Old 12-02-2009, 03:53 PM   #51
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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?
You always gotta give me a moment when I post something. I usually go back and sometimes change a viewpoint or just try and make it easier to understand. But yes, Scholasticism is still a big part of who we are here in the Western World and all that.
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Old 12-02-2009, 04:39 PM   #52
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You always gotta give me a moment when I post something. I usually go back and sometimes change a viewpoint or just try and make it easier to understand. But yes, Scholasticism is still a big part of who we are here in the Western World and all that.
And if this is so, is there a universal nature under the culturally imposed layers that is struggling through poetry to reach the surface? That is to say, is there something beyond our cultural identities that seeks satisfaction and struggles to find it generally through art and in our case specifically through poetry?

Is good poetry a product of the buried universal seeking voice, while bad poetry is arrogance demanding confirmation?

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Old 12-02-2009, 05:20 PM   #53
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And if this is so, is there a universal nature under the culturally imposed layers that is struggling through poetry to reach the surface? That is to say, is there something beyond our cultural identities that seeks satisfaction and struggles to find it generally through art and in our case specifically through poetry?

Is good poetry a product of the buried universal seeking voice, while bad poetry is arrogance demanding confirmation?
Bill Moyers: But if we can't describe God, if our language is not adequate, how is it that we build these buildings that are sublime? How do we create these works of art that reflect what artists think of God? How do we do this?

Joe Campbell: Well, that's what art reflects--what artists think of God, what people experience of God. But the ultimate, unqualified mystery is beyond human experience.

Moyers: So whatever it is we experience we have to express in language that is just not up to the occasion.

Campbell: That's it. That's what poetry is for. Poetry is a language that has to be penetrated. Poetry involves a precise choice of words that will have implications and suggestions that go past the words themselves. Then you experience the radiance, the epiphany. The epiphany is the showing through of the essence.

Moyers: So the experience of God is beyond description, but we feel compelled to try and describe it?

Campbell: That's right. Schopenhauer, in his splendid essay called "On an Apparent Intention in the Fate of the Individual," points out that when you reach an advanced age and look back over your lifetime, it can seem to have had a consistent order and plan, as though composed by some novelist. Events that when they occurred had seemed accidental and of little moment turn out to have been indispensable factors in the composition of a consistent plot. So who composed that plot?
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Old 12-02-2009, 05:34 PM   #54
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Defining bad poetry isn't any easier. If good poetry speaks to shared human experience, bad poetry might just fall short, not really arrogance, just not say anything that speaks to the human experience. But it's all emotions, just like religious rapture, religious experience is all emotion. Trying to philosophize in a poem might be arrogance.
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Old 12-02-2009, 11:19 PM   #55
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emotional rational

"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm me, I know THAT is poetry." Emily Dickinson

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Old 12-03-2009, 04:26 AM   #56
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standing on the sidelines reading these replies makes my head spin with thoughts

thankyou, everyone, for such fascinating posts!
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Old 12-03-2009, 04:57 AM   #57
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Freud showed the world that humans are not rational beings, but emotional beings. We make decisions based on emotion, not rational reasoning.

All the new research on brains show that there is such a thing as emotional intelligence. This shows that there can be emotional reasoning.

One cannot be 'purely' rational nor 'purely emotional. Both qualities inform the other with important information.

The heart is in the body, as is the mind; poetry ignites the heart, therefore, the body and mind, too.

I love Emily Dickinson's collapsing of 'form' when she writes:

"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm me, I know THAT is poetry."
I don't know what emotional intelligence is. But I know what rational animals are. Aristotle defines it in Metaphysics. Aristotle and Scholasticism are still the framework we use to think thoughts and make intelligent decisions in the West. Freud doesn't really have a place in cognitive science right now, that I know of. Surrealism is the closest Freudian experience in poetry, but it's not really clear where the imagery is coming from.

I don't think anyone wants to separate emotions wholly from intellect, or brains and hearts from bodies. But that's how we function, as if someone making decisions in a highly emotional state is categorically irrational. I actually write poems attempting to conjure emotional states. I don't just have a theory of 'good poetry', I try to enact that theory as I write.

I bear on my body the marks of...
by bflagsst©

Your breasts overwhelm my palms,
but not for their breadth,
it's your nipples that remind me of crucifixion,
and the suffering felt by stigmatics,
who've yet to leave their mark

The wounds are fresh on me
and days after,
with the perfumed odor you've left,
and religious orders I've formed
around you and your scent


not as unique
by bflagsst©

I'm not as important
as salvation,
as man or woman,
nor am I as unique
as I was in the womb,
viscous fluid in hand
pulse beneath my feet,
so happy just to dream
of heartbeat, heartbeat.

----

I'd like to think I'm showing my intellect when I write. But the point of my writing is to draw out similar emotions/thoughts in the reader that I experienced when writing.
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:46 AM   #58
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standing on the sidelines reading these replies makes my head spin with thoughts

thankyou, everyone, for such fascinating posts!
I agree. Poetic technique, like any skill, will come eventually to those who persist and enjoy the artful way language can be expressed. (One might say the same for stand up comedy which I sometimes think is the closest popular expression we have of modern poetry.) But the essence of poetry and what keeps it alive comes from discussions such as this.

As a reflective learner, I don't often contribute directly to the threads, but I read a lot of opinions about poetry on this site. While I may not agree with everything, I would like to let the frequent contributors know, and I mean all of them, how much their thinking has influenced my writing for which I'm very grateful.

In fact, this thread has stirred my creative juices and has me thinking about my next poem.
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:40 AM   #59
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tell me.

for you, as an individual, how do you KNOW if a poem is good or not?

I want to feel the words in the poem, I want it to speak to me, tell me something, emote something. I love poetry of all shapes and forms.

But most of all I like to feel the poet has given something personal of themself to bring the words alive and into my self.

A good poem is like a good story. It draws me in and I read it again and again to enjoy it all the more.
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Old 12-03-2009, 01:18 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by bflagsst View Post
... I don't just have a theory of 'good poetry', I try to enact that theory as I write.

I bear on my body the marks of...
by bflagsst©

Your breasts overwhelm my palms,
but not for their breadth,
it's your nipples that remind me of crucifixion,
and the suffering felt by stigmatics,
who've yet to leave their mark

The wounds are fresh on me
and days after,
with the perfumed odor you've left,
and religious orders I've formed
around you and your scent


not as unique
by bflagsst©

I'm not as important
as salvation,
as man or woman,
nor am I as unique
as I was in the womb,
viscous fluid in hand
pulse beneath my feet,
so happy just to dream
of heartbeat, heartbeat.

----

...
that first one - you leave me mouthing a poetic wow. not a good look but an honest one. and yes, I would say these are both examples of a successful enactment. how delightful to find them here!


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Originally Posted by greenmountaineer View Post
I agree. Poetic technique, like any skill, will come eventually to those who persist and enjoy the artful way language can be expressed. (One might say the same for stand up comedy which I sometimes think is the closest popular expression we have of modern poetry.) But the essence of poetry and what keeps it alive comes from discussions such as this.

As a reflective learner, I don't often contribute directly to the threads, but I read a lot of opinions about poetry on this site. While I may not agree with everything, I would like to let the frequent contributors know, and I mean all of them, how much their thinking has influenced my writing for which I'm very grateful.

In fact, this thread has stirred my creative juices and has me thinking about my next poem.
now that's put a smile on more than just my face, greenmountaineer. I'm sure we're all looking forward to seeing what happens with your next creation.

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Originally Posted by Debbie View Post
I want to feel the words in the poem, I want it to speak to me, tell me something, emote something. I love poetry of all shapes and forms.

But most of all I like to feel the poet has given something personal of themself to bring the words alive and into my self.

A good poem is like a good story. It draws me in and I read it again and again to enjoy it all the more.
I'm guessing this is more or less the point where all our opinions are converging.
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Old 12-03-2009, 01:28 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by chipbutty View Post
standing on the sidelines reading these replies makes my head spin with thoughts

thankyou, everyone, for such fascinating posts!
My head is also spinning
I'm all a-wobble
a-bobbing on a storm of ideas
need quiet to think
blink
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Old 12-04-2009, 05:28 AM   #62
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that first one - you leave me mouthing a poetic wow. not a good look but an honest one. and yes, I would say these are both examples of a successful enactment. how delightful to find them here!



now that's put a smile on more than just my face, greenmountaineer. I'm sure we're all looking forward to seeing what happens with your next creation.


I'm guessing this is more or less the point where all our opinions are converging.
thanks, Chipbutty. I hope you share more of your poems with us too.
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Old 12-04-2009, 05:13 PM   #63
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Freud showed the world that humans are not rational beings, but emotional beings. We make decisions based on emotion, not rational reasoning.

All the new research on brains show that there is such a thing as emotional intelligence. This shows that there can be emotional reasoning.

One cannot be 'purely' rational nor 'purely emotional. Both qualities inform the other with important information.

The heart is in the body, as is the mind; poetry ignites the heart, therefore, the body and mind, too.

I love Emily Dickinson's collapsing of 'form' when she writes:

"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm me, I know THAT is poetry."
This is the sort of anomalous activity that interests me. Someone felt the urge to comment, maybe via alt, maybe it's the only comment they'll ever make on these boards. Either way, why an alt or why choose this thread to make a one-time appearance?
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Old 12-04-2009, 05:39 PM   #64
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quick post to say please excuse the bottom, it's a get your bum out night on the UK thread. it will go soon so squint and it might not offend too much
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Old 12-04-2009, 05:53 PM   #65
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loving bottoms

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quick post to say please excuse the bottom, it's a get your bum out night on the UK thread. it will go soon so squint and it might not offend too much
For a fresh perspective on bottoms, see Cal Y. Pygia poem VANILLA BREASTS in todays collection from him
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Old 12-05-2009, 02:04 AM   #66
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we don't lose esteem.

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Old 12-05-2009, 04:20 AM   #67
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Emotional intelligence is a controversial notion, for sure. Wikipedia will attest to that. However, I am not referring to manic states here, however, which may actually be quite 'rational' in the face of the psychopathic society we live in. The emotions Freud noticed that directed most of our behaviour are simple every day emotions such as fear, anger, desire, jealousy, competition, etc.
Self awareness, the ability to manage one's emotions, to respond with empathy to another's plight--these are all examples of emotional intelligence.
Freud doesn't need to be included in cognitive theory today--his work is done. His nephew, (Bernays) accepting Freud's thinking, came to US after WWII. He invented the focus group and marketing--using the notion that 'man' is not rational, but emotional. And one of the driving emotions is perhaps what drives us to this site: desire.

A good UK documentary on this idea, albeit, slightly more than repetitive for the first 3 out of 4 hours is called: The Century of the Self by Curtis.

Following on what Lorencio remarked upon: I agree that emotions are culturally specific over time and in geography.
Perhaps Freud's idea is truly a 'modern' one, born out of capitalism and all the desire contained therein: the waggling promise/possibility of 'getting rich'. ....to be able to buy stuff, and the myriad of other small and not so small ways that we indulge our desires.

By the way, Freud would say that a manic (or a depressive state for that matter) is a result of the inability to grieve our losses. Because the love we have lost is too great to bare so we retreat to a place of lost esteem. He has written a tiny essay entitled: Mourning and Melancholia which outlines his theory of grieving. He says when we can mourn our losses, we don't lose esteem.
I'm familiar with Post-WW Freud, but I'm not really following how this is going to relate to poetry, specifically how good poetry is written and accepted as so. I thought I was hitting around more mundane emotions too, like sweetness as opposed to bitterness in a poem. Mania and depression are the clinical odds and ends, I'm really just talking irrationality of empathy and anger vs. rationality of scholastic model that we've inherited though the lens of the Enlightenment. Usually, the attempt at rational discourse in art is poor while seemingly irrational relationships(most metaphors are irrational) illicit emotions as if out of the aether, making for 'good' art.

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Old 12-05-2009, 04:25 AM   #68
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I'm familiar with Post-WW Freud, but I'm not really following how this is going to relate to poetry, specifically how good poetry is written and accepted as so.

Dear Bflagsst and Jumper33-

I just wanted to say how interesting I found your previous posts and I can absolutely understand how emotions are or can be related to poetry, good or bad

Thanks for the insight and the urge to read something new.

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Old 12-05-2009, 11:02 AM   #69
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I'm familiar with Post-WW Freud, but I'm not really following how this is going to relate to poetry, specifically how good poetry is written and accepted as so. I thought I was hitting around more mundane emotions too, like sweetness as opposed to bitterness in a poem. Mania and depression are the clinical odds and ends, I'm really just talking irrationality of empathy and anger vs. rationality of scholastic model that we've inherited though the lens of the Enlightenment. Usually, the attempt at rational discourse in art is poor while seemingly irrational relationships(most metaphors are irrational) illicit emotions as if out of the aether, making for 'good' art.


The Age of Enlightenment created many wonderful opportunities but not without some unintended consequences, I believe, for us in the West. We are so hyper-rational that many act as though if it can’t be measured if it doesn’t exist. I have found this true in commerce certainly and in Western medical science. I still have a vivid recollection of a “60 Minutes” segment after America developed its policy of détente towards China in the late sixties and early seventies. Mike Wallace, the reporter, was asking the head of some American neurosurgical association about acupuncture as a form of anesthesia. The latter called it something like rubbish or hocus-pocus nonsense. Then Wallace and a camera crew were shown in a Beijing operating room where a female patient fully conscious had a tumor the size of a large grapefruit removed from her abdomen, having been anesthetized only through acupuncture.

What does this have to do with poetry? I think Eastern civilization in terms of its history of intellectual assets and spirituality has developed a more tolerant cultural view of the mysterious, the unknown, the metaphors, the immeasurable, which I think is the stuff of good poetry. It’s not just a global economy that is being developed. With resources like the internet, satellite television, and high speed travel, we have the opportunity to look at the world in new ways as well as its mysteries, meaningful for some and absurd for others, and will, as poets should, develop new ways to express them.
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Old 12-05-2009, 11:34 AM   #70
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The Age of Enlightenment created many wonderful opportunities but not without some unintended consequences, I believe, for us in the West. We are so hyper-rational that many act as though if it can’t be measured if it doesn’t exist. I have found this true in commerce certainly and in Western medical science. I still have a vivid recollection of a “60 Minutes” segment after America developed its policy of détente towards China in the late sixties and early seventies. Mike Wallace, the reporter, was asking the head of some American neurosurgical association about acupuncture as a form of anesthesia. The latter called it something like rubbish or hocus-pocus nonsense. Then Wallace and a camera crew were shown in a Beijing operating room where a female patient fully conscious had a tumor the size of a large grapefruit removed from her abdomen, having been anesthetized only through acupuncture.

What does this have to do with poetry? I think Eastern civilization in terms of its history of intellectual assets and spirituality has developed a more tolerant cultural view of the mysterious, the unknown, the metaphors, the immeasurable, which I think is the stuff of good poetry. It’s not just a global economy that is being developed. With resources like the internet, satellite television, and high speed travel, we have the opportunity to look at the world in new ways as well as its mysteries, meaningful for some and absurd for others, and will, as poets should, develop new ways to express them.
So true! In most social science fields I can think of this applies. Never mind that every study is inherently anecdotal and irreparable (because they're created by people), for many folks it's a religion. I say this from experience having worked with "measurement specialists" in my field (education) for many years. Of course, I would think that because poetry is my religion, but it's true and it's kinda sad.
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Old 12-05-2009, 12:01 PM   #71
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The Age of Enlightenment created many wonderful opportunities but not without some unintended consequences, I believe, for us in the West. We are so hyper-rational that many act as though if it can’t be measured if it doesn’t exist. I have found this true in commerce certainly and in Western medical science. I still have a vivid recollection of a “60 Minutes” segment after America developed its policy of détente towards China in the late sixties and early seventies. Mike Wallace, the reporter, was asking the head of some American neurosurgical association about acupuncture as a form of anesthesia. The latter called it something like rubbish or hocus-pocus nonsense. Then Wallace and a camera crew were shown in a Beijing operating room where a female patient fully conscious had a tumor the size of a large grapefruit removed from her abdomen, having been anesthetized only through acupuncture.

What does this have to do with poetry? I think Eastern civilization in terms of its history of intellectual assets and spirituality has developed a more tolerant cultural view of the mysterious, the unknown, the metaphors, the immeasurable, which I think is the stuff of good poetry. It’s not just a global economy that is being developed. With resources like the internet, satellite television, and high speed travel, we have the opportunity to look at the world in new ways as well as its mysteries, meaningful for some and absurd for others, and will, as poets should, develop new ways to express them.
I think that's sorta what I've been saying all along, poetry and art in general doesn't deal well with the hyper-rationality of science, history, math. That comes back to how can a poem stretch a reader's intellect? Which is easy to answer in one way and not so easy to answer from a different perspective.

The information space of a poem is too limiting to explain something from the hyper-rational realm. But as a writer you're definitely intellectualizing, working to try and figure out a way to express the inexpressible. Metaphors express things in an irrational way, they express mysteries by their nature. They aren't models or blueprints for something that exists, they are likenesses and allusions, in a different way than an architect's drawing is a likeness of a structure.

You mention the acupuncture anesthesia, many Westerners have attempted to use acupuncture as an anesthetic device(in lab) since anesthesia is super risky for a decent part of the population. There just aren't any real results. Chinese don't use acupuncture as an anesthetic, it's not some common thing over there. It's sort of another mystery of the Orient type thing, they have special powers that we can't explain, good for books and TV. The stuff that's testable, like anesthetic acupuncture, usually turns out to be (mostly)hocus pocus. I'm sure you can remove a mole or something using acupuncture as your anesthetic.

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Old 12-05-2009, 12:28 PM   #72
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Ezra Pound wrote that massive work of poetry-history(among other specialties) the Cantos. He was way into Wasteland and the syphilitic madness of Finnegans Wake. All three books I really enjoy. Wasteland is less interested in history than the others, but they really resemble each other, probably because the three poets knew each other and shared their work. The only way to learn anything from any of them is by skeleton key, such as Joseph Campbell's for Finnegan. Except what Campbell is doing isn't art, he's really just cluing in on what Joyce might be referencing, he has no real idea, going and explaining a jumble in terms of his specialty. The words Eden and River are in the first passage, that's enough information for a mythologist to do their thing.

So Ezra is really trying to out obscure and outdo Joyce and Eliot. It's just not realistic sitting down and reading through the Cantos and gaining anything of value in terms of history or science. The places of value are in the emotional centers, same as in the Wasteland. Where the poet wants to make the reader feel something. There is no education in any of these works, in terms of history, science, language, social theory, psychology. They reference the rational pursuits and ideas, even try to explain certain things, but it's really of no value unless there's a translator, or if you already know precisely what they're referencing because you've been educated. But then there's no mystery.

It makes sense relegating art to that which is not rational(Enlightenment Rational) emotions too, if you believe that art is the tool that expresses something special and worth expressing, something the Rational pursuits can't really get at. Good poetry is an emotion manipulator, and emotions are expressions of the stuff outside of the Rational universe of the Enlightenment.

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Old 12-05-2009, 08:20 PM   #73
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poem as a reservoir for grief

The Poem as a Reservoir for Grief (excerpt)

It is important that we be strengthened by the wisdom of our grievings. The scientists may tinker, the politicians may instruct us in the various ploys of unconsciousness, the physicians may delay death awhile with yet another cure, but until each individual maintains a responsible relationship to his or her own losses and changes, there will be no such thing as a hopeful future. For, as in the Taoist description of the wheel in terms of the strong, empty spaces between the spokes, one’s future depends not only on the visible spokes of the present, but also on those invisible elements from the past, those things we are missing, are grieving for, have forgotten and left behind, so that they may be recovered.

by Tess Gallagher

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Old 12-05-2009, 09:02 PM   #74
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tell me.

for you, as an individual, how do you KNOW if a poem is good or not?
In order for me to view think feel myself correctly in my imagination spirit soul, certain things happen.

Poetry is words that I live on top of, like scaffolding, like ropes, like friends, like lovers like spouses like parents and brothers and sisters, bosses colleagues people on the train like strangers

I don't define good poetry (I am considering as poetry all writing and speaking and language) as the poetry most effective in evincing that feeling of rightness in me. I think a person could write good poetry but still never feel right or at home or meaningful or with purpose or feeling understanding connection passion.

For me, in writing poetry there is a degree of wanting other people to read it and hook in and feel something, but that is a relatively small part of the purpose of writing poetry. The part where other people read and react is only a small part, it is important, but a small part.

Likewise, when reading other people's poems, I hope to sense some sort of purposefulness from the writer that was probably only really available to themselves somehow, often in a way that is indescribable unfathomable to that other self.

But I do consider a good poem good if I am moved to read the whole thing and if it makes me smile or frown or connect or understand or respond or feel or think ... or if everybody else liked it I might like it too

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Old 12-06-2009, 05:59 AM   #75
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...

I don't define good poetry (I am considering as poetry all writing and speaking and language) as the poetry most effective in evincing that feeling of rightness in me. I think a person could write good poetry but still never feel right or at home or meaningful or with purpose or feeling understanding connection passion.

For me, in writing poetry there is a degree of wanting other people to read it and hook in and feel something, but that is a relatively small part of the purpose of writing poetry. The part where other people read and react is only a small part, it is important, but a small part...
I don't think a poet could write a good poem without feeling right and at home in the feeling they're trying to convey. If a poet's never felt passion for someone or something the reader won't feel passion when reading. Most readers of your poem, here or anywhere else, will never respond to you, you won't see or taste their reaction to your poetry, but the reader's reaction isn't a small part.

The heart of wanting to express yourself, express something mysterious that you feel, is communication with other human beings--at-one-ment with being human. Writing poems alone in your room can only get you so far, the satisfaction is in knowing that other people feel the mystery and passion that you feel. Even for Emily Dickinson it wasn't enough just writing poems. She wanted them to be read, most likely got a couple dozen in print, and shared her poems throughout her life with mr./ms. mysterious.

Last edited by bflagsst : 12-06-2009 at 06:07 AM.
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