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Full Version: The difference between abstract poetry and writing with abstractions
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"But it's meant to be abstract!" you cry, haughtily deriding the critics who demands something concrete by which to grasp your poem. Such Philistines! How dare they ask for a clue as if your poem is a cypher to be unravelled by the unimaginative? Some of the greatest poetry throughout history has been abstract, just like yours...

... actually, nothing like yours. Abstract poetry hints at meaning through imagery, sound, word texture, rhythm etc, but it has a cohesive thread that builds an emotive response in the reader. A poem may use concrete images yet still be abstract, just as a painting might.

What most beginners (and I mean people who haven't been writing seriously, with attention to editing, for more than a few months) write are poems filled with vague ideas or abstractions like love, hate, good, evil, success, failure, pain, happiness... those are all important concepts in poetry, but they have no fixed meaning and impart very little (if anything at all) to the reader. It's all very well to say that the reader should make his/her own meaning, but there needs to be something to build on other than random guesses. Poetry, like all art, needs some form of context.

An incredibly talented painter could create a wonderfully-wrought landscape with trees and flowers and hills and streams that anyone in the world could interpret as being in their own area... because it could be anywhere, and it wouldn't be a masterpiece, it would be sold at a thrift shop.

Please don't write thrift shop poetry. The world has enough of it already.

rowens

Some people want to write poetry to express their feelings. And feelings are always abstract. A poem of expressed feelings is a poem. Using words that only conjure vague abstract ideas is still using words. Anyone can do it. There's nothing wrong with doing it. Anyone can write a poem, and every poem is a poem, and everyone that writes a poem is a poet. The worst poems are still poems, the worst poets are still poets, some of the best poets are dull. Their poems are dull. I can tear poems apart all day, it doesn't help me or the poet. Bad poems are everywhere. The best that a poet can do is rarely good enough. There are not many great poets, just a bunch or good ones and a bunch more of bad ones. Abstract or concrete words and ideas, a poet can use any words or ideas they need to or want to. Abstractions are no better or worse than anything else. Great poetry is rare, concrete images or not

Or to say it more simply: If you can't write worth a shit, nothing you write will work, whether you claim it's supposed to be abstract or whatever. An abstract poem that makes no sense can be a great poem if you can write. If you can't write, no one will like it; you'll doubt it yourself, or you'll be full of confidence about it. It doesn't matter. Poems come alive or they don't. A great poet can make a poem come alive on a whim. But most popular poets aren't even that good.
(07-14-2014, 05:39 AM)rowens Wrote: [ -> ]If you can't write worth a shit, nothing you write will work, whether you claim it's supposed to be abstract or whatever.
Hysterical ah, Rowen, you are the man.

rowens

I don't know if you're making fun of me or agreeing with me. But I like the attention.
I'm agreeing with you. I know that may come as a surprise.

PS. Nice tits.

rowens

I meant I like feminine attention. So male posters need not agree with me. In fact they shouldn't. That would make me feel funny.


Bells of gray crystal - Edith Sitwell

Bells of gray crystal
Break on each bough--
The swans' breath will mist all
The cold airs now.
Like tall pagodas
Two people go,
Trail their long codas
Of talk through the snow.
Lonely are these
And lonely and I ....
The clouds, gray Chinese geese
Sleek through the sky.


Dame Edith was a class act -- an artist to the core, and absolutely devoted to perfecting her technique. Though fairly abstract, this has enough linked parts to build an entire picture. Beautiful.
(07-14-2014, 04:44 PM)Leanne Wrote: [ -> ]Dame Edith was a class act -- an artist to the core, and absolutely devoted to perfecting her technique. Though fairly abstract, this has enough linked parts to build an entire picture. Beautiful.

She's one I (humbly) try to imitate. She called them 'abstract poems'.
But 'abstract', as she used it, meant 'montage' (like those whirling newspapers
with progressing dates in the movies that denote the passage of time).
Her words aren't on the page, they are in your head. It is there that they to produce
the image; and, more often than not, a cohesive (pun?) narrative.
(07-14-2014, 04:44 PM)Leanne Wrote: [ -> ]Dame Edith was a class act -- an artist to the core, and absolutely devoted to perfecting her technique. Though fairly abstract, this has enough linked parts to build an entire picture. Beautiful.

"codas" is the only abstraction I see.
No abstractions, but an abstract poem. Although it's not entirely, more impressionist if you like. That's why we're talking about the difference between the two words/ concepts Smile
(07-15-2014, 11:03 AM)Leanne Wrote: [ -> ]No abstractions, but an abstract poem. Although it's not entirely, more impressionist if you like. That's why we're talking about the difference between the two words/ concepts Smile

Yah. My point if you will.
Unlike other folk, who seem to think that "abstract" means "deliberately obscure"...
(07-15-2014, 06:52 AM)milo Wrote: [ -> ]
(07-14-2014, 04:44 PM)Leanne Wrote: [ -> ]Dame Edith was a class act -- an artist to the core, and absolutely devoted to perfecting her technique. Though fairly abstract, this has enough linked parts to build an entire picture. Beautiful.
"codas" is the only abstraction I see.

Codas are bearlike arboreal Australian marsupials that have thick gray fur
and feed on eucalyptus leaves; and, while they might seem a bit abstracted at times,
are perfectly capable (should meet with their dislike) of taking off a finger or two.