Old 11-27-2009, 05:48 PM   #26
PandoraGlitters
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Originally Posted by bflagsst View Post
I think Dylan Thomas, my favorite, is a good example of a simple message told in layers of simple to complex metaphor. He usually doesn't venture that far into the surreal, and he has more clear as day themes in his poetry than most people give him credit for.

"And these poor nerves so wired to the skull
Ache on the lovelorn paper
I hug to love with my unruly scrawl
That utters all love hunger
And tells the page the empty ill."

Billy Collins is kind of the anti-Dylan Thomas, he's really defending his own poetry with his first line thesis. Both are interested in the common person understanding their poetry, but Dylan wants to challenge the average Joe, seems like Billy just wants to tell them a story make them laugh or cry like a performer on stage. I like many Billy poems, but the first line only has to be great so far as it makes the reader want to continue exploring the poem, sometimes you can only accept the first line after reading the entire poem and everything falls into place.
I love Dylan Thomas. As for Collins defending his poetry, he did disclaim that he could only really speak to how to make poetry the way he makes it (at least in the parameters of that discussion). What to make, then, of surrealists? Can't a surrealist poet also speak to the average reader? Simon Armitage for example?
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Old 11-27-2009, 06:02 PM   #27
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I love Dylan Thomas. As for Collins defending his poetry, he did disclaim that he could only really speak to how to make poetry the way he makes it (at least in the parameters of that discussion). What to make, then, of surrealists? Can't a surrealist poet also speak to the average reader? Simon Armitage for example?
Surrealism is one of my favorite areas. I love surrealist love/erotic poems, because the message still seems clear even when the language is wonky. Joyce Mansour, French Surrealists, et al. Surrealism is about describing how irrational emotions are, expressing something as irrational as an orgasm and how you feel about your partner in that moment. If someone says, "I fell from your sweating, stinking mass/fell beside you/died beside you inside a rabbit's rotting tooth, content" The rabbit's rotting tooth almost makes sense even though as a metaphor it's empty. I was paraphrasing Maria Martins I think. Post a fantastic Simon poem and maybe we can go over why it still makes sense by purposely stepping outside of rational sense and traditional descriptions of sense experience. Surrealism always wanders about the Alice in Wonderland childishness we retain as adults in adult relationships. Silliness makes sense to children when it's done right.
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Old 11-27-2009, 06:40 PM   #28
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A Vision
The future was a beautiful place, once.
Remember the full-blown balsa-wood town
on public display in the Civic Hall.
The ring-bound sketches, artists’ impressions,
blueprints of smoked glass and tubular steel,
board-game suburbs, modes of transportation
like fairground rides or executive toys.
Cities like dreams, cantilevered by light.
And people like us at the bottle-bank
next to the cycle-path, or dog-walking
over tended strips of fuzzy-felt grass,
or motoring home in electric cars,
model drivers. Or after the late show -
strolling the boulevard. They were the plans,
all underwritten in the neat left-hand
of architects - a true, legible script.
I pulled that future out of the north wind
at the landfill site, stamped with today’s date,
riding the air with other such futures,
all unlived in and now fully extinct.

Taken from Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid

I couldn't find The Christening, but I found this. Not damn bad, eh?
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Old 11-27-2009, 07:41 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by PandoraGlitters View Post
A Vision
The future was a beautiful place, once.
Remember the full-blown balsa-wood town
on public display in the Civic Hall.
The ring-bound sketches, artists’ impressions,
blueprints of smoked glass and tubular steel,
board-game suburbs, modes of transportation
like fairground rides or executive toys.
Cities like dreams, cantilevered by light.
And people like us at the bottle-bank
next to the cycle-path, or dog-walking
over tended strips of fuzzy-felt grass,
or motoring home in electric cars,
model drivers. Or after the late show -
strolling the boulevard. They were the plans,
all underwritten in the neat left-hand
of architects - a true, legible script.
I pulled that future out of the north wind
at the landfill site, stamped with today’s date,
riding the air with other such futures,
all unlived in and now fully extinct.

Taken from Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid

I couldn't find The Christening, but I found this. Not damn bad, eh?
"neat left-hand of architects" is really the only bit I don't follow. Good poem, it seems pretty straightforward for a surrealist poem, don't know that I'd immediately classify it as one. "board-game suburbs" is more of a surreal image because I think it's a hybrid of two common metaphors.

When I think of surrealism I think more of something like:

My grandmother's corpse
talks in the fresh air
with the long-lashed owl
and winter's impassive sky.
My grandfather sits in wake for his wife
my mother picks in his tears
my father sucks his feet
and I drown my lice
all naked in the river.

Which isn't necessarily a great or even a good poem, but it's more of the free association that might mean something, or might just be gobblygook. I'm more in favor of the surrealism you posted above, where you can follow the story.
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Old 11-27-2009, 10:03 PM   #30
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One thing I try to keep in mind is Archibald MacLeish statement:
A poem should not mean but be,
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Old 11-28-2009, 04:20 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by EroticOrogeny View Post
One thing I try to keep in mind is Archibald MacLeish statement:
A poem should not mean but be,
MacLeish was a librarian, he knows about Dewey Decimal System and the early years of microfiche. Somehow he won a bunch of poetry awards. Modernism is probably as surreal as the genre 'surrealist'. TS Eliot, Ezra, especially EE Cumm seemed like they wanted to say some things but weren't very clear about what they were saying most of the time. Poets haven't been very good at describing poems over the course of poetry, specifically good poems. I couldn't really describe a good poem. I don't like most poems I read, and don't really like most poems I write. I'm just a negative creep.

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Old 11-28-2009, 04:30 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by lorencino View Post
...
sparks begin to take, the splutter
calms to a bright, steady light
of pleasing sensation, of minds
engaged to accumulate, to aggregate,
to craft understanding.

...
yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharleyH View Post
I am not so much concerned with rhymes or absurdities (love Edward Lear, though). A good poem is symbolically moving first to me (which can include the form, but not necessarily a formal one), emotionally moving second and lyrically moving third, at least for me.
symbolically first. hmm - now that in itself begs another question about us all here: when we're talking about HOW a poem reaches us, what's your order of precedence? Sybolism first -that has me wondering. Does the answer to that question say more about us as readers than the author of the text we're reading?

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Originally Posted by bflagsst View Post
"I fell from your sweating, stinking mass/fell beside you/died beside you inside a rabbit's rotting tooth, content" The rabbit's rotting tooth almost makes sense even though as a metaphor it's empty.
why does it make so much sense?why can our minds go to that place?
... Silliness makes sense to children when it's done right.
my inner child agrees

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Originally Posted by PandoraGlitters View Post
A Vision
....
The ring-bound sketches, artists’ impressions,
blueprints of smoked glass and tubular steel,
board-game suburbs, modes of transportation
like fairground rides or executive toys.
Cities like dreams, cantilevered by light.
...

They were the plans,
all underwritten in the neat left-hand
of architects - a true, legible script.
I pulled that future out of the north wind
at the landfill site, stamped with today’s date,
riding the air with other such futures,
all unlived in and now fully extinct.

Taken from Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid

I couldn't find The Christening, but I found this. Not damn bad, eh?
the lines here strike me most with their imagery AND language combined. Of all the phrases, cantilevered by light makes me take the most notice - it sings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bflagsst View Post
"neat left-hand of architects" is really the only bit I don't follow.
The right side of the brain is supposed to be the source of creativity and controls the left side of the body - or something, and left-handed people are thought to often be more intelligent than righties. So while we might think of architects as very linear, controlled, restricted even, these plans are flights of imagination signed off in a hand we are naturally inclined to trust for sense and planning things out with care. At least, that's what it says to me.

When I think of surrealism I think more of something like:

My grandmother's corpse
talks in the fresh air
with the long-lashed owl
and winter's impassive sky.
My grandfather sits in wake for his wife
my mother picks in his tears
my father sucks his feet
and I drown my lice
all naked in the river.

Which isn't necessarily a great or even a good poem, but it's more of the free association that might mean something, or might just be gobblygook. I'm more in favor of the surrealism you posted above, where you can follow the story.
ah, but doesn't that poem take your minds all manner of places, like a spirit unleashed from the body making parameters meaningless?


Quote:
Originally Posted by EroticOrogeny View Post
One thing I try to keep in mind is Archibald MacLeish statement:
A poem should not mean but be,
I love this quote!





okay, gotta run.
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Old 11-29-2009, 11:57 AM   #33
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Good poetry should have the potential of getting you laid, slapped or both if you are into that sort of thing...
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:06 PM   #34
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Good poetry should have the potential of getting you laid, slapped or both if you are into that sort of thing...
well ... let us say I've had some offers to f*ck my brains out after people have read things by me, lol

how much that was due with my word skills I don't rightly know
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:16 PM   #35
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well ... let us say I've had some offers to f*ck my brains out after people have read things by me, lol

how much that was due with my word skills I don't rightly know
It's got more to do with where the bunny sits I expect.
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:18 PM   #36
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It's got more to do with where the bunny sits I expect.
you could be right




but you might have stroked my ego and told me it was my brilliant way with words





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Old 11-29-2009, 12:26 PM   #37
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These faces get these arses.

Which is bad poetry if you think about it...

eta: I must return to my assignments. Gawd, Lit poets can be so distracting... Have a good day!
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:30 PM   #38
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These faces get these arses.

Which is bad poetry if you think about it...

eta: I must return to my assignments. Gawd, Lit poets can be so distracting... Have a good day!
*blows raspberries*

you too
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Old 11-29-2009, 02:43 PM   #39
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Tits get you noticed. Soul gets you remembered.
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Old 11-29-2009, 03:52 PM   #40
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*grinning at Foolio*
Seriously for a moment - I think honesty makes a poem memorable if not good. Thoughtfulness too - that's why those "erotic" poems tossed out there in heat of horniness with too little depth are so awful IMO.
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:14 PM   #41
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symbolically first. hmm - now that in itself begs another question about us all here: when we're talking about HOW a poem reaches us, what's your order of precedence? Sybolism first -that has me wondering. Does the answer to that question say more about us as readers than the author of the text we're reading?
Obviously. It says I love poets who use semiotics. Poetry isn't so much a linear story in my POV as it is an emotional one, and emotions are never linear. More than any other form, poetry speaks symbolically.
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Old 11-30-2009, 06:59 PM   #42
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Is confusion evidence of linearity?

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Obviously. It says I love poets who use semiotics. Poetry isn't so much a linear story in my POV as it is an emotional one, and emotions are never linear. More than any other form, poetry speaks symbolically.
I'm trying to understand this statement (being an unrepentant linear person, if a web can be described as a complex multi-linear dynamic arrangement) and wondering if the implication is that symbolism addresses most directly the emotional rather than the intellectual aspect of the reader.

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Old 12-01-2009, 05:53 AM   #43
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If I like it, it's either good as it is or has the potential to be made better. There needs to be some idea or theme driving it, it needs to not be cliched or clumsy in the word choice and (usually) there's a natural rhythm when I read it that moves me along through the piece.
I mostly agree with Angeline and I won't repeat what many others have said except that you don't have to like a poem for it to be good. Lauren Hynde for example can be a very irritating poet for me and I don't necessarily like her work. But I am attracted to it and get involved with it. I guess that a poem that can anger or irritate has achieved just as much as one that gives pleasure. The most successful poems for me are the ones that stretch me, my mind, emotions, intellect.

I guess that is what I mean by engagement.
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:02 PM   #44
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:45 PM   #45
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I mostly agree with Angreline and I won't repeat what many others have said except that you don't have to like a poem for it to be good. Lauren Hynde for example can be a very irritating poet for me and I don't necessarily like her work. But I am attracted to it and get involved with it. I guess that a poem that can anger or irritate has achieved just as much as one that gives pleasure. The most successful poems for me are the ones that stretch me, my mind, emotions, intellect.

I guess that is what I mean by engagement.
this is also very true.

we need to be able to accept that while we might not like it, others may and that they'll then consider it 'good'. same goes for any artform. just look at the readership that fossil Barbara Cartland enjoyed. But good in that way is purely subjective and poetry can be well-crafted, imaginitive, passionate even and still not stir us individually because of subject matter. that's when we need to look at the work objectively.

And still, as individuals, we will only consider a piece truly good if we're making that connection with it.
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Old 12-02-2009, 10:56 AM   #46
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this is also very true.

we need to be able to accept that while we might not like it, others may and that they'll then consider it 'good'. same goes for any artform. just look at the readership that fossil Barbara Cartland enjoyed. But good in that way is purely subjective and poetry can be well-crafted, imaginitive, passionate even and still not stir us individually because of subject matter. that's when we need to look at the work objectively.

And still, as individuals, we will only consider a piece truly good if we're making that connection with it.
Wow, Barbara Cartland. My gf found a copy of Barbara's album of love songs in her mom's antique store. We listened to it for days and rolled around on the floor laughing. I didn't even know she was a writer until just now.

Trying to write a poem that's going to stretch someone's intellect is a stretch. There's not enough information space in a poem, it'll come out sounding superficial or too obscure to enjoy. You can enjoy or value a poem because it makes you mad, happy, makes you think about things, but I don't see poems that are challenging my notions of space, time, or religion or something.

Disliking a poem or poet and still recognizing them as good makes no sense to me. Maybe you dislike the feelings they illicit in you, and you can recognize them as a good poet because they illicit those feelings even though you don't like the experience. But in aesthetics it doesn't really matter that the emotion was positive or negative, it just matters that the form made you feel something different from disinterest or boredom.

But what's it matter if I recognize someone's art as 'objectively' good? I'm just recognizing that other people enjoy an aesthetic that maybe I do or don't. Can I value an aesthetic that I don't experience in the same way as everyone else, just because other people may experience it in a 'valuable' way?

Lorencino said, "...symbolism addresses most directly the emotional rather than the intellectual aspect of the reader". Which I agree with, in poetry symbolism addresses emotion. Trying to stretch someone's intellect in poetry is wrongheaded, like trying to squeeze blood out of a plant. In poems(maybe all art) you stretch emotion, maybe you want to make people angry, maybe you want them to feel warm and fuzzy.

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Old 12-02-2009, 01:51 PM   #47
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Not to put to fine a point on it

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Wow, Barbara Cartland.

Disliking a poem or poet and still recognizing them as good makes no sense to me. Maybe you dislike the feelings they illicit in you, and you can recognize them as a good poet because they illicit those feelings even though you don't like the experience. But in aesthetics it doesn't really matter that the emotion was positive or negative, it just matters that the form made you feel something different from disinterest or boredom.

But what's it matter if I recognize someone's art as 'objectively' good? I'm just recognizing that other people enjoy an aesthetic that maybe I do or don't. Can I value an aesthetic that I don't experience in the same way as everyone else, just because other people may experience it in a 'valuable' way?
I have a big problem with form poetry. I can enjoy Shakespearean Sonnets written by Shakespeare but often find myself ill at ease reading a contemporary poem written in the style of Shakespeare. Yet on this forum I have read a great deal of form poetry that left me marvelling at the deft touch of the author in constructing poems in a whole host of formulations and assorted variations.

Tangential to your point though it may be, I'd also like to refer to enjoying literature that completely contradicts my intellectual perceptions. As a total, unapologetic, unqualified atheist, I'd like to point to a magnificent work of blank verse composed by Milton, Paradise Lost, about subjects that have no basis in truth for me and yet, suspending disbelief for the sake of enjoyment, I am able to thrill to the congruency between the poetic language and the sense of the words. Even the Christo-centric racism is forgivable though I would never accept it in a current writer. Admittedly my example is more like a novel than what we normally think of as a poem but long as it may be the lines are still poetic in the true sense of the word.

This is the beginning of Book II from Paradise Lost. We find Satan musing on his situation after his rebellion against God has failed and he has been cast out of heaven:
High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth or Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
To that bad eminence; and, from despair
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
Vain war with Heaven; and, by success untaught,
His proud imaginations thus displayed:--
"Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven!--
For, since no deep within her gulf can hold
Immortal vigour, though oppressed and fallen,
I give not Heaven for lost: from this descent
Celestial Virtues rising will appear
More glorious and more dread than from no fall,
And trust themselves to fear no second fate!--
Me though just right, and the fixed laws of Heaven,
Did first create your leader--next, free choice
With what besides in council or in fight
Hath been achieved of merit--yet this loss,
Thus far at least recovered, hath much more
Established in a safe, unenvied throne,
Yielded with full consent.
Go HERE to read the complete text of Paradise Lost by John Milton

There is the grand posturing of the arrogant and unrepentant Satan (symbolic of these qualities in members of our species) entertwinned with theological points providing irony. Irony is specifically directed at the intellect in order to engage the emotions. An irony that may not have been intended by Milton is that Satan is the most interesting character in this work. There is much to feed the intellect in Milton's verse which brings me to my next point:

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Lorencino said, "...symbolism addresses most directly the emotional rather than the intellectual aspect of the reader".
This was intended as a question to CharleyH. I was asking if this was his position. My own point of view is that body, emotions and intellect must be addressed by poetry at it's best , though the proportions of the mix may vary from poem to poem. When imagery, in addressing the emotional, engages the emotional strongly, it enters a door to the full person. Obviously we cannot exist as any of our separate aspects unless we are badly damaged in some way like a vegetable on life support, for example, so anything that adresses itself to our emotions must finally register with the intellect as well.

Also consider Leni Riefenstahl, movie on the 1936 Olympic Games. She was clearly Hitler's propagandist and applied her cinematographic skills to aid and abet the Nazi cause. Yet her movie is an artistic masterpiece in the way that she managed to portray this silly looking, little man as a Titan of grand stature. Here was an artist prostituting her art for the sake of the most vile ideology of our age—racism at the pinnacle of its history. In spite of all my moral censure of what she was doing, I can still appreciate the art inherent in that 1936 film.

After WWII she was a pariah, banished from respectable society for her pains during Hitler's reign. Then, in 1976, 40 years after that Olympic film, she published one of the most magnificent photographic books I have ever seen, People of Kau. Her dedication in the book begins:
I dedicate this book to the Sudanese people. May it stand as a record of an ancient culture soon to be extinguished by the march of civilization.
The book is evidence of a truly great artist exposing the magnificence of human dignity in a people on the outermost fringes of international consciousness at a point just before their way of life is about to disappear amidst the tragedy of modern Sudan.

More about the book at Wiki

Leni Riefenstahl had journeyed from making movies for racists to showing the world the magnificence of people who were becoming the victims of racism.

The Kau are part of the Nuba people who are currently involved in a struggle for survival. Their website is HERE
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Old 12-02-2009, 03:17 PM   #48
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Blank verse and free verse are more of an issue for the discussion of Forms Thread. I have a problem with many works of blank verse and free verse, in that I don't recognize these works as something different than prose. Milton is writing poetry, but I think a better example is Dante, he's writing terza rima, never resembling blank verse. Milton bored me to tears, I've never read more than passages, yet I've studied Dante so I'll speak against Milton via Dante.

As you said, you suspend reality reading Milton, or Dante. When you suspend reality you're relegating your intellect to a corner because you're readying yourself for an aesthetic experience. Dante and Milton can use the fantastic to entertain--men and women being tortured in fire and ice, three headed Satan eating up Judas, Brutus, and Cassius. Strong imagery, really neat references but it's never like a book like Foucault's Pendulum where you have to search for clues and piece things together. If you walk away from either Paradise with a better knowledge of God, a better handle on your religion, you've mistaken an aesthetic experience for a teaching tool.

I think we often separate our intellect from our emotions. And I think that's how we actually learn. We can't be irritable, overly happy, sappy, sad, infatuated, angry, jealous and also use our rational minds to explore something like historicity of Jesus or tenets of Buddha, can't follow directions and build an intricate model plane if not in a rational mindset.

A bout of emotion usually doesn't accompany a more rational mind and vice versa. Once something is solved people are elated, run around and jump in rivers, but the problem has to be solved first in a calculated manner. The calculation of the rational mind is antithetical to what poetry is supposed to do. Poetry upon reading is supposed to make you want to run around and jump in a river because it illicits run around and jump in the river type emotions, it can't solve a mystery for you which then brings about all the emotions of solving that mystery.

I don't think we should get into other forms of art, poetry is complicated enough and we're mostly poets on a poetry board? But I really do think that art is meant to pull out emotions, including Leni in Sudan or making Triumph, and intellect is always a background character in good art, because good art clouds the rational mind with positive or negative emotions.

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Old 12-02-2009, 03:22 PM   #49
bflagsst
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Irony in poetry is really the only form that feeds the intellect successfully--that I can think of at the moment. But irony is usually only good for a laugh, not usually successful in making someone think different about something. Irony is usually just the lightness where there's heavy emotion, like a lighter counterpoint in a requiem, seemingly out of place yet perfectly natural in aesthetics. You're not supposed to crack jokes in technical papers, sometimes you can mask them, but the editor is going to have a problem if every page of General Theory of Relativity contains a joke about action at a distance.

Last edited by bflagsst : 12-02-2009 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 12-02-2009, 03:49 PM   #50
lorencino
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bflagsst View Post
Blank verse and free verse are more of an issue for the discussion of Forms Thread. But, we have Jack Kerouac, his writing in his novels is often referred to as long line/form free-verse poetry, sometimes seemingly blank metered. I have a problem with many works of blank verse and free verse, in that I don't recognize these works as something different than prose. Milton is writing poetry, but I think a better example is Dante, he's writing terza rima, never resembling blank verse. Milton bored me to tears, I've never read more than passages, yet I've studied Dante so I'll speak against Milton via Dante.

As you said, you suspend reality reading Milton, or Dante. When you suspend reality you're relegating your intellect to a corner because you're readying yourself for an aesthetic experience. Dante and Milton can use the fantastic to entertain--men and women being tortured in fire and ice, three headed Satan eating up Judas, Brutus, and Cassius. Strong imagery, really neat references but it's never like a book like Foucault's Pendulum where you have to search for clues and piece things together. If you walk away from either Paradise with a better knowledge of God, a better handle on your religion, you've mistaken an aesthetic experience for a teaching tool.

I think we often separate our intellect from our emotions. And I think that's how we actually learn. We can't be irritable, overly happy, sappy, sad, infatuated, angry, jealous and also use our rational minds to explore something like historicity of Jesus or tenets of Buddha, can't follow directions and build an intricate model plane if not in a rational mindset.

A bout of emotion usually doesn't accompany a more rational mind and vice versa. Once something is solved people are elated, run around and jump in rivers, but the problem has to be solved first in a calculated manner. The calculation of the rational mind is antithetical to what poetry is supposed to do. Poetry upon reading is supposed to make you want to run around and jump in a river because it illicits run around and jump in the river type emotions, it can't solve a mystery for you which then brings about all the emotions of solving that mystery.

I don't think we should get into other forms of art, poetry is complicated enough and we're mostly poets on a poetry board? But I really do think that art is meant to pull out emotions, including Leni in Sudan or making Triumph, and intellect is always a background character in good art, because good art clouds the rational mind with positive or negative emotions.
A most rational response. I am going to have to think about what you are saying here, but it certainly makes good sense to me on first reading. One thought, though: Is the sharp distinction between intellect and emotion influenced by our culture and is it perhaps a product of Aristotelian education?
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