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Poetics and Poetry Discussion


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Jefferson Carter Jefferson Carter Male, 91, United States (9/30/2013 10:57:00 AM)

Alice, thank you for your insights. To raise the tone of this disputation slightly, I'm posting John Gulsher's reply to me about a question I honestly want answered: why do so many ESL poets feel the need to write their more and less unskilled poems in English? Why not take advantage of the fluency they already have in their first language?I'd never try to write a poem in Spanish because I'm not fluent enough in Spanish. So why?


" u know sometimes situation forces us to express ourselves in 2nd language,
caz if we do so in our first one, believe me- in my case - i will not be able to see the next rising sun...(i don't know about others)
we have a strong urge of self expression but we can't that do in our first one...
we know that in ages we can not skill like natives but we wish somebody like help us.
yet we trying our best to imitate the native poets but it's still a gigantic task......"

John's answer doesn't really explain that ESL addiction to writing poetry in English. What situation forces the poet to write in a second language? Why can't he/she " express" himself/herself in the native language?I really do want to know.

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  • Rookie - 9 Points Mary Morstan (9/30/2013 2:16:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply
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    Slap on the hand, Jefferson! Why the hell shouldn't they write in a second language?Many of these countries were colonised and, in the past, forced to speak English in order to get a well paid job (as in Ireland) . So why shouldn't they write in Indian English now, or in whatever other version of English they speak?(With regard to what their ancestors had to put up with, I think they should bastardise the language completely, but that's just my opinion) .

    There are, for example, many languages spoken in India, but if a poet writes in English s/he has a chance of reaching readers in those communities who, likewise, speak English, as well as people in other countries. Often the grammar is faulty, yes, as in spoken Hiberno-English (Irish-English) . But they have to start somewhere, learn to incorporate the sounds and colour of their mother tongue within the English they speak. With regard to the actual poetry, why should it judged by white Western standards?Do we know what influences or tradition these writers are writing out of, or, as John states, what their aim is?There's a cultural issue here too, imo. It's natural for people who are not from English-speaking countries to defend their work and the work of their friends when the criticism dealt out reads like an attempt to belittle their efforts in finding a way of writing in “English” (certainly NOT your intention, I know) .

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    • Rookie - 9 Points Gulsher John (9/30/2013 9:27:00 PM) Post reply

      how beautifully you have spoken our hearts to Mr.Carter Indeed there are issues that force a person to phrases other than his or her mother tongue. at least he/she be guided not adorn with such hars ... more

  • Rookie - 803 Points Gulsher John (9/30/2013 12:23:00 PM) Post reply

    hello again Mr.carter
    plz read a message posted to Alice.....

    " yes Alice, this is the point which i want explain to Mr.Carter.
    cultural norms and orthodoxy in certain part of the world strictly jailed emotions and feelings.
    you people have full freedom of expression, to say your heart, but in our part we can't do that, we are compelled to encode our expressions in 2nd language, only to avoid the aftermath consequences,
    please do understand our POV, for us poetry is not fun but a purpose thought we do it awfully...... "
    thank you so much
    john

  • Rookie - 324 Points Alice Vedral Rivera (9/30/2013 11:21:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    JC, I think John has a point about the fact that some poets cannot express certain points of view in their native language but dare to do so in English to 'get the word out' to the world, so to speak, about what is going on in their country/culture. This is admirable considering that even writing about it in English is a risk. With that as a given, their poems may not be the best but the word is spread to the rest of us in the global community. I couldn't understand why they bristle so when errors in grammar and word usage are pointed out. However, as I was perusing non-poetic writings to present at my writer's group meeting for this month and re-read an essay about my being interrogated in Czechoslovakia in 1966, I realized that the incorrect English gives them some plausible deniability (yes auto-correct that is the proper spelling of the word) .

    Unfortunately, that does not apply to everyone.

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    • Rookie - 324 Points Gulsher John (9/30/2013 12:20:00 PM) Post reply

      yes Alice, this is the point which i want explain to Mr.Carter. cultural norms and orthodoxy in certain part of the world strictly jailed emotions and feelings. you people have full freedom of expr ... more

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