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(Washington Post)   Poets nobody reads complain that someone might one day read them on an ebook   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 51
    More: Silly, National Endowment for the Arts, e-books, display size  
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1249 clicks; posted to Geek » on 17 Mar 2013 at 6:54 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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nxn
2013-03-17 07:24:28 PM
That's cray-cray. Why not take advantage of the huge e-reader market? It's like hipster bands releasing their music only on cassingles.

/Completely unrelated (not really), but you can download all three of my poetry collections for free from Smashwords.
 
kab
2013-03-17 07:34:43 PM
Nobody?  Not a single, solitary person, subby?
 
2013-03-17 07:54:39 PM
Poetry is a hard sell by nature, even I knew that before putting my poetry book on the market (I'm a novelist, but had enough poetry to 'throw one out there') and, as an indie self-publisher, I have none of the problems that this woman is whining about.  If your poem needs line breaks at certain spots, just put them in there, following the converter's formatting guidelines (for the record, I use Smashwords), and then check all of the conversions for correctness before pushing the 'publish publically' button.  If you've written a poem that is supposed to look like ASCII art, type it up like it should be in Gimp or Photoshop, making sure that you use the same size fonts and a blank or white background and the reader won't know it isn't 'just type' until they click on the poem and see it is a picture.

Yes, it's that easy.

And please, poets,

Stop

Writing

Like

This

Unless

It

Is

Absolutely

Necessary

Titty Sprinkles.
 
2013-03-17 08:08:49 PM
Poetry sucks!
 
2013-03-17 08:12:35 PM

Premeditated_Road_Rage: Poetry is a hard sell by nature, even I knew that before putting my poetry book on the market (I'm a novelist, but had enough poetry to 'throw one out there') and, as an indie self-publisher, I have none of the problems that this woman is whining about.  If your poem needs line breaks at certain spots, just put them in there, following the converter's formatting guidelines (for the record, I use Smashwords), and then check all of the conversions for correctness before pushing the 'publish publically' button.  If you've written a poem that is supposed to look like ASCII art, type it up like it should be in Gimp or Photoshop, making sure that you use the same size fonts and a blank or white background and the reader won't know it isn't 'just type' until they click on the poem and see it is a picture.

Yes, it's that easy.

And please, poets,

Stop

Writing

Like

This

Unless

It

Is

Absolutely

Necessary

Titty Sprinkles.


Yeah, I don't see why this is a problem. Surely it's possible to put line breaks in an e-reader?

Also, screw the weird spacing and ascii art part of modern poetry. Stanzas, yes. Line breaks, yes.

But the crappy form stuff that the poet in TFA is talking about?

It's just annoying. Quit. I'm one of the very few people who actually buys poetry on occasion, but please, focus on making your words interesting. If I wanted interesting shapes, I'd wander down to the National Gallery and spend an afternoon looking at paintings. Your poem is not visual art. I've seen poems and visual art integrated, and it can be very effective. Prints on top of the pages of old reference books, or an artist writing out a poem that inspired him right on the painting. It can be done very well. But when I read your poem on the page, it's rarely anything but stupidly gratuitous.

I write a few poems myself. Completely for fun, mind you, I'm not trying to do it for a living. I doubt they'll ever hit so much as the internet, much less the printed page. They look different when I write them longhand than when I type them up. Boo Hoo. I think the longhand looks prettier, but when I'm writing, I'm focusing on getting the words right. It's less pretty, but the poem doesn't lose meaning when it goes on the computer screen.
 
2013-03-17 08:13:28 PM

mrlewish: Poetry sucks!


Read this and get back to me.
 
2013-03-17 08:15:25 PM
Somehow no other books have issues with putting spaces, cursive, or graphics in their e-books. Hmmmm conspiracy!
 
2013-03-17 08:32:31 PM
*snorts nxn's offered epub files up nose*

/text addiction
//epub's the good stuff
 
2013-03-17 08:48:15 PM
i.imgur.com

/Poetry is meant to be heard, not read.
 
2013-03-17 08:54:16 PM

cptjeff: Premeditated_Road_Rage: Poetry is a hard sell by nature, even I knew that before putting my poetry book on the market (I'm a novelist, but had enough poetry to 'throw one out there') and, as an indie self-publisher, I have none of the problems that this woman is whining about.  If your poem needs line breaks at certain spots, just put them in there, following the converter's formatting guidelines (for the record, I use Smashwords), and then check all of the conversions for correctness before pushing the 'publish publically' button.  If you've written a poem that is supposed to look like ASCII art, type it up like it should be in Gimp or Photoshop, making sure that you use the same size fonts and a blank or white background and the reader won't know it isn't 'just type' until they click on the poem and see it is a picture.

Yes, it's that easy.

And please, poets,

Stop

Writing

Like

This

Unless

It

Is

Absolutely

Necessary

Titty Sprinkles.

Yeah, I don't see why this is a problem. Surely it's possible to put line breaks in an e-reader?

Also, screw the weird spacing and ascii art part of modern poetry. Stanzas, yes. Line breaks, yes.

But the crappy form stuff that the poet in TFA is talking about?

It's just annoying. Quit. I'm one of the very few people who actually buys poetry on occasion, but please, focus on making your words interesting. If I wanted interesting shapes, I'd wander down to the National Gallery and spend an afternoon looking at paintings. Your poem is not visual art. I've seen poems and visual art integrated, and it can be very effective. Prints on top of the pages of old reference books, or an artist writing out a poem that inspired him right on the painting. It can be done very well. But when I read your poem on the page, it's rarely anything but stupidly gratuitous.

I write a few poems myself. Completely for fun, mind you, I'm not trying to do it for a living. I doubt they'll ever hit so much as the internet, much less the printed page. ...


Yea... as a published poet... one poem, it's int he forward of a book... and an English major, I have to say modern poetry is crap. Rhyme and format are important to me as a poetry reader. Random meaningless overused line breaks are hardly a good format.
 
2013-03-17 09:13:07 PM

Quantumbunny: cptjeff: Premeditated_Road_Rage: Poetry is a hard sell by nature, even I knew that before putting my poetry book on the market (I'm a novelist, but had enough poetry to 'throw one out there') and, as an indie self-publisher, I have none of the problems that this woman is whining about.  If your poem needs line breaks at certain spots, just put them in there, following the converter's formatting guidelines (for the record, I use Smashwords), and then check all of the conversions for correctness before pushing the 'publish publically' button.  If you've written a poem that is supposed to look like ASCII art, type it up like it should be in Gimp or Photoshop, making sure that you use the same size fonts and a blank or white background and the reader won't know it isn't 'just type' until they click on the poem and see it is a picture.

Yes, it's that easy.

And please, poets,

Stop

Writing

Like

This

Unless

It

Is

Absolutely

Necessary

Titty Sprinkles.

Yeah, I don't see why this is a problem. Surely it's possible to put line breaks in an e-reader?

Also, screw the weird spacing and ascii art part of modern poetry. Stanzas, yes. Line breaks, yes.

But the crappy form stuff that the poet in TFA is talking about?

It's just annoying. Quit. I'm one of the very few people who actually buys poetry on occasion, but please, focus on making your words interesting. If I wanted interesting shapes, I'd wander down to the National Gallery and spend an afternoon looking at paintings. Your poem is not visual art. I've seen poems and visual art integrated, and it can be very effective. Prints on top of the pages of old reference books, or an artist writing out a poem that inspired him right on the painting. It can be done very well. But when I read your poem on the page, it's rarely anything but stupidly gratuitous.

I write a few poems myself. Completely for fun, mind you, I'm not trying to do it for a living. I doubt they'll ever hit so much as the internet, much less the prin ...


Yup, It's like reading a "Poetry Slam"

God, I would rather punch my own testicles than stand around watching people recite poetry, especially "Modern" poetry.
 
2013-03-17 09:17:05 PM
Poetry is like philosophy: It's what you do over coffee on your lunch break from your real job.
 
2013-03-17 09:22:43 PM

Quantumbunny: Yea... as a published poet... one poem, it's int he forward of a book...


That I might wind up doing. I'm slowly working on a novel that I might actually try to get published someday (and thank God for day jobs), and I'd be up to writing my own epigraph.

\Could always go full Cervantes and put something like 10 poems and an essay there.
 
2013-03-17 09:30:48 PM

cptjeff: Quantumbunny: Yea... as a published poet... one poem, it's int he forward of a book...

That I might wind up doing. I'm slowly working on a novel that I might actually try to get published someday (and thank God for day jobs), and I'd be up to writing my own epigraph.

\Could always go full Cervantes and put something like 10 poems and an essay there.


It wasn't my book. :)

I am very anti "prose as poetry" myself. Bare minimum to me, poetry needs rhyme and preferably metre. I'm also opposed to picture made of words as poetry.

Though, as others mentioned... you still have linefeeds in e-Readers... so there's no reason you couldn't put your crap on a e-reader, stupid TFA "poet".
 
2013-03-17 09:50:33 PM
In this thread:

People whine that nobody reads poetry anymore and also whine that poetry isn't good like it used to be 100 years ago and don't realize they're part of the problem.
 
2013-03-17 09:50:42 PM
In the Poetry Wars,tm I am decidedly on the side of the avant-garde.  Innovative publishers (like BookThug up here in Canada) have digital downloads available for their print titles.  Innovative poets are already exploiting e-publishing and other technologies in their poetry.  This article and the poets it features are already a few years behind.

Remember that the history of poetry is a history of experimentation and innovation; otherwise, we would still be reading accentual verse rather than accentual-syllabic in what is now our traditional poetry.

Go ahead and denigrate poets who write prose poetry or who write visual poetry while you continue reading and writing free-verse confessional poetry.  I enjoy reading a surprising, well-turned phrase in traditional forms, as well; however, it is the poets blurring the boundaries between genres and exploiting technologies who are the true innovators.

I encourage you all to read more avant-garde work; it's more welcoming than it at first appears.  Or, you know, continue with hate.
 
2013-03-17 09:55:17 PM
I hope some new poets embrace what e-books can offer to poetry- a multi-media experience. pictures, sounds, video, interaction. the chance to record your voice reading the poem how you want it read, and then offering it as a file with the book.

Ever heard W.H. Auden read his poetry? amazing.


/also, the only poet allowed to have weird line spacing and etc is e e cummings. all the others are basically just posers.
//okay, not ALL the others. but most.
 
2013-03-17 10:04:13 PM

Quantumbunny: cptjeff: Quantumbunny: Yea... as a published poet... one poem, it's int he forward of a book...

That I might wind up doing. I'm slowly working on a novel that I might actually try to get published someday (and thank God for day jobs), and I'd be up to writing my own epigraph.

\Could always go full Cervantes and put something like 10 poems and an essay there.

It wasn't my book. :)

I am very anti "prose as poetry" myself. Bare minimum to me, poetry needs rhyme and preferably metre. I'm also opposed to picture made of words as poetry.

Though, as others mentioned... you still have linefeeds in e-Readers... so there's no reason you couldn't put your crap on a e-reader, stupid TFA "poet".


I don't mind free verse at all, that's what I write, and the lack of rhyme and meter doesn't make it prose. Crafting the flow and pacing still matters, and I do pay a lot of attention to the musicality of how my words fit together. Good free verse still requires a lot of thought and craft to get the words right. I certainly don't mind when a poet puts together a few lines of similar length, and then ends each stanza with one word to punctuate the point.

A random, crappy and sappy, made up on the spot in 30 seconds, example:

Horrid world, destroying the good and brave,
Hate and greed shine, powering to fame,
But the world rewards kindness also,
Sometimes.

Not traditional rhyming and meter, but you can craft your words to create an impact in a way you can't with traditional metered and rhyming forms. You don't need precise spacing to make your words look like a flight of stairs to get that impact, you just need to be able to put something on a new line. Which is not hard, even on an e-book.
 
2013-03-17 10:08:31 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM4kqL13jGM When
I
read
 that
article,

I felt
like
going to
youtube

to listen this :
 
2013-03-17 10:09:27 PM

Jaroga: Go ahead and denigrate poets who write prose poetry or who write visual poetry while you continue reading and writing free-verse confessional poetry. I enjoy reading a surprising, well-turned phrase in traditional forms, as well; however, it is the poets blurring the boundaries between genres and exploiting technologies who are the true innovators.


You know, I do read modern poetry in a lot of forms, I tend to pick up stuff featuring lots of different poets. But I enjoy the poems that focus on interesting ideas and getting the words right much more than I enjoy the ones that try to impress me with how avant-garde they are. Oh, you scattered the words around the page, how edgy! The girl on the opposite page didn't, but what she was talking about was actually interesting. Gee, which poem am I going to bother reading again?
 
2013-03-17 10:21:42 PM

Quantumbunny: Random meaningless overused line breaks are hardly a good format.


www.clivejames.com

frowns upon your shenanigans
 
2013-03-17 10:23:37 PM

cptjeff: Jaroga: Go ahead and denigrate poets who write prose poetry or who write visual poetry while you continue reading and writing free-verse confessional poetry. I enjoy reading a surprising, well-turned phrase in traditional forms, as well; however, it is the poets blurring the boundaries between genres and exploiting technologies who are the true innovators.

You know, I do read modern poetry in a lot of forms, I tend to pick up stuff featuring lots of different poets. But I enjoy the poems that focus on interesting ideas and getting the words right much more than I enjoy the ones that try to impress me with how avant-garde they are. Oh, you scattered the words around the page, how edgy! The girl on the opposite page didn't, but what she was talking about was actually interesting. Gee, which poem am I going to bother reading again?


I know that it can seem that some contemporary poets are attempting to bamboozle or to impress, and certainly there are poor innovative poets, just as there are poor traditional poets.  Many, however, are exploiting the form to convey the content.  The poems themselves frequently become about language itself rather than as some vessel of content or "emotion."

I love this book, available free on-line, even though Waldrop is a major Language poet:   http://www.durationpress.com/archives/rwaldrop/lawnof/lawnofexcludedm i ddle.pdf

I also highly recommend Nathaniel Mackey:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0xzbSq3yGU .

Those two seem to blend both the traditional lyric with more innovative forms.

/Yay!  A poetry thread!
 
2013-03-17 10:23:53 PM
Premeditated_Road_Rage:
factofthedayblog.com
Yes, it's that easy.

And please, poets,

Stop

Writing

Like

This

Unless

It

Is

Absolutely

Necessary

Titty Sprinkles.

/
factofthedayblog.com
 
2013-03-17 11:06:42 PM

Jaroga: cptjeff: Jaroga: Go ahead and denigrate poets who write prose poetry or who write visual poetry while you continue reading and writing free-verse confessional poetry. I enjoy reading a surprising, well-turned phrase in traditional forms, as well; however, it is the poets blurring the boundaries between genres and exploiting technologies who are the true innovators.

You know, I do read modern poetry in a lot of forms, I tend to pick up stuff featuring lots of different poets. But I enjoy the poems that focus on interesting ideas and getting the words right much more than I enjoy the ones that try to impress me with how avant-garde they are. Oh, you scattered the words around the page, how edgy! The girl on the opposite page didn't, but what she was talking about was actually interesting. Gee, which poem am I going to bother reading again?

I know that it can seem that some contemporary poets are attempting to bamboozle or to impress, and certainly there are poor innovative poets, just as there are poor traditional poets.  Many, however, are exploiting the form to convey the content.  The poems themselves frequently become about language itself rather than as some vessel of content or "emotion."

I love this book, available free on-line, even though Waldrop is a major Language poet:   http://www.durationpress.com/archives/rwaldrop/lawnof/lawnofexcludedm i ddle.pdf

I also highly recommend Nathaniel Mackey:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0xzbSq3yGU .

Those two seem to blend both the traditional lyric with more innovative forms.

/Yay!  A poetry thread!


For every one 'good' modern poet, there are thirty others using the same form because a) it means that they don't have to remember all of that 'crap' from their English classes like grammar, form, etc., and b) because the formula 'sells' to hipsters  why bother finding your voice in a classic form or experimenting with other things when you can just 'phone it in' with this one-word-per-line crapfest?  That formula has been so cliche-ridden in the past few years by 'modern' poets that it is the literary (and I use that term loosly) equivilant of someone taking a random picture, applying a sepia filter, and then typing some random thought over it in helvetica font to suddenly give the image 'deep meaning'.
 
2013-03-17 11:11:37 PM

Premeditated_Road_Rage: For every one 'good' modern poet, there are thirty others using the same form because a) it means that they don't have to remember all of that 'crap' from their English classes like grammar, form, etc., and b) because the formula 'sells' to hipsters  why bother finding your voice in a classic form or experimenting with other things when you can just 'phone it in' with this one-word-per-line crapfest?


A) none of this is true, and B) do you read contemporary poetry?

I mean this seriously.  Most people who complain about poetry don't actually read it, and then defend their not reading it by saying that there's something wrong with it.
 
2013-03-17 11:26:58 PM

Dafatone: Premeditated_Road_Rage: For every one 'good' modern poet, there are thirty others using the same form because a) it means that they don't have to remember all of that 'crap' from their English classes like grammar, form, etc., and b) because the formula 'sells' to hipsters  why bother finding your voice in a classic form or experimenting with other things when you can just 'phone it in' with this one-word-per-line crapfest?

A) none of this is true, and B) do you read contemporary poetry?

I mean this seriously.  Most people who complain about poetry don't actually read it, and then defend their not reading it by saying that there's something wrong with it.


Yes - I do have two contemporary poets that I like and about 60 that were tripe when I read them.  They were pretty much rap lyrics sheets passing as 'poetry'.  I'm not a little kid scrunching up his nose at a new vegetable here, but an actual consumer/connoisseur who knows that yes, art is subjective and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that not everything pounded out by a glasses-and-beret wearing weenie on a macbook air in a starbucks is necessarily 'good'.  A lot of it is just formula posing.
 
2013-03-17 11:33:28 PM

Dafatone: Premeditated_Road_Rage: For every one 'good' modern poet, there are thirty others using the same form because a) it means that they don't have to remember all of that 'crap' from their English classes like grammar, form, etc., and b) because the formula 'sells' to hipsters  why bother finding your voice in a classic form or experimenting with other things when you can just 'phone it in' with this one-word-per-line crapfest?

A) none of this is true, and B) do you read contemporary poetry?

I mean this seriously.  Most people who complain about poetry don't actually read it, and then defend their not reading it by saying that there's something wrong with it.


Or they read too much Tolkien.
 
2013-03-17 11:33:34 PM

Dafatone: Premeditated_Road_Rage: For every one 'good' modern poet, there are thirty others using the same form because a) it means that they don't have to remember all of that 'crap' from their English classes like grammar, form, etc., and b) because the formula 'sells' to hipsters  why bother finding your voice in a classic form or experimenting with other things when you can just 'phone it in' with this one-word-per-line crapfest?

A) none of this is true, and B) do you read contemporary poetry?

I mean this seriously.  Most people who complain about poetry don't actually read it, and then defend their not reading it by saying that there's something wrong with it.


Exactly!  And far too frequently, if people encounter "difficult" poetry, instead of grappling with it, asking questions of it, they just deride it.
 
2013-03-17 11:35:10 PM

Premeditated_Road_Rage: Dafatone: Premeditated_Road_Rage: For every one 'good' modern poet, there are thirty others using the same form because a) it means that they don't have to remember all of that 'crap' from their English classes like grammar, form, etc., and b) because the formula 'sells' to hipsters  why bother finding your voice in a classic form or experimenting with other things when you can just 'phone it in' with this one-word-per-line crapfest?

A) none of this is true, and B) do you read contemporary poetry?

I mean this seriously.  Most people who complain about poetry don't actually read it, and then defend their not reading it by saying that there's something wrong with it.

Yes - I do have two contemporary poets that I like and about 60 that were tripe when I read them.  They were pretty much rap lyrics sheets passing as 'poetry'.  I'm not a little kid scrunching up his nose at a new vegetable here, but an actual consumer/connoisseur who knows that yes, art is subjective and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that not everything pounded out by a glasses-and-beret wearing weenie on a macbook air in a starbucks is necessarily 'good'.  A lot of it is just formula posing.


See, you're kinda mixing archetypes here.  Do weenies write rap lyrics?  This thread has complaints about line breaks, complaints about prose poetry, and now complaints about rap lyrics.  These things don't intersect.

There's good stuff out there.  Keep looking.
 
2013-03-17 11:35:31 PM

Premeditated_Road_Rage: Dafatone: Premeditated_Road_Rage: For every one 'good' modern poet, there are thirty others using the same form because a) it means that they don't have to remember all of that 'crap' from their English classes like grammar, form, etc., and b) because the formula 'sells' to hipsters  why bother finding your voice in a classic form or experimenting with other things when you can just 'phone it in' with this one-word-per-line crapfest?

A) none of this is true, and B) do you read contemporary poetry?

I mean this seriously.  Most people who complain about poetry don't actually read it, and then defend their not reading it by saying that there's something wrong with it.

Yes - I do have two contemporary poets that I like and about 60 that were tripe when I read them.  They were pretty much rap lyrics sheets passing as 'poetry'.  I'm not a little kid scrunching up his nose at a new vegetable here, but an actual consumer/connoisseur who knows that yes, art is subjective and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that not everything pounded out by a glasses-and-beret wearing weenie on a macbook air in a starbucks is necessarily 'good'.  A lot of it is just formula posing.


If this is true, and you aren't trolling, would you mind naming the two contemporary poets you like?  I mean this seriously.
 
2013-03-17 11:38:26 PM

Dafatone: See, you're kinda mixing archetypes here.  Do weenies write rap lyrics?  This thread has complaints about line breaks, complaints about prose poetry, and now complaints about rap lyrics.  These things don't intersect.

There's good stuff out there.  Keep looking.


Welcome to the favourites.
 
kab
2013-03-17 11:41:09 PM

Dafatone: I mean this seriously. Most people who complain about poetry don't actually read it, and then defend their not reading it by saying that there's something wrong with it.


Absolutely true, and not just of poetry.
 
2013-03-17 11:45:09 PM

Jaroga: Exactly! And far too frequently, if people encounter "difficult" poetry, instead of grappling with it, asking questions of it, they just deride it.


Or maybe they just recognize that the writers aren't as interesting as they think they are and stop there. Not everybody writes stuff with deep meaning worth examining in depth.

Premeditated_Road_Rage: Yes - I do have two contemporary poets that I like and about 60 that were tripe when I read them. They were pretty much rap lyrics sheets passing as 'poetry'. I'm not a little kid scrunching up his nose at a new vegetable here, but an actual consumer/connoisseur who knows that yes, art is subjective and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that not everything pounded out by a glasses-and-beret wearing weenie on a macbook air in a starbucks is necessarily 'good'. A lot of it is just formula posing.


If you think about the rest of the literary world, I don't really think a 30 hacks to 1 great ratio is that insane. Part of the reason people like to read classics is because only the great stuff sticks around and keeps getting published. We still read Whitman, but there were plenty of other poets back then, and most of them were just good enough to get published, but not good enough to be remembered.
 
2013-03-17 11:46:01 PM

Jaroga: Premeditated_Road_Rage: Dafatone: Premeditated_Road_Rage: For every one 'good' modern poet, there are thirty others using the same form because a) it means that they don't have to remember all of that 'crap' from their English classes like grammar, form, etc., and b) because the formula 'sells' to hipsters  why bother finding your voice in a classic form or experimenting with other things when you can just 'phone it in' with this one-word-per-line crapfest?

A) none of this is true, and B) do you read contemporary poetry?

I mean this seriously.  Most people who complain about poetry don't actually read it, and then defend their not reading it by saying that there's something wrong with it.

Yes - I do have two contemporary poets that I like and about 60 that were tripe when I read them.  They were pretty much rap lyrics sheets passing as 'poetry'.  I'm not a little kid scrunching up his nose at a new vegetable here, but an actual consumer/connoisseur who knows that yes, art is subjective and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that not everything pounded out by a glasses-and-beret wearing weenie on a macbook air in a starbucks is necessarily 'good'.  A lot of it is just formula posing.

If this is true, and you aren't trolling, would you mind naming the two contemporary poets you like?  I mean this seriously.


Yes, things may be getting a bit mixed up here.  I was speaking about the 'modern' poetry that reads more like an abbreviated Twitter feed than actual poetry.  I like plenty of contemporary poets who use classic styles like rhyming couplets, pentameter, etc., but loathe poetry like:

"It's 10:43

My

Balls

Itch.

Nothing good on Netflix

Might

As

Well

Scratch."

It isn't a question of the poetry being 'difficult' - hell, I enjoy Beowulf and Shakespeare in their original language - so don't think that it's me saying anything like "If it's harder to read than Dr. Suess, I'm gonna pout."  It's a question about the poetry being 'good' and most of the contemporary stuff I've read is pure drek like the sample I wrote in this post.  Sure, there may be a handful of fols out there who read my little ode to itchy nards and nod along, saying "I know just how he feels, man...that poem really touches me", but there will be counless others who will look at that poem and say "Thank god I didn't pay for that shiat."

One of my favorite contemporaries is Ben John Smith out of Melbourne, Australia.
 
2013-03-17 11:48:01 PM

Dafatone: This thread has complaints about line breaks,


Who's complaining about line breaks? I'm complaining about people who think they're e.e. cummings.
 
2013-03-17 11:53:53 PM

cptjeff: Jaroga: Exactly! And far too frequently, if people encounter "difficult" poetry, instead of grappling with it, asking questions of it, they just deride it.

Or maybe they just recognize that the writers aren't as interesting as they think they are and stop there. Not everybody writes stuff with deep meaning worth examining in depth.


I never said that every poet writes with "deep meaning;" some, in fact, attempt to refuse meaning for various reasons.

My comment was in reference to people who simply dismiss ALL of contemporary poetry, or avant-garde poetry without approaching it on its own terms.
 
2013-03-17 11:55:22 PM

Premeditated_Road_Rage: I like plenty of contemporary poets who use classic styles like rhyming couplets, pentameter, etc


So what you're saying is that you want to read contemporary poetry that's styled after older poetry. Which is totally cool.  But it doesn't make sense to complain about poetry that doesn't do this, simply because it's different.  It's like complaining about how you hate soccer and would rather watch hockey, instead of just watching hockey (wait... I do this.  But the point still stands.)
 
2013-03-17 11:56:50 PM

Jaroga: cptjeff: Jaroga: Exactly! And far too frequently, if people encounter "difficult" poetry, instead of grappling with it, asking questions of it, they just deride it.

Or maybe they just recognize that the writers aren't as interesting as they think they are and stop there. Not everybody writes stuff with deep meaning worth examining in depth.

I never said that every poet writes with "deep meaning;" some, in fact, attempt to refuse meaning for various reasons.


This.  "Meaning" often never enters the picture.  If you don't like that, that's cool, you can like what you like.  But a lot of poets aren't writing with "meaning" in mind, and just holding their stuff up and yelling about how it's trying too hard to be "difficult" to "understand" kinda sidesteps what's actually going on.
 
2013-03-18 12:01:22 AM

Dafatone: Premeditated_Road_Rage: I like plenty of contemporary poets who use classic styles like rhyming couplets, pentameter, etc

So what you're saying is that you want to read contemporary poetry that's styled after older poetry. Which is totally cool.  But it doesn't make sense to complain about poetry that doesn't do this, simply because it's different.  It's like complaining about how you hate soccer and would rather watch hockey, instead of just watching hockey (wait... I do this.  But the point still stands.)


Exactly what I was saying earlier: "Art is subjective" and "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" - I'm not disputing that or arguing that my taste should be the norm.  Just saying, as a fellow writer, that there are a lot of people out there in the poetry game following the 'what sells' formula (like the classic artist commercialization conundrum) and it *shows* in their work.  I can't remember the writer's name, but his whole poetry book read like he was randomly flipping through a dictionary and throwing words in there just to make a deadline.  Read some of his 'unpublished' works on Helium and the unpublished stuff was like 1000x better.  I do recall he was self-published as well, so I am pretty sure it wasn't a bix six house that butchered his work before it went to print.
 
2013-03-18 12:03:07 AM

Premeditated_Road_Rage: that there are a lot of people out there in the poetry game following the 'what sells' formula (like the classic artist commercialization conundrum) and it *shows* in their wor


No poetry sells.
 
2013-03-18 12:04:17 AM

Dafatone: Premeditated_Road_Rage: that there are a lot of people out there in the poetry game following the 'what sells' formula (like the classic artist commercialization conundrum) and it *shows* in their wor

No poetry sells.


My book hasn't been a NYT #1 blockbuster, but it has sold.
 
2013-03-18 12:06:22 AM

Dafatone: I never said that every poet writes with "deep meaning;" some, in fact, attempt to refuse meaning for various reasons.

This. "Meaning" often never enters the picture. If you don't like that, that's cool, you can like what you like.



I just don't like it when there's no there there. It doesn't have to be some big universal thing about the fate of the human race, but when I read something, I want it to be something that makes me smarter or wiser. If it doesn't do that, why are you writing it and why am I reading it?
 
2013-03-18 12:13:51 AM

Premeditated_Road_Rage: One of my favorite contemporaries is Ben John Smith out of Melbourne, Australia.


Okay, I just read a few pieces by Smith.  I would argue that his work is free-verse lyric (even confessional) poetry.  The kind of work that people are lambasting in this thread is not the work that Smith is writing; his work is a part of the "official verse culture."

If you enjoy that kind of poetry, fantastic.  I'm all for people enjoying poetry of whatever flavour.  However, I think it is rather disingenuous and perhaps small-minded to criticize other poets for not doing what you expect from poetry.  I don't mean this to pick a fight, just to promote discussion.
 
2013-03-18 12:39:04 AM

cptjeff: Dafatone: I never said that every poet writes with "deep meaning;" some, in fact, attempt to refuse meaning for various reasons.

This. "Meaning" often never enters the picture. If you don't like that, that's cool, you can like what you like.


I just don't like it when there's no there there. It doesn't have to be some big universal thing about the fate of the human race, but when I read something, I want it to be something that makes me smarter or wiser. If it doesn't do that, why are you writing it and why am I reading it?


I understand that; I really do.  It's just that sometimes, some work refuses traditional methods of meaning-making in order to help make the reader smarter and wiser.  It can be intimidating--and I am often intimidated by it--but actually engaging with the poetry on its own terms can be quite liberating.
 
2013-03-18 12:59:07 AM

Dafatone: Premeditated_Road_Rage: that there are a lot of people out there in the poetry game following the 'what sells' formula (like the classic artist commercialization conundrum) and it *shows* in their wor

No poetry sells.


A Poverty of Objects?
 
2013-03-18 03:24:49 AM

cptjeff: mrlewish: Poetry sucks!

Read this and get back to me.


Shoulda linked to "alone" his most powerful poem IMHO
 
2013-03-18 05:40:40 AM
The poet stands firmly within the lines
All the while dead grass clutches
Beneath his thin rubber worn sneakers

The clouds play symphonies
In a key of gray
Yet the poet missed
The sunlight, for the sake of syntax

He cares not for an image
Although his line breaks form one
Useless gestures place a puzzle
Within it's own pieces
Think of the reader, Jesus!
 
2013-03-18 07:35:54 PM
Art which requires a context that the audience does not have in order to be appreciated is art created either by an arsehole or an idiot.

That being said, poetry suffers from only being the realm of poets and (especially) of theorists.

Form is there to support meaning.

When the form BECOMES the meaning, then you're just masturbating in a circle.

As sometimes-annoying as that bearded guy's 'ooh I was bullied' poem is, people are actually paying attention to it because it's trying to evoke emotion and/or tell a story.

Which are the two main goals of any art that actually matter.

Shakespeare, Homer, Dante will live forever because, while intricate and genius in form and style, they're telling stories.  Poetry needs to tell stories or inspire emotion - if it doesn't, for whatever verbal pyrotechnics there might be, it's empty.

When the structure itself becomes the story, the art itself actually has no story, and people - even smart, cultured ones - don't give a crap.

Sure, art needs to be shaken up by experimentation in order to remain new and relevant - but when the experimentation itself becomes the goal and meaning of the art, there's no there there.
 
2013-03-18 08:11:55 PM

sweatybronson: Art which requires a context that the audience does not have in order to be appreciated is art created either by an arsehole or an idiot.


But all art requires a context.  We have to be trained to enjoy traditional poetic forms, most of which, at one time, were experimental.     To appreciate a sonnet, it is necessary to know its major variations, to identify metrical variation, to know rhyme schemes, and so on.  To  appreciate fully a free-verse confessional poem, events of the poet's life must be known, often the more intimate the better.  If we want poetry whose context is entirely accessible to everyone, then wouldn't that mean that the "best" poetry would be limericks and poetry based on sit-coms?

sweatybronson: When the form BECOMES the meaning, then you're just masturbating in a circle.


But when we're talking about poetry, we're always talking about form.  Any poem means through its form, or else why not just write a short story.

sweatybronson: As sometimes-annoying as that bearded guy's 'ooh I was bullied' poem is, people are actually paying attention to it because it's trying to evoke emotion and/or tell a story.


Clearly, the poetry you claim is just a circle jerk has provoked an emotional response from you.

sweatybronson: Sure, art needs to be shaken up by experimentation in order to remain new and relevant - but when the experimentation itself becomes the goal and meaning of the art, there's no there there.


I find it quite amusing that two people have used the phrase "there's no there there" in defence of traditional poetry when this phrase was coined by Stein herself.

I certainly wouldn't disparage anyone reading traditional poetry; even though much of it I fined tired and hackneyed, I too enjoy reading it.  However, that does not seem true of the other side of the poetry wars.  "That's not poetry!"  "My kid could have done that!" seem to be the rallying cry from the other side.  I guess I just don't get the hate.  Nobody reads poetry, anyway, so why is there such vitriolic hatred coming from the traditionalists?

Thanks for the thoughtful response, sweaty.
 
2013-03-18 08:20:10 PM

Jaroga: Nobody reads poetry, anyway, so why is there such vitriolic hatred coming from the traditionalists?


Precisely.

If you read contemporary poetry and think that experimentation is a masturbatory circle, okay, cool.  I can respect that.

If you don't read contemporary poetry, but you still have an opinion as to what poetry needs to do so that people read it, no.
 
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