    (inertia tricks the eye to see what is sad) (this is your worst habit, these statements in parenthesis, as if you are winking at the treader, silly and as they say let the reader think something is sad, NEVER EVER say it, remember The! diot's Guide To Fine Poetry: " always let the reader develop the emotion, never express it" . Palmer I am disappointed!
    He trusted my hands, those appendages (he trusted my hands, those appendages, HUHHHH?no music, not poetry, but don't you worry Uncle Mike will work on this for you)
    Moving across the hairline like eyes on stanzas.(I know you are extremely proud of this line, and I am sorry, but it just doesn't work. Read it aloud and you will find that around " like eyes on stanzas" there is a major stumble. Shame on you, forty four years and you didn't read it aloud?)
    In his world, closer than I would have thought,
    Sobers at any age, when all was orchestrated
    By him, the lyricism of independence.
    Now me behind him, tentative barber,
    Behind this dwindling customer who
    Ran with iron hands, this establishment, (" With iron hands ran" sounds a bit better)
    Submits to razors, virtuous tools of grooming.
    His nude back, a map of aging, mole-strewn towns, (" Nude back" s/b " Naked back" I don't know, my ears don't like, unless we have different version of the Oedipus story going on here)
    With wisps of hair, settling down to sleep, (Very, very silly, sorry, but I am always shocked at your writing after forty four years)
    He seems to release remnants of a past
    That will not end with him, or vanish
    Like small locks, inordinately soft.
    The strongest spark?The father of triumph,
    Heroes who you see in whole scenes, whole
    And shirtless, ego-less, as they are; man and son
    (nervous in paradigms held together by need)
    While the Reaper takes up the broom and sweeps.

    leave it with me for a week or so.....there is a lot to do here...I welcome anyone to argue my points, as they are honest comments.

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    • Lamont Palmer (4/26/2014 10:16:00 PM) Post reply

      Jefferson Carter (10/14/2013 10: 04: 00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply Lamont, pretty nice poem, especially the tender and true portrayal of that naked back. I think, for the most part, you allowed ... more

    • -. - . _. (4/26/2014 5:19:00 PM) Post reply

      Jefferson Carter (4/23/2014 10: 47: 00 AM) Post reply PHers, Wadin Hooyo is Mike Acker. ...................

    • Mike Acker (4/26/2014 4:46:00 PM) Post reply

      No, not a fixation, but yes, I am convinced he is a phony and a quack, Sherrie. His poetry stinks. Instead of being so biased, why didn't you respond to my valid comments about what he views as his ... more

    • Alexander Rizzo (4/26/2014 3:39:00 PM) Post reply

      you must have nothing to do with your da ... more

    To read all of 5 replies click here
  • Captain Cur (4/26/2014 1:03:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    Feral Pleasure

    Here I be an impish sprite
    that speaks with impish speech
    biting hard a lion's tail
    I clamp fast with my teeth;
    hear now the old lion's roar,
    the tragedy in poems
    while I am whipped about
    in the thought lairs of his home.

    In his deepest jungle breath
    he growls some simple lines
    seducing young gazelles
    with love bones wrapped in rhyme;
    then suddenly he pounces
    with a skillful lover’s art
    enclosing the distance,
    leaping chasms to their heart.

    I have witnessed feral pleasure
    known no greater pain
    in the death grip of a lion's lust
    mangling my brain.
    Be wary sweet young antelope
    don't stray far from the pack
    starved are the grey old lions
    when their heads dismount the rack.

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    • Shahzia Batool (5/28/2014 12:08:00 AM) Post reply

      Stunning...ferocious beginning and alarming end...quite consistent in imagery and compact in composition of 3 stanzas 8 lines each... animal imagery leads us to watch the drama staged daily in human ... more

    • Mike Acker (4/26/2014 1:32:00 PM) Post reply

      Great writing, Captain Cur. I will be reading the rest of your poetry.

  • Mike Acker (4/26/2014 12:55:00 PM) Post reply

    The Shelter

    Mangled lives, cut-up souls,
    diced and shredded minds,
    fried brains, chopped up childhoods,
    mixed with the biting vinegar
    of foul abuse, the type that strikes
    fear and the kind that grows demons,
    larger than life.
    Clipped wings, then
    into the bitter winds
    and storms of simple days, pushed.
    Split thoughts and wounded hearts,
    injected with unnatural broths.
    How else to fight these,
    these devils
    they grew inside,

    Mike Acker

  • Mike Acker (4/25/2014 7:02:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Well Within

    I am here, inside the outside.
    I have been here for a while,
    now. You never know exactly
    when, or how it comes about,
    but none of that matters, anyhow.

    The key is that once inside,
    you begin to belong and
    you begin to get along
    with the others, here, outside.
    Morbidity morphs into the familiar

    and the comprehensible,
    once you're in the outside.
    I hear the others, inside,
    the ones who have not lost
    their mind yet, to find

    their way to here, the outside.
    Their wasted words still echo
    in my ears. They are sad for,
    sadness hasn't reached them yet.
    We talk, these insiders, and I,

    like two stars passing each other
    every night. Their light shines
    off me and mine does not. Neither
    cold nor warmth are exchanged.
    Neither recognizes the other,

    as they are still, without,
    and I am now well within,
    this outside.

    Mike Acker

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    • Mike Acker (4/25/2014 8:18:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Scotty, you see what the " cold-shoulder" , " donkey-kong" , and rip him to shreds has done to me. Thanks a lot, buddy. On a serious note, I have always enjoyed your poetry. Pe ... more

  • Lamont Palmer (4/25/2014 3:30:00 PM) Post reply | Read 6 replies

    JC, I don't mind your question (who doesn't enjoy talking about themselves to a degree?) , but lets take the snideness and vitriol out of the exchange. It seems to me, at least the published poets on PH should show each other a little professional courtesy. All the sniping does is give trolls like 'Mike' a reason to stir up more trouble. Lets not sink to his very low level.

    Like most poets (if not all) , my style and sensibilities were not shaped by books ON poetics, they were shaped and impassioned by actual POETRY. Merrill pretty much did it for me, the mixture of strong music, yet often casual language. After that, literary criticism showed me what styles were, ultimately, valued over others and what constituted good mechanics in a poem. I came to my own conclusion (with the help of Jarrell, Bloom, Logan, Winters and others) that METER is what separates a poem from prose; that the more one waters down the meter, the closer one gets to flat sounding lines, thus, prose. And I knew that I did not want my work mistaken for prose, or derided as chopped-up essays, despite my early love for the energetic work of Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Leroi Jones, and others. Thats as close as I can come to why I have a love of form. Sometimes you seem puzzled by my tastes, as if in your mind, you think its strange. Perhaps my rather staid, middleclass rearing made me receptive to formalism and pattern. But on a more basic level, I just think meter (and a slightly elevated diction) gives a poem beauty and impact, and the further you pull back from that, the further you get away from verse. The ' plain style' blurs the line too much for me. Or, like Stevens called the work of WCW: 'anti-poetry'. You do agree that I'm entitled to my opinion, don't you?And really, I'm not the typical formalist because I cannot tolerate rhyme; at least end rhyme. But I do embrace every other formal device. In my opinion, it simply produces the best poetry. You've known me 8 years, JC. I'm certain I've broken this all down for you before. And please, stop throwing the word 'educated' around as if that means something in poetry. Most of the free versers today couldn't write a sonnet or a villanelle if their lives depended on it. So there is no real 'education' in poetry, save vast anounts of reading and riding and absorbing good, fresh work from the masters, or near masters. I appreciate your curiosity. -LP

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    • Frank Ovid (4/26/2014 9:34:00 AM) Post reply

      I think they should have sumo wrestling match to decide this thing once and for all. I'm going to get a tape of Burgess Meredith for Carter to watch..... " Cut me Mick, CUT ME! ! "

    • Gulsher John (4/26/2014 7:26:00 AM) Post reply

      good move with some fine phrases Mr.Palmer as if Pawn encircled the Queen, and honestly i love the intention, i wish JC could reciprocate it. as i told you bit earlier that you trying to plant britis ... more

    • Alexander Rizzo (4/25/2014 10:55:00 PM) Post reply

      enjoyed this palmer. a peep into your psyche and your artistic intentions, every one should write one, might be fun

    • Lamont Palmer (4/25/2014 4:49:00 PM) Post reply

      Quickly scrawled but as clear as I could ... more

    • Frank Ovid (4/25/2014 4:25:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      I get my poetical inspiration from liste ... more

    • Jefferson Carter (4/25/2014 3:50:00 PM) Post reply

      Lamont, thanks for this detailed and int ... more

  • Mike Acker (4/25/2014 11:50:00 AM) Post reply | Read 4 replies

    I had my suspicions, but I am pretty confident that the dot dash guy is Peter Stavropoulos. If this is your new poetry, then I agree with what has been said before about your poetry. I won't judge, but would like to know how long you have been writing for? I am going to guess you enrolled in Palmer's evening courses.........

    Love Was
    by Peter Stavropoulos

    Love was.....

    When 'if' lay between you and I
    And 'never' seemed forever
    I fell to earth in surrender
    And you became the centre of my eye

    Love is.....

    When I pass by you accidentally
    I grab a sense of your smile
    When between us is distance measured by the mile
    I grab a sense of our love immeasurably
    etc. etc........

    Replies for this message:
    • Mike Acker (4/25/2014 12:53:00 PM) Post reply

      Boy oh boy, you are mad now, Peter. You used to be accurate at least, Peter. Now you are creating fiction! I love that poem, and whoever wrote it, should be proud of themselves!

    • Mike Acker (4/25/2014 12:33:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      " -. -. _." that is, and not " ...- - -..." same IQ level of 43, though.

    • Jefferson Carter (4/25/2014 12:01:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Jauzus! : between you and ME" ! ! !

    To read all of 4 replies click here
  • Mike Acker (4/25/2014 11:39:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Books read by Lamont Palmer(since he is too modest to reveal) :
    " The! diots Guide to Poetry" , " The! diots Guide On How To Write High-Browed Poetry" , " Poetry Writing In Four Days" , " How To Sound Highly Educated Without Any Degrees" , " How To Argue With Retired Professors" , " The Dummy's Guide On Intelligent Sounding Poetry" , " The Dummy's Guide On How To Get Nominated Without Ever Having To Win" , " How To Spin A NOM into A WON Using Smoke And Mirrors" , " How To Use " PERSONAS" to your Tactical Advantage On Forums" , " The Dummy's Guide On How To Manipulate Forum Members To Your Advantage" , " The! diot's Guide On How To Survive As A Wingless Poet And Make The Most Of It I, II, and II" . " The! diot's Guide On How To Argue Against The Question Of How Come You Still Write Shh! tty Poetry After Forty Four Years At It And Walk Away Thinking You Won The Argument"
    " The Dummy's Guide On How To Write Unique Verse(Like Dragging Tongues Around Cities An Other Great Examples) " , " The Definitive Guide On How To Mask Pathetic Behaviour" , " The! diots Guide On How To Recruit Other! diots On Forums To Your Advantage" .

    Please correct me if I missed anything Lamont.

    Replies for this message:
    • Lamont Palmer (4/25/2014 2:28:00 PM) Post reply

      YAWN. You're boring 'Acker'. I'd rather joust with Jefferson. At least he's a real person with real opinions. -LP

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