Let's talk about feelings
#1
The average semi professional poet today is better at his craft than Shakespeare, if only because he has access to everything that Shakespeare knew, and what came after. It is no different than the average elite runner being able to break the 4 minute mile today, or the average mathematician today being better at solving any problem than Carl Gauss.
Yet, a lot of modern poetry leaves very little impression on you. There is a sense of repetition, of derivation, a lack of having new things to say, and nearly all poetry in English is just first world problems packaged as ennui. Does anyone else feel this way?
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#2
(01-09-2020, 03:08 PM)busker Wrote:  The average semi professional poet today is better at his craft than Shakespeare, if only because he has access to everything that Shakespeare knew, and what came after. It is no different than the average elite runner being able to break the 4 minute mile today, or the average mathematician today being better at solving any problem than Carl Gauss.
Yet, a lot of modern poetry leaves very little impression on you. There is a sense of repetition, of derivation, a lack of having new things to say, and nearly all poetry in English is just first world problems packaged as ennui. Does anyone else feel this way?

I do feel that there is a lack of new things being said, but I do not believe that this is a new or recent development.  I am not sure that anything new has been stated by humans for thousands of years.  The human experience is trite and common.  Unique or new to me does not equate to actually being unique and new.  I will read tens of thousands of poems in my life.  The vast majority of those with touch on topics already discussed by the others; probably in a manner already done. That is true whether I am reading ancient, classical, modern, even surreal poetry.  Notwithstanding, let us say that out of every thing I read there is one that is utterly different in subject, tone, and mode.  Am I suppose to be foolish enough to think that out of the tens or hundreds of billions of poems compiled throughout human existence there is not at least one more similar to it?  The minuscule sample size that my life will afford me is not sufficient to claim that any anomaly I encounter is not an anomaly already encountered by a multitude of people a multitude of times.  Doing something different from what we know or how we know how to do it is incredibly valuable for expanding our experiences, but to delude ourselves into believing it is new is dangerous.  I am not sure that the goal should be to do something new, but to do whatever it is we decide to do, well.  After which we should strive to improve upon that effort, and that does entail us attempting the unfamiliar.  Shakespeare did not do anything new.  He discussed famous classical literature that a significant portion of the learned population already knew. He adopted poetical forms that had already been in use in a myriad of other cultures. His glory rests on the fact that he executed it well, not that it was novel.  Yes, he took those already used elements and adapted them.  His superb adaption merely a result of an aggregation of his vast human experience.  If we take something that has already been done (which I contend is the only thing we are capable of), and do it well, and then adapt it to our experiences it cannot be a carbon copy of what came before.  But, that does not mean that it is anything novel.  I could go on about the first world problem poems, but I believe one derivative treatise is enough for now.
Joshua J. Smith
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#3
The poets are well-protected, they study the critics, and have a defense for all criticisms; that's called Second Best judo. And they cultivate a quality called Genuine Modesty. If they get angry, they tell you up front, instead of lashing to one side and another. If you killed their children, they'd write poetry about it. Poets are only desperados and lonegunmen in the movies.

Poets rely too heavily on devastating last lines that make middle-aged women sigh with momentary awe on camera. They write about situations of the moment like antiacademic poets, without the burden of being antiacademic, and wrap rape and third world famine in the security of their grandfather's sweater. It used to be their father, but people are living longer. The poets want to be approved of, and so run their poems through workshop environments, since every other poet in the world can't be wrong. And the poets' poems are useful. Socially, businessy, emotionally. They seek a Path of Usefulness, and find it. That path. That's the trouble you mention. You don't care for that path. At least not at the moment.

And by lashing to one side and another, I mean spiteful nonsense. The poets want to be clear and acceptable. The poets are on mood stabilizers or however you spell it. They don't want to be convicted or accused of nonsense or spite. And mostly not spiteful nonsense. The poets want to get by on their merit, not their character. And they have access to merit. They don't have the gall to create a system, though some do. They think of the earth. Many are well-fed and experience satisfactory coitus, as the frenchman said. These are all things about the poets.
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#4
(01-09-2020, 03:08 PM)busker Wrote:  The average semi professional poet today is better at his craft than Shakespeare, if only because he has access to everything that Shakespeare knew, and what came after. It is no different than the average elite runner being able to break the 4 minute mile today, or the average mathematician today being better at solving any problem than Carl Gauss.
Yet, a lot of modern poetry leaves very little impression on you. There is a sense of repetition, of derivation, a lack of having new things to say, and nearly all poetry in English is just first world problems packaged as ennui. Does anyone else feel this way?

Man, I come to this board to get away from Gauss, and you bring him here?

Poetry, or perhaps, poetry, is an Art, or maybe just an art, which makes it entirely useless, in my opinion. Modern poetry, that of the semi professionals, at least, doesn't come across as derivative to me, nor does it feel to be a repetition of prior poets. Occasionally, some poems even feel like they are almost novel ideas, but I don't particularly read poetry because I'm looking for novel ideas about life, psyche, or romance. I leave novel ideas to the philosophers, which a poet can be from time to time, though philosophy is not his job.

We have this thing that people like to call the human experience, which refers to the common thoughts, experiences, and feelings of typically developed humans. When someone writes a poem, they will usually include elements of their individual experience and the human experience. Doing so allows the poem to be both personal and readable by the public. Without writing about the human experience, a poem will be completely foreign to almost all others who try to understand it.

I'm not sure I'm really explaining this the way I'd like to, so here's the short version: poetry isn't meant to be novel, that's what philosophy is for. Poetry is just an Art, and Art is just the blueprint of useless machine.
If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room.

"Or, if a poet writes a poem, then immediately commits suicide (as any decent poet should)..." -- Erthona
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#5
The salient phrase in this thread seems to be "semi-professional poet."  I would define such a person as one who is published, or wishes to be, while not making a living off it.  A professional poet would be one who actually lives off his poetic craft, i.e. the Poet Laureate or an advertising copywriter.  The rest are amateurs.  Which is not to say the amateurs' work is worse, just that you'll never see it in public.

And the key to that definition is publication.  It used to be that publication was a specific thing:  ink on paper with an ISBN or Library of Congress number, periodicals iffy at best.  Now publication is any damn thing the NSA can hoover up - except that real publication is still ink on paper, and there's no getting around it.  That is our modern dilemma:  the Net has vaporized little magazines, and self-publication is no longer the realm of swindlers, it's become trivial.

Now as to feelings.  For whom do you write?  As a semi- or aspiring professional, do you write for editors or (being honest) for yourself with a side of imaginary audience?  If you were serious, you'd have an agent; there has to be one real person, even if you're paying him, to escape the bubble of solipsism.  An interface with the world. A guy who knows people (which, being a poet, you don't).

Of course writing for others is limiting:  their feelings become yours as you work to interest, offend, or avoid offending them.  But the big payoff (since we're not professionals able to count dollar votes) is seeing the tears in their eyes or the knives in their hands.  That's when feelings get real.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not an anti-semi-ite.  I write what I feel, and/or to make you feel... something.  And I believe, without any real evidence, in your existence (and feelings).
feedback award Non-practicing atheist
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#6
I am a former professional wrestler. Between the years 1998 and 2001, I was what I now refer to as a poet. Poetry in motion is what I think Matt and Jeff Hardy copyrighted, or at least said or had somebody say, or somebody said. . . . I do know what I did last summer. Do you?

To write poetry that somebody gets, they have to get it. . . .

If you want lots of people to get your poetry. . . . . . . . . You have to write what lots of people can get and relate to, . . you dig . ?

The rules. Ha. Ha. Ha ha. You have to have a sense of humor. . . . I don't have a sense of humor. You dig? . . . I pretend like I do. And that's poetry. You dig? . . . I mean, can you manifest, in detail? . . . . I'm talkin about feelins. I ain talking about poetry per se. Where's billy? Where's billy to say what I'm sayin right andor wrong. I don't have this phone much longer. Let's talk poetry b-4 I die, if I do; and not some yin about some profess-sess, when we got yang 2 spare. I mean, to spare. Not some hip hive. jive. . . . My mother's name was Jive. And she waS 15. Fifteen. So shame on you, Daddy. Shit.

Craft has to stay. But, like I said before: poetry is more important than skill. You can be poetry or be skill; but you might as well be poetry and minor, than skill without poetry. What is a minor poet? . . . My ex wife said: ''You aint never goin to wind up nothin but a minor poet.''

What's the difference between a Minor and a Major poet? . . . There are few Major poetry sites online. And this is one of them. . . . The bored professionals go online, and they come to this. There aren't that many if you look into it. . . . So, if the poets care about us minor leagues: Hey, baby, you listening,? I'm coming for you. If you're one of them sexy ones like Hannah Gamble, I'm cummin for you every once in a while. . . . The poets? Fuck the poets. I'd fuck any poet that looked as good as . . . . We're all losers. Poetry is to win. Let's win, in words . . , at all cost. Be it integrety.

Fuck integrity. That don't mean shit to me. In 2020, I might write a good poem. Do I need integrity to do THAT?

Fuck no. I might do that shit on random.
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#7
It is no different than the average elite runner

isn't the above a bit of a misnomer, you're either elite or you're average. and average runner would not break the 4 minute mile. a good poet is a good poet no matter the era. there may be more poets now than then but that's only because more of us have an education of sorts and there are more of us. lot's more than back then. most modern poetry leaves an impression on us because most modern poetry is shite at best. if we have 100 good to reasonable poems on our site, i'd say we're a good site for poetry. poems are like gemstones. they litter our world but most of them are flawed. Shakespeare was the craft along with a few others. since then in each generation there have been subsequent Shakespeare's that set the pace for good poetry. when it comes to creating art; good art, knowledge is only a small part of the composition. knowing how something is made and making something are two different animals. then we have those who only think they have the knowledge to make things.
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#8
Contemporary poetry. Modern poetry is something else. Pre1950 poets have copyright on 'Modern'. . . . I don't know though. Is it still a competition? Or a wanting to get over? . . . Nowadays you have to write poetry for the whole planet; or do you? Have to convert to Islam for a week to understand Rumi and make a righteous allusion. Or learn spanish to read so and so.
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#9
On the basis of some of the responses - my reference to Shakespeare was illustrative of the point that the average semi-professional poet (by that I mean someone who publishes poetry in reputed journals, but does not make a living out of poetry) is very competent today, but very little of contemporary poetry is inspiring. All the inspirational bits seem to have gone out with the death of religious and spiritual poetry at the turn of the century.
Hopkins mentions the difference between inspired and Parnassian (competent but not inspired). I find a lot of contemporary poetry to be Parnassian. Everyone just sits around making "wow" observations, finding the perfect word for the perfect line, but ultimately drawing the most lifelike sketch of a duffel bag. At least, that's how I feel on reading it, and wanted to see if others felt the same way.
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#10
There is spirit. The golden ball beyond the sun, at the end of one of my poems in In the Deep Woods. I seek that, the seeking is part of it. Runa. The poets are making it easy for another William Blake or D. H. Lawrence to come along by being so modest in their proposals. It's a good time for poetry, writing it anyway. A great poem makes you believe in strange things. That is the joy of writing. Investigating strange things in and around the woods. The Riddle, Va branch of the Bookhouse Boys. Who wants to be a Bookhouse Boy with me? We accept girls. Even married ones.
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#11
(01-12-2020, 07:38 AM)busker Wrote:  Hopkins mentions the difference between inspired and Parnassian (competent but not inspired). I find a lot of contemporary poetry to be Parnassian. Everyone just sits around making "wow" observations, finding the perfect word for the perfect line, but ultimately drawing the most lifelike sketch of a duffel bag. At least, that's how I feel on reading it, and wanted to see if others felt the same way.

And here is my problem with virtually all the poems I write: I am never inspired. I've not found anything to inspire. Nothing breathes life into my writing.

I don't think I've ever been inspired, at least, in a way that's opposite of being expired. Perhaps it is simply my apathy. Or perhaps too much is known by too many, that finding anything truly inspiring is actually quite difficult.
If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room.

"Or, if a poet writes a poem, then immediately commits suicide (as any decent poet should)..." -- Erthona
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#12
I'll tell you the way, Useless. There are three steps: absorb, digest, improvise. And keep silence. Though you can say whatever you want. The first importance is you. You can't get away from that personal, that's the target in you. Write that first. Everything has to come from you. The wronger you are the more novel you are. You got that wrong going for you. Now make it witchy. Put all that's what's of you into the skill and the craft and the tradition, put you right there in it. And don't apologize. And don't show no respect for anything, and use that tradition shamelessly. Magpiety. You dig?

Just force it. There aint no crime against playing force on no imagination.

William Blake say Christ is Imagination. The anointed one. Wallace Stevens had said God and the imagination are one. One not even one. . . . Write about a tent out in the yard when you was a kid. Put all the smells and musical sounds in it. Make sense, don't make sense. Create it. . . That's all a poet is to do. . . .

If you are never inspired, you wouldn't be here. You wouldn't need to write. Your apathy is inspiration, else you wouldnt be here. There wouldnt be any poetry in your life and you'd be on another site. Philosophy or psychology or physics or something. You wouldn't have posted if you didn't have inspiration. And if you don't have anything to say, it's no loss to you if you have no inspiration to write. Else just write. Write in spite and despite.
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#13
(01-12-2020, 07:38 AM)busker Wrote:  Hopkins mentions the difference between inspired and Parnassian (competent but not inspired). I find a lot of contemporary poetry to be Parnassian. Everyone just sits around making "wow" observations, finding the perfect word for the perfect line, but ultimately drawing the most lifelike sketch of a duffel bag. At least, that's how I feel on reading it, and wanted to see if others felt the same way.

I do feel that way.  So much of the contemporary poetry I read is vastly different from the poems that endeared me to poetry.  I find a lack of substance, passion, and even beauty.  Some of the poetry may have elements of beauty, but by and large I feel there is no genuine passion or actual substance.  With all of the competent poets in the world today there has to be some that incorporate those elements into their writing.  I just struggle to find them.
Joshua J. Smith
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