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  #11  
Unread 07-18-2019, 09:15 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Jake,

I agree. I think trying to please everyone is a pretty sure path to aesthetic failure.

Cheers,
John
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  #12  
Unread 07-19-2019, 02:08 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Keep 'my' Jake, for sure. I think the poem there turns to the speaker. And that works so well. It was distant, sharp observation to that point, but that moment of personal identification is dynamite.
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  #13  
Unread 07-19-2019, 03:25 PM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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"They see the work done to make what is clear, opaque."

I think that is a common misconception about poetry that seems obscure at first glance. Of course, it is possible. But are there not things to say which are not clear, and not transparent in and of themselves? And isn't poetry then the ideal tool for such saying? The literalist will try to reduce all difficulties by getting at the "meaning" behind the words. But often such reductive messages effectively kill the messenger. Language that is slightly askew is perhaps the only way to express the inexpressible. And so much is inexpressible! It makes poetry an enormous task, as big as being!

Though we have a word for emotion, it is not a thing that we can place on a table under a sharp light and all agree on what we are looking at. For me, poetry is an art of impressions, and the techniques by which we make them vary wildly. Sometimes they are like footsteps in wet cement, those impressions, and they harden--and we can follow their path easily. But not always. One of the best things we can say of a poem is that the techniques used are particularly appropriate to the poem, though they may not work for every poem. Indeed letting the poem itself choose its own manner of expression is key, as opposed to imposing rules on it from outside.

"I want "red shadows the avenue" to have literal meaning."

To use the such a manifestly literal approach to all and sundry poems, and to reject out of hand any poems that do not play by those rules, well, that seems to do damage to poetic resonance. And here that resonance is everything.

Nemo
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  #14  
Unread 07-19-2019, 04:09 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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I think red shadows is in the general area of sure, ok. Certainly the sky is red sometimes. Imo, the strength of the poem comes from the observer. Also, how do you get a McDonald's shake in the morning? Is that possible? That sounds pretty good about now
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  #15  
Unread 07-19-2019, 06:50 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hmm. Well, Talleyrand once wrote, “La parole a été donnée à l’homme pour cacher sa pensée.” It’s a point of view. It’s certainly possible, and perhaps easier, to write poetry without worrying about literally meaning anything. That’s not my aesthetic choice, as I argue in some detail upthread.

Cheers,
John

Last edited by John Isbell; 07-19-2019 at 06:57 PM. Reason: POV
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  #16  
Unread 07-19-2019, 09:17 PM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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John, you speak as if literal meaning were the only kind of meaning. Are there not things that are perfectly real that cannot be pointed to, cannot be analyzed, cannot be conventionally notated. Your dismissal of any but one kind of meaning, and your characterization of capturing such elusive states of significance as "easy" is a disappointingly mundane manifesto. Your easier remark thus slyly characterize your supposedly neutral "aesthetic choice" as the superior one, the more difficult one. But the argument could be made that too often that choice involves simply stating the obvious, and then shoe-horning it into meter and rhyme to give it pretty pseudo-poetic clothing. It can work, on occasion, but often it does not. A lot of different approaches often do not work, especially when one holds on to them dogmatically and repeats them ad infinitum.

Nemo
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  #17  
Unread 07-19-2019, 09:26 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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"A lot of different approaches often do not work, especially when one holds on to them dogmatically and repeats them ad infinitum."
Yes. I agree with this somewhat unobjectionable statement, as I understand it, 100%. This is why I state my aesthetic choice, as I do, as my choice. Other people, such as yourself, Nemo, should do exactly as they see fit in art. Please do so! As I also note upthread, trying to please everyone is a sure path to aesthetic failure.

Cheers,
John
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  #18  
Unread 07-19-2019, 09:34 PM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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My point was that you had to add that little aside that the choice that wasn't yours was easier. It was not a neutral statement.
And it was you who characterized your original comments as a "manifesto". That word invites rebuttal.

Nemo
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  #19  
Unread 07-19-2019, 09:37 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Quite so! Indeed it wasn't. That is my point of view. My manifesto, if you like. But I'm not here to oblige others to sign up to it. It's a free country.

Cheers,
John
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  #20  
Unread 07-20-2019, 12:40 AM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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This isn't pointed at you, John, though this reminds me of something I've given some thought to. When it comes to critique, I think it should be less of what do I Iike personally, as a reader and writer, and more of what is the poet trying to do and how can he/she do it better. (Not that you throw taste out the window. That's important too and you can have a healthy debate about it. It's just a matter of degree, emphasis.)
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