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  #21  
Old 01-05-2018, 05:59 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Yes, reading the essay Sam links to, it seems fairly similar in tone to our discussion in this thread. I've still not seen any Rupi Kaur; for my part, I'm more interested in Ocean Vuong, who seems to be judging more than one poetry competition these days. I've now read a little of Vuong's work and am not yet inspired.

Cheers,
John

Update: I just came across Vuong's "Someday I'll Love Ocean Vuong", which I like a good deal. So there's that.

Update II: Frank O'Hara's "Katy": "Some day I’ll love Frank O’Hara." Well, that was my favorite bit of the Vuong poem.

Last edited by John Isbell; 01-06-2018 at 10:28 AM.
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  #22  
Old 01-05-2018, 06:26 AM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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Susan and Andrew (above),

But her poetry just isn't very good, and no amount of worrying whether her audience are being patronised by highbrow critics will change that.
Hey Mark. I hear what your saying. Where her work stands on the poetry scale doesn't interest me so I wasn't commenting on that. I don't get much out of quite a lot of poetry that other people great value in so I figure to each their own and focus on what I do find powerful and try to underline that. Unless there are ideas in the poetry that I think are rotten. I wasn't *worried* about her audience being patronized. I just think the idea that the supposed caliber of her art indicates something ingenuous or fleeting in what she seems to be part of triggering in some folks suspect. I definitely wasn't responding to mostly respectful and reasoned comments in this thread here, just to be clear. I missed Walter's post which was a good one.

More importantly, is it really her style or form that makes her work unsuitable for learning from? I think if you had ten thousand students honesty try to write in what they take as her style and her form you would find quite a bit of poetry in the results. It would be based on the images, lexicon, and energy that the various individuals accessed while playing in her shoes. Neither the form or the style would have changed in any easily articulated way. I think what people are objecting to, in most of the comments outside here, are what images she finds moving, especially how common some of these images are. Like these critics, I lose the ability to be moved by too familiar of an array of image and word. Does that mean I am more sensitive to what is powerful in our Under or less so? Am I arguing for exalting the cliche? Nope. Just admitting that something is interesting in the whole picture to me and that I don't quite know what it means.

Last edited by Andrew Mandelbaum; 01-05-2018 at 06:44 AM.
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  #23  
Old 01-06-2018, 10:02 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Surely the only thing that should matter is 'are the poems any good? Is it good art?' Nobody on the thread has actually tried to engage with them, for very good reason. They're really poor. I urge anybody who hasn't already to read the actual poems I linked to. Any other discussion is just sociological babble. I'm reminded of a Bill Hicks stand-up routine from 1990 on another piece of zeitgeisty pop-culture:

'You know I saw this movie this year called er, 'Basic Instinct'. Okay now. Bill's quick capsule review: Piece-of-Shit. Okay now. Yeah, yeah, end of story by the way. Don't get caught up in that fevered hype phoney fucking debate about that Piece-of-Shit movie. "Is it too sexist, is it ironic, and what about the movies, are they becoming too dddddddd." You're, you're just confused, you don't get, you've forgotten how to judge correctly. Take a deep breath, look at it again. "Oh it's a Piece-of-Shit!" Exactly, that's all it is. "But Bill, is it too, what about the lesbian connot.. ddddd." You're, you're getting really baffled here. Piece-of-Shit! Now walk away. That's all it is, it's nothing more! Free yourself folks, if you see it, Piece-of-Shit, say it and walk away. You're right! You're right! Not those fuckers who want to tell you how to think! You're fucking right!!'

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 01-06-2018 at 12:05 PM.
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  #24  
Old 01-06-2018, 10:24 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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That is an incisive review.

John
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  #25  
Old 01-06-2018, 10:31 AM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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Surely the only thing that should matter is 'are the poems any good? Is it good art?'
Why?

If interest in the experience young folks seem to have with her words and their form is just the sociological babble part of who/what she/her work than you already have all the answers. I have a young daughter who reads Rilke and Kaur and finds poetry in both. She makes me laugh much than Bill Hicks and has a better grasp of the human condition than he had on his best day. But I am partial, and think cynics are bores.

I found some sections of her stuff I liked. I like her better than T.S. Elliot.

Last edited by Andrew Mandelbaum; 01-06-2018 at 10:34 AM.
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  #26  
Old 01-06-2018, 10:47 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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As I said, I do not like her poetry. I also find her persona to be manufactured by the worst the internet has to offer: droves of easy listeners who want to feel good fast.

Some do derive meaning from her words but I wonder about those people...

Just seeing Andrew M.'s thoughts... You can't be serious! This is not good poetry. If subjectivity is your only excuse for calling all art good just because it's art, then there is no such thing as art. Still, I give you a tiny sliver of recognition, Andrew, because, as Rupi might say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
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  #27  
Old 01-06-2018, 10:56 AM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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Am I serious about liking her better than Elliot or about my daughter being cooler than Bill Hicks?

With such an important thread as this one, with so much on the line regarding our own work and lives, we should be precise.



What Julie's first post said.
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  #28  
Old 01-06-2018, 11:05 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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I'm glad this has generated discussion.

I'm of Mark's mind here that her poetry isn't good. I take that for granted: Julie's point about how she enjoyed it more than other poetry best-sellers doesn't contradict it, only to show how bad many of the best-selling poetry books often are. Actually, much like Walter's point, she doesn't bother me: she's earnest, intelligent, and getting to live a life I'd be lying if I wasn't a bit jealous of. (Writing and reading poetry all day? Sign me up.) She's earned it.

For me, these bits are besides the point (though I almost spit my coffee out when Andrew M. said he liked her more than Eliot). I'm wondering if there's some lesson we can glean from her work. Is what makes her work popular necessarily that it's mediocre and cliché? Or is it that there's an element of therapy to it for her readers--it's self help, of sorts. I've been thinking a lot recently about art as something "useful," and my distaste for poetry that isn't an end in itself, like people should be. I'm thinking popular poetry inevitably has to be a means to some other end.*

Also, I think the comparison to Voung and others is instructive, and that's another part of the question, I think. How do those of us outside the traditional academic power structure (no MFA or university job) find an audience?

(*Certainly I'm aware that great poetry has been made with the express goal of making money--this is probably a different conversation.)

Last edited by Andrew Szilvasy; 01-06-2018 at 11:08 AM.
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  #29  
Old 01-06-2018, 11:35 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Andrew,

I really like you. But so many non sequiturs.

'Why?'

Why is the actual quality of the poems written by somebody who has sold hundreds of thousands of books an important discussion point? For people on a poetry workshop site it seems like a pretty good question to me.

'If interest in the experience young folks seem to have with her words and their form is just the sociological babble part of who/what she/her work than you already have all the answers.'

This sentence makes no sense.

'I have a young daughter who reads Rilke and Kaur and finds poetry in both.'

Good for her. So what?

'She makes me laugh much than Bill Hicks and has a better grasp of the human condition than he had on his best day.'

Again, so what? What point are you making? Obviously our family members make us laugh in ways that writers and comedians can't. I'm not setting Bill Hicks up as a great sage. I'm not even a huge fan. I just remembered the routine and thought it was funny and apposite to this topic.

'But I am partial, and think cynics are bores.'

Andrew S started this thread, presumably with the intention of gleaning some opinions on Rupi Kaur. My honest opinion is that her poetry isn't very good. At all. She seems very nice and sincere and non-affected and unpretentious as a person. I don't mind or begrudge her popularity one iota. Bad art is popular. 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is a best-seller. 'Transformers' movies are box-office hits. I don't understand your definition of 'cynic' here. I'm far from cynical.

'I like her better than T.S. Elliot.'

I assume you're joking. If not, good luck with that.

Edit: cross-posted with about three people ha!

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 01-06-2018 at 11:40 AM.
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  #30  
Old 01-06-2018, 11:41 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Andrew, I'll take you at your word about your daughter and Bill Hicks. But I was referring to Eliot. However, I defer to you on that as well. Just so long as you don't consider her as having the poetic abilities of Eliot. And that is the real point you're making, I suppose.

My point is that Rupi will have her 15 minutes of fame and it won't be because she is a poet. She is an internet sensation.
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