Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #21  
Old 09-15-2017, 02:10 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 952
Default

Hi Matt,

That's my favorite Geoffrey Hill poem. Like the Wallace Stevens I posted earlier, I find it quite specific, though the opening sentence is paratactic and lacks a verb. The two are often called difficult, which is perhaps not the same thing as obscure. Aaron N makes a nice point about beauty before understanding, and since I think many Americans won't know Hill, it seemed worth posting a short poem of his which exemplifies that for me. French has an expression tiré par les cheveux, or sophistical perhaps, which a teacher I knew called capillotracté. That is when art loses me: sophomoric obscurity, obscurity for its own sake. Necessary obscurity doesn’t bug me – thus, The Critique of Pure Reason, for instance, as opposed to, say, Jung or Hegel, who seem to like showing off or confusing people. As we all know, it takes a lot of work to be simple. But being as simple as possible is a worthy goal in art as in science.

Cheers,
John
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 09-15-2017, 03:40 PM
Quincy Lehr's Avatar
Quincy Lehr Quincy Lehr is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Posts: 5,265
Default

To what extent should music be melodic? To what extent should painting be representational? And perhaps related, perhaps distinct, to what extent should art cater to my understanding of things/cultural background/etc.? And by "my," I mean of or pertaining to Quincy Lehr. My intent isn't snarkiness at all--regarding my own tastes, there are answers that gainful employment precludes describing, much less defending at length at the moment. Regarding the general question, it depends whether one is Edward Lear vs. Andre Breton vs. Percy Shelley, say.

(And I quite like Hegel as a stylist--and the dialectic is a key concept. It really is.)

Last edited by Quincy Lehr; 09-15-2017 at 03:42 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 09-15-2017, 04:05 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 2,145
Default

Thanks John,

I asked because it seemed pretty straightforward to me, pretty clear what was going on. I guess some of the references might be more obscure to non-Brits: that Offa was king of Mercia in the 8th century, and that the M5 is a major motorway that runs through same territory and so on. I'm not even sure I'd call it a difficult poem. A good one though. And perhaps more complicated in the context of the whole series.

best,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 09-15-2017 at 04:08 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 09-15-2017, 04:26 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: England
Posts: 1,168
Default

I think...

Hmm

I'm not sure yet

It's a very good question. I'll be back.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 09-15-2017, 06:01 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: England
Posts: 1,168
Default

I wrote something very long and dull, but deleted it. It boils down to this: I think every poem deserves to be read at least six times. If it hasn't moved/grabbed me after that, then I move on. There are many many poems I don't 'understand' that I love. Obscurity is not erudition, though. Obscurity can be the pulsing of the heart, not quite believing what it's saying. Erudition can be just showing off....
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 09-15-2017, 06:10 PM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 1,059
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Q View Post
I asked because it seemed pretty straightforward to me, pretty clear what was going on. I guess some of the references might be more obscure to non-Brits...
I was not wholly ignorant as to the MI5 being some highway or motorway in the UK. But supposing I was, it certainly sounds a lot like the major highways I have heard frequently referenced. Like the I-5, the main Interstate main artery that parallels the Pacific from the base of California to Canada. There is an M-I5 in Michigan, for instance. But above all, it is the context that enforces that this is a highway or motorway, when we consider it in the list of other apparently landmark constructions with capital letters
architect of... rampart and ditch, the citadel... Welsh Bridge and the Iron Bridge: contractor to the desirable new estates...’
To say nothing of what Google could tell one.
In short, I did not find this one either difficult or obscure myself. At least not obscure in that I knew a Motorway was being referenced, though I have never driven on it; or a prominent Bridge, though I had never been there myself. That be as it may, I agreed with Offa at the end
‘I liked that,’ said Offa, ‘sing it again.’
Erik

Last edited by Erik Olson; 09-15-2017 at 06:43 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 09-15-2017, 06:19 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 513
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Novick View Post
I may be an oddity in that I keep my heart in my head rather than in my chest, but I find perplexity to be a source of very strong emotions of all valences. And philosophy begins in perplexity, after all...
I'm with you. I was away for a few days with limited internet, but you, Roger, and Quincy said all I would want to say in the earlier posts, and this post in particular hits at a mainline of my poetic thinking. I know wonderful poets who put emotion first, but I also know wonderful poets who don't. By and large, I see myself in the latter camp. Emotion may be there, but it part of the effect rather than the purpose by itself.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 09-16-2017, 04:38 PM
Gail White's Avatar
Gail White Gail White is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Breaux Bridge, LA, USA
Posts: 3,176
Default

Personally, I never get very far into any poem that starts with a phrase like "Complacencies of the peignoir" because I know the pretentiousness is not going to let up.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 09-17-2017, 09:59 AM
Michael Ferris's Avatar
Michael Ferris Michael Ferris is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Kingston, NY and San Francisco, CA
Posts: 712
Default

Not to derail Max’s thread, but Quincy poses fascinating questions. It would be fun (I think) to have a thread on these sometime if we could stay out of political arguments (which I don’t think are such fun -- and I don't mean anything here to be politically provocative). I have nothing to lose professionally from answering, or personally, I hope, so I’d venture this for the nonce:

Painting does not need to be representational. But why can I appreciate late de Kooning, and Rothko and Still, but Twombly and Newman and Pollock leave me pretty cold? Related questions: why do I love Marina Abramovic’s performance art, but most conceptual art elicits a ‘meh’ from me? Why do I adore Warhol, but not Rauschenberg?

Music does not need to be melodic -- I love e.g., Philip Glass. But, for me to like polyphonic music, it seems it must obey the precepts of harmony to some degree. That’s why I dislike serialism or 12-tonal music: to me it is ugly at a 'visceral' level, and the epitome of intellect whelming feeling or emotion in art: indeed, I see it as a predominantly intellectual exercise. BTW Mann’s Doctor Faustus includes his description of the composition process. Is there something innate or 'objective' in the rules of harmony, or are they only learned? I don’t know. It’s a great question. I wonder, though, ex ante, if the question can be finally answered: we’re still arguing in philosophy about whether mathematical objects have 'real' or only 'ideal' existence. But I’m not nearly well-read enough in musical theory (musical philosophy?) to begin to answer the question. And to quote the Eagles: the more I know, it seems the less I understand...

As an aside, I prize JS Bach above all others, and I’m caught on this fugue in B minor from the Well-Tempered Clavier. It seems to me that Bach here anticipates Schoenberg – but he resolves into passages of harmony that are (for me) ecstatic.

Forgive me, Max! I hope this detour isn’t just a tl;dr.

Last edited by Michael Ferris; 09-19-2017 at 06:42 PM. Reason: style; being preciser
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 09-17-2017, 11:48 AM
Orwn Acra's Avatar
Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: NYC
Posts: 1,733
Default

Thanks for the Bach, Michael. These prophetic moments are usually fascinating, even if accidental (by which I mean, one can say Bach anticipated Schoenberg only because Schoenberg later existed; or as Borges wrote: "every writer creates his own precursors"). Anyway, in Beethoven's last piano sonata there is a section that anticipates ragtime (at the 16 minute mark here).
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 7,832
Total Threads: 18,590
Total Posts: 240,114
There are 216 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online