What is poetry?

What is art? What is beauty?

Moderators: AMod, iMod

marjoram_blues
Posts: 1630
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:50 pm

Re: What is poetry?

Post by marjoram_blues » Thu May 12, 2016 11:45 am

Perhaps it might help any new readers if I put this thread into perspective. In a way it was to attempt to answer some questions which arose in another thread:
Questioning poetic philosophers or philosophical poets
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=19029
Where I started off being wow'd by the accessibility of poets via webchat.

So, this discussion of poetry, what it is, etc. is a relatively new area of interest for me to explore.
The subject of poetry seems to be more in the public eye. Or, at least, it has caught my attention. For example, another Guardian article ( 11th May) ' Poetry is a perfect form to challenge human rights abuses' - Shami Chakrabarti.
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/m ... hakrabarti

An excerpt:
' The poetry of witness has long compensated for censored or corrupted news media when truth must be spoken to power - think of Alfred Tennyson's 'Charge of the Light Brigade' or Wilfred Owen's 'Anthem for Doomed Youth'...the civil rights poetry and activism of Langston Hughes are completely inseparable.

WH Auden was surely as much a man of witness and as great verse...'Refugee Blues' should be shaming of the powerful today as when it was written in 1939 ( ''Say this city has ten million souls,/ Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:/ Yet there's no place for us, my dear, yet there's no place for us'').
...
Human rights are under threat...this challenge creates a new opportunity and purpose for poetry, for it is this medium above all others that so connects our inner and outer voices; both a quiet conscience and a call to arms.'

Last edited by marjoram_blues on Thu May 12, 2016 12:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

marjoram_blues
Posts: 1630
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:50 pm

Re: What is poetry?

Post by marjoram_blues » Thu May 12, 2016 12:06 pm

Harbal wrote:
marjoram_blues wrote: I would like to read these firsthand conversational accounts written by serving soldiers whilst undergoing this trauma. My impression was that the guys didn't like to talk about the horrors and dare not suggest any antiwar feeling for fear of being branded a traitor..
Is it my imagination or is there a touch of scepticism in there? The point is that, over time, I have accumulated a certain amount of knowledge about the war which has given me a particular set of impressions about it. I would say that the poem is just another source of the same information.
. My intention was not to alter any of your previous perceptions or increase your emotional understanding.
I'm not saying that was your intention. What I am saying is that, for me, whatever can be conveyed through poetry can be conveyed in other ways more effectively.
. My original hope was simply to show/discuss some of the objectives and potential effects of reading/writing poetry.
In general to anyone interested in how it could relate to philosophical issues.
I don't think I can make a useful contribution to that.
. Thanks for introducing a specific subject
What specific subject?
Harbal - you already made a useful contribution to the discussion which I started not knowing where it would lead. so far, there has been talk about the specific subject of 'War' and how it is reflected in time and via different media. We speculated on the power of poetry which might not be as effective as other means as 'another source of the same information'. Clearly, there is also overwhelming secondary sources of WW1 information, and contemporary reviews of the subject which inform and pave the way for TV/film entertainment.

My point was that the power of the poetry of e.g. Wilfred Owen stems from the personal need to bear witness and perhaps to change minds or the damaging philosophy or experiences current in society. At that time, the media coverage of personal experience of horror would have been slight if not non-existent. For obvious reasons, it would be pro-war propaganda. Where is Pluto when you need him - the forum expert on this ?

You helped me to consider this by simply talking about your experience with the lyrics of Billy Joel. Who'd have thunk ?

The same anti-war message can be conveyed today, but there is not such a serious risk of being tried for treason. More people are on the case, but the movement had to start with the brave few.

Perhaps people who blow the whistle on acts of government secrecy/surveillance - like Edward Snowden ?
Guess poetry wouldn't have cut it...

Anyway, I think I've gone as fas as I want with this. Other life stuff beckons - thanks again.

Walker
Posts: 4776
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:00 am

Re: What is poetry?

Post by Walker » Mon May 16, 2016 11:57 am

What I am saying is that, for me, whatever can be conveyed through poetry can be conveyed in other ways more effectively.
i.e., the real meaning.

Maybe in some theory of the universe that may be true. Maybe after reading the word “tree” in a poem and then looking at a tree one could say that the real tree does a better job on the topic of tree, though the magical claim that that the tree conjures itself out of thin air is in the receiver and not the transmitter.

Doesn’t hold up for all topics. For instance with the topic of poetry, empirical evidence of poems validated by a publisher, i.e. someone making an investment to make a profit, indicates a poetic explanation of poetry that eludes the prosaic, though prose subsequently ventures into trying to explain what was expressed in the poetry that prose did not express.

Interesting that for years after E. Dickinson’s death publishers would rewrite her poetry and publish it. Third party editing only applies to poems by committee and prose is routinely edited by third party.

Introduction to Poetry
By Billy Collins


I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to water-ski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

HexHammer
Posts: 2928
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 8:19 pm

Re: What is poetry?

Post by HexHammer » Mon May 16, 2016 1:47 pm

Harbal wrote:It's lucky for you, then, that I'm here to enlighten you about your own folly.
...when have I committed a folly!?!?! ..I think those are very rare "brain farts" contrary the general hapless stupidity?

marjoram_blues
Posts: 1630
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:50 pm

Re: What is poetry?

Post by marjoram_blues » Mon May 16, 2016 10:36 pm

Walker wrote:
What I am saying is that, for me, whatever can be conveyed through poetry can be conveyed in other ways more effectively.
i.e., the real meaning.

Maybe in some theory of the universe that may be true. Maybe after reading the word “tree” in a poem and then looking at a tree one could say that the real tree does a better job on the topic of tree, though the magical claim that that the tree conjures itself out of thin air is in the receiver and not the transmitter.

Doesn’t hold up for all topics. For instance with the topic of poetry, empirical evidence of poems validated by a publisher, i.e. someone making an investment to make a profit, indicates a poetic explanation of poetry that eludes the prosaic, though prose subsequently ventures into trying to explain what was expressed in the poetry that prose did not express.

Interesting that for years after E. Dickinson’s death publishers would rewrite her poetry and publish it. Third party editing only applies to poems by committee and prose is routinely edited by third party.

Introduction to Poetry
By Billy Collins


I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to water-ski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
Thank you.

Walker
Posts: 4776
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:00 am

Re: What is poetry?

Post by Walker » Mon May 23, 2016 7:00 pm

You’re welcome. Collins speaks to the times.

But even negativity loses its charm. Hah! Graffiti grows up, attention moves on, the same awareness that peered through a child’s eyes peers through eyes that have seen more and still the lasting question for the curious will remain, through what will awareness perceive after that?

Walker
Posts: 4776
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:00 am

Re: What is poetry?

Post by Walker » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:49 am

marjoram_blues wrote: What is the objective of producing poetry?
The Dada manifesto was written during WWI.

It is an artistic response to the insane status quo of the time that was causing trouble.

The aftermath of the war was the jazz age seeking life and not death in experience.

History repeats, micro and macro.

The timeline since the manifesto: war, prosperity, hard times, escapism, war, prosperity ... revolution, escapism (drugs), hard times, prosperity, perpetual war ...

However to the thread point: poetry is an artistic response to say the most with the least, because words are just words.

*

“A line of poetry is a chance to get rid of all the filth that clings to this accursed language, as if put there by stockbrokers’ hands, hands worn smooth by coins. I want the word where it ends and begins. Dada is the heart of words.

“Each thing has its word, but the word has become a thing by itself. Why shouldn’t I find it? Why can’t a tree be called Pluplusch, and Pluplubasch when it has been raining? The word, the word, the word outside your domain, your stuffiness, this laughable impotence, your stupendous smugness, outside all the parrotry of your self-evident limitedness. The word, gentlemen, is a public concern of the first importance.”

From the Dada manifesto
https://www.wired.com/beyond-the-beyond ... july-2016/

marjoram_blues
Posts: 1630
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:50 pm

Re: What is poetry?

Post by marjoram_blues » Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:22 pm

Thanks Walker for reviving this thread. I had quite forgotten about it - so much has happened...
I will take time to re-read...and enjoy this latest post - looks fascinating.
Later...

User avatar
Harbal
Posts: 3885
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:03 pm
Location: Yorkshire
Contact:

Re: What is poetry?

Post by Harbal » Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:07 pm

Walker wrote: Why can’t a tree be called Pluplusch,
Because then we would have to think of another name for a Pluplusch, and so it would go on. Far better to leave things as they are.

Walker
Posts: 4776
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:00 am

Re: What is poetry?

Post by Walker » Sun Feb 12, 2017 4:40 am

Harbal wrote:
Walker wrote: Why can’t a tree be called Pluplusch,
Because then we would have to think of another name for a Pluplusch, and so it would go on. Far better to leave things as they are.
:lol:

marjoram_blues
Posts: 1630
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:50 pm

Re: What is poetry?

Post by marjoram_blues » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:57 am

Walker wrote:
marjoram_blues wrote: What is the objective of producing poetry?
The Dada manifesto was written during WWI.
It is an artistic response to the insane status quo of the time that was causing trouble.
The aftermath of the war was the jazz age seeking life and not death in experience.
History repeats, micro and macro.
The timeline since the manifesto: war, prosperity, hard times, escapism, war, prosperity ... revolution, escapism (drugs), hard times, prosperity, perpetual war ...

However to the thread point: poetry is an artistic response to say the most with the least, because words are just words.

*

“A line of poetry is a chance to get rid of all the filth that clings to this accursed language, as if put there by stockbrokers’ hands, hands worn smooth by coins. I want the word where it ends and begins. Dada is the heart of words.

“Each thing has its word, but the word has become a thing by itself. Why shouldn’t I find it? Why can’t a tree be called Pluplusch, and Pluplubasch when it has been raining? The word, the word, the word outside your domain, your stuffiness, this laughable impotence, your stupendous smugness, outside all the parrotry of your self-evident limitedness. The word, gentlemen, is a public concern of the first importance.”

From the Dada manifesto
https://www.wired.com/beyond-the-beyond ... july-2016/
What nonsense is incorporated into this self-indulgent movement.
'Dada is the heart of words...why can't a tree be called Pluplusch...the word, gentlemen, is a public concern of the first importance'.

It is not language that is 'accursed', and if there is 'filth that clings' to it, then a line of poetry will not cleanse it.Especially if it can't be understood.

Have you tried the online Dada poem generator? La Salle University.
Instructions on how to make a Dadaist poem...

'Take a newspaper... scissors...cut out article... cut out each word..., put them in a bag, shake gently, take out each cutting one after the other, copy conscientiously the order in which they come out the bag. The poem will resemble you. And there you are - an infinitely original author of charming sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd' - Tristan Tzara, 1920.

And no, words are not just words. That is the whole point.
Last edited by marjoram_blues on Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

marjoram_blues
Posts: 1630
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:50 pm

Re: What is poetry?

Post by marjoram_blues » Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:04 am

marjoram_blues wrote:Perhaps it might help any new readers if I put this thread into perspective. In a way it was to attempt to answer some questions which arose in another thread:
Questioning poetic philosophers or philosophical poets
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=19029
Where I started off being wow'd by the accessibility of poets via webchat.

So, this discussion of poetry, what it is, etc. is a relatively new area of interest for me to explore.
The subject of poetry seems to be more in the public eye. Or, at least, it has caught my attention. For example, another Guardian article ( 11th May) ' Poetry is a perfect form to challenge human rights abuses' - Shami Chakrabarti.
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/m ... hakrabarti

An excerpt:
' The poetry of witness has long compensated for censored or corrupted news media when truth must be spoken to power - think of Alfred Tennyson's 'Charge of the Light Brigade' or Wilfred Owen's 'Anthem for Doomed Youth'...the civil rights poetry and activism of Langston Hughes are completely inseparable.

WH Auden was surely as much a man of witness and as great verse...

* 'Refugee Blues' should be shaming of the powerful today as when it was written in 1939 ( ''Say this city has ten million souls,/ Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:/ Yet there's no place for us, my dear, yet there's no place for us'').
...
Human rights are under threat...this challenge creates a new opportunity and purpose for poetry, for it is this medium above all others that so connects our inner and outer voices; both a quiet conscience and a call to arms.'

Worth looking at again - if only for the link to the other thread...
And...*Refugee Blues.

marjoram_blues
Posts: 1630
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:50 pm

Re: What is poetry?

Post by marjoram_blues » Sun Feb 12, 2017 7:33 pm

Robert Pinsky in wikipedia:

Poetry is a vocal art.
Reading to oneself or recalling some lines by memory.

The poetry he loves is written with someone's voice...its culmination is to be read with someone's voice.

*

I have been listening to the poem 'Forgetfulness' by Billy Collins - in poetry foundation.org.
It's hilarious, and poignant, as introduced and read out loud to an appreciative audience.

I would agree with Pinsky that it is the actual living breath that counts. In producing the reader's own rhythm and musicality.

Given recent advice to try and memorise a line (or complete poem) as a short-cut - to focus the mind down to a trickle - I will read aloud 'Forgetfulness' a few times.

Perhaps,this medicine will bring a welcome side-effect...and stave off dementia ?
I used to learn so many things off by heart - until rote became a naughty word.
Still, understanding comes first before you can remember and recite a poem mindfully.
No parrot squawks required.

Oh, and thanks to Walker for the introductions.

Walker
Posts: 4776
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:00 am

Re: What is poetry?

Post by Walker » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:37 am

marjoram_blues wrote:What nonsense is incorporated into this self-indulgent movement.
Nonsense is relative.

Not so much self-indulgent. More, reactionary. Reacting to an insane world. It was a generation of crushed youth.

Q: After all, what was the acceptable alternative to insanity?
A: Self-sacrifice, profiteering from death, or the peaceful path of Babbitt.
To the Dadaists, these paths were loony.

Walker
Posts: 4776
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:00 am

Re: What is poetry?

Post by Walker » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:51 am

marjoram_blues wrote:and stave off dementia
If possible, walking is one of the best things one can do for that.

If not, some cardio for circulation.

Check out the googles.
Last edited by Walker on Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests