Poetry

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Well I for one would be thrilled to Seriously Discuss some poetry. I adore Blake’s stuff, bonker as he was.

Food for thought, Tyger is much more famous then it’s companion piece, the strangely absent here Lamb. All the poems in “Songs of Innocence and Experience” were paired in a complementary binary schema. I’d suggest that they’re about the struggle to reconcile our moral systems with the nature of the world and the notion of a judeo christian God.

Lamb/Tyger posit Vulnerability and Cruelty to divine order and intention.

 
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Originally posted by Ungeziefer:

All the poems in “Songs of Innocence and Experience” were paired in a complementary binary schema. I’d suggest that they’re about the struggle to reconcile our moral systems with the nature of the world and the notion of a judeo christian God.

Lamb/Tyger posit Vulnerability and Cruelty to divine order and intention.

Since ya put it that way….so would I.
 
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Originally posted by Ungeziefer:

Well I for one would be thrilled to Seriously Discuss some poetry.

your wish is my command… have at it :)

 
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Originally posted by thepunisher52:
Originally posted by thepunisher52:
Originally posted by thepunisher52:

Are you aware Punisher, of this new-fangled invention called the ‘edit post’ button? It might be a good idea to try using that rather than triple posting to correct your own grammar mistakes, and repost ‘arguments’ that the mod has already deleted once.

 
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Originally posted by Ungeziefer:

Well I for one would be thrilled to Seriously Discuss some poetry. I adore Blake’s stuff, bonker as he was.

Food for thought, Tyger is much more famous then it’s companion piece, the strangely absent here Lamb. All the poems in “Songs of Innocence and Experience” were paired in a complementary binary schema. I’d suggest that they’re about the struggle to reconcile our moral systems with the nature of the world and the notion of a judeo christian God.

Lamb/Tyger posit Vulnerability and Cruelty to divine order and intention.

I guess we’ll take this as the OP.

I haven’t read much of Blake; I have songs of innocence but I haven’t cracked it yet. Most of what I know about him actually comes from the graphic novel written by Alan Moore, From Hell, which was also a shitty johnny depp movie. The comic book has a section where one of the protagonists describes the architecture of London in Occultist terms, and Blake figures prominently as a sort of high priest of London’s blue prints. This is a pretty good summarization of it, and also talks about other parallels Blake and Moore might have.

I gotta say that while I enjoyed reading and studying poetry while I was in college, I hardly ever read anymore. Possibly because poetry, or most of it, isn’t as easily accessible as a novel, so whereas it’s a valid complaint that literature courses suck all the life out of reading novels, with poetry, school instruction serves as a pretty helpful reading aid, or at least a motivational tool to read something you’d otherwise avoid. Or that might just be my own biases towards novels as a superior medium. For example, I have no problem reading a novel on the bus to work, or during breaks, even a ‘classic’, but not poetry. It’s almost as bad as philosophy (even listening to CBC’s Massey Lectures on the bus is hard to concentrate on). I think I tried reading Julius Caesar / Antony and Cleopatra for the first time after I was already out of college, and I found both of them impenetrable. I actually have a better idea what either of them are about from my friends discussing them at the campus pub then I do from my own reading knowledge.

But conversely, one of my hobbies lately has been to try to find time once a day and transcribe some poetry, by hand, into a little journal to carry around with me. I had made one during a modernist poetry course and liked it so much that I brought it overseas with me, and then lost it. It’s like…filling up an ipod with songs, only it’s a more time-consuming process. When I (eventually) go back I won’t have the space to lug big heavy anthologies in my luggage, so it’ll be handy to have. And, while I don’t read much poetry at home, I did read a lot in Korea, whatever I brought with me, if simply because there was a scarcity of English reading material on hand. I had an e-reader with me, but it’s just not the same. And you can make notes in a journal, so that’s also useful.

 
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Originally posted by Jantonaitis:

I gotta say that while I enjoyed reading and studying poetry while I was in college, I hardly ever read anymore. Possibly because poetry, or most of it, isn’t as easily accessible as a novel, so whereas it’s a valid complaint that literature courses suck all the life out of reading novels, with poetry, school instruction serves as a pretty helpful reading aid, or at least a motivational tool to read something you’d otherwise avoid. Or that might just be my own biases towards novels as a superior medium.

I don’t think putting poems in novels particularly helps. When I was younger, I read through most of the Dragonlance novels, after getting the first one, the 600-odd page Dragons of Autumn Twilight as a hardcopy ‘backstory pamphlet’ included as part of the printed materials (there was another book besides that one, more of a sourcebook) alongside the tapes for a TSR videogame I was bought. (Showing my age there, more than a bit).

The Dragonlance novels, like a lot of ‘high fantasy’, tended to include poems as chapter headings and intersperced liberally throughout the books other than at the start of chapters. I always tended to eschew these poems, leaping past them to consume the far-more-interesting next piece of the story. The poems broke the flow of the imaginary landscape inside my head, that the words of the books were drawing, so they were little more than an irritating hindrance to the escapism the book provided.

So even including poems inside a novel itself, is not likely to be a successful tactic I would say, especially if the story itself is really interesting. They might work for a less riveting novel, but if the story isn’t capturing your imagination, you’re not likely to read it through anyway.

 
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I don’t think putting poems in novels particularly helps.

You seem to have misread me because I said nothing at all like that. I agree with you – I hated reading through the poetry in LOTR – but it’s not what I was getting at.

 
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Janto,

I haven’t read much of Blake; I have songs of innocence but I haven’t cracked it yet. Most of what I know about him actually comes from the graphic novel written by Alan Moore, From Hell, which was also a shitty johnny depp movie.

Well one of the things I’d really stress with Blake as well is to consider his visual pieces. He was very much a multi media guy, and although his paintings/prints are not always spectacular (and borderline Michelangelo plagarism sometimes.) they have a very potent feeling to them that I feel informs his written words quite well. Also if you’re interested in analogues between psychadelica/insanity/genius he is an excellent go to guy. His Songs series is his perhaps most accessible works. He goes pretty John The Revelator in a big way outside of that. Proverbs Of Hell is beautiful, and almost Twain’ian.

I still really need to read From Hell. Since Swamp Thing I was meaning to go into a Moore phase, but distracted by Morrison’s The Invisibles and have been wading through his stuff of late. Also, highly recommend that.

As far as poetry as a general field, if you’re looking for something to whet your teeth on I’d recommend Bukowski’s poetry. Very iconoclastic to the high school sort of conception of poetry, it’s brief, butch, vulgar and at times crushingly poignant.

Transcribing poetry sounds like a wonderful idea. Back in my artist days I got really into the process of transcription as a ritual, and it’s effect upon the operator and their relationship to the material. It seems like a good way to really build an immediate affinity and sympathy for the work.

-Also, good lord thank you so much for this Imagetext website!

 
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Also if you’re interested in analogues between psychadelica/insanity/genius he is an excellent go to guy. His Songs series is his perhaps most accessible works. He goes pretty John The Revelator in a big way outside of that. Proverbs Of Hell is beautiful, and almost Twain’ian.

Definitely need to put it to the top of my poetry priorities list.

As far as poetry as a general field, if you’re looking for something to whet your teeth on I’d recommend Bukowski’s poetry. Very iconoclastic to the high school sort of conception of poetry, it’s brief, butch, vulgar and at times crushingly poignant.

He’s been recommended to me before. Another yet-to-read. I’ll match you that with Charles Olson, a near-contemporary of Bukowski’s. He wrote in a similar style, a big bundle of poems called The Maximus poems which have something to do with New England and are a mess to slog through (it was for a class). What I like about him is more his prose stuff on poetry, like a poetry notebook. Try his Projective Verse

-Also, good lord thank you so much for this Imagetext website!

Yeah, it was a lucky find. Say, if you’re interested in Moore and Watchmen (and haven’t had it ruined by the movie / prequel comics, you might also like this. It’s a little unintuitive, but if you’ve screwed around with hypertext novels before it should be easy to figure out.

 
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Originally posted by Jantonaitis:

I don’t think putting poems in novels particularly helps.

You seem to have misread me because I said nothing at all like that. I agree with you – I hated reading through the poetry in LOTR – but it’s not what I was getting at.

My apologies then, because I thought you were saying that because novels are a superior format to books of poetry that poems should be included in works of prose to make them more accessible. (I agree with them being a superior format; they have a continuation of presence that makes it much easier to build up a mental picture without reading the material over and over carefully)

Instead all that happens if they become something to find and read only when you have absorbed everything else that was written about the story of those characters, and only if you find yourself actively seeking more when all else is exhausted. To read poetry you have to be in the mood for poetry; foisting it off as an easter egg inside a larger work rarely works well. There I think we agree.

 
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Projective verse seems quite, quite interesting. Beautiful dynamism to it – which is a strange thing for poetry. Really gets into temporal relations and quandaries. Questions of when/how something is written, in what manner does it progress, change, extend itself into being. And then so also on reception. Same deal with reception. I also find adopting the breath and syllable as basic units interesting in it’s relation to reading/speaking and mental/physical respectively. If no one is literally orating, do we still pace on breaths? Do we read or think upon that measure when it isn’t imposed?

Olson suggests that the ear “-has the mind’s speed.” Which I’m not sure I agree with at all, but is an interesting notion. Also find it strange that it doesn’t seem to refer to any of the Dada or Futurist poetry at the time, which were very focused upon very similar structural ideas. I wonder if that is just a question of exposure at the time.

The process of revision and editing within these temporal boundaries also piqued my interest. It reminded me of a quote I’ll have to paraphrase since I couldn’t find of the original, ‘to edit is to destroy the work and deceive the reader’ by W. Burroughs, or something to that effect.

Kind of writing as I am reading here, apologize if it’s a little disorganized. Really super interesting to see him acknowledging the effect of the typewriter on poetry. Incredibly perceptive, and and hyper relevant to our modern age. Examining our writing tools impact on what/how is written, our reading tools impact on what what/how is read. Marvelous. Very strange how he thinks it sets up a perfect transmission in pacing however. He also comments on the expanded set of punctuation and notation, of the introduction of the “/” slash into poetry, and how that is written and read. Wild.

His examination between breath, thought, and beginnings/endings, is also startlingly in line with “ohm” (a breath, a beginning, an end) in meditative practices. Also occurs with an interesting look at Western conceptions of self and ego destruction through poetry.

Was also lovely that he seemed to be applying his poetic principles, in part, to his prose expounding them. A lovely read, thanks Janto :D

As for The Watchmen as abominable as the movie was I can’t say it ruined it for me. The prequels I had enough sense to stay away from, fortunately. I may have to give it a reread with this.

 
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I have the view that poetry purists generally focus too much on techniques and less on the overall enjoyment of the poem. Not every good poem is a classic. In fact, those “young man from Nantucket” limericks probably entertained more people than classic poetry- from a pure entertainment perspective, those limericks would score quite highly.

As for technique… personally, I’ve always loved e.e cummings’ use of blank space as pauses. It lands a childish, jumpy rhythm to poems like In Just-, which suits the theme perfectly (as a side note, In Just- ties with ’Tis the Voice of the Lobster for the place of favorite poem in my mind).