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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2014

POETRY - WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR

Jackson

2008-12-23 22:12:33

Arts & Entertainment

"I love poetry". This statement is similar to the statement "I love women"; I do love women, but not boring, unintelligent, self-conscious women. I love women when they are intelligent, fit, confident, funny etcetera...

So, "I love poetry". The poetry I like is inspiring, thought provoking, imaginative, rich in detail and philosophical. I dislike poetry which is none of these things. Modern and postmodern poetry sounds like many elided words, generated at random and thrown together like a batch of stone soup. I read a poem today which had a line in it like:


Black marker on my opening
sad tears from the place
running gets us closer
but
never where we were


Well: what the hell does this mean? This type of poetry can best be described as 'writing which means more to the writer than any possible perspective reader', except where we allow art's value to be the interpretations it inspires, regardless of its intent. That line could mean many things to many people; does it mean anything related to what the author intended? Not usually! Creating poetry like this is achievable by a computer program...

Random Sentence Generator

Postmodern Text Generator

If you follow that link and look at the pseudo-postmodern nightmare created by an unthinking machine, it should be hard for you to endorse poetry which is functionally equivalent to randomly compiled impressions (I will write some random poetry to demonstrate; I wouldn't really call it writing though). The difference between a poet and a robot is that a poet can feel and choose; if none of the poet's actual feelings and choices survive the convoluted nature of their poetry, then to the audience, they might as well be a recursive transition network.

That is my point, what follow are simply examples:

The poetry I do not like is vague, obscure, and generally reads like the diary entry of an autistic child. I have a friend with Asperger syndrome who keeps a journal. It is a fantastic read because it is filled with all sorts of fantastic perspectives and unique points of view on everyday occurrences. Here is an example:


I only did 11 Sodukos today and I have 55 left in my book. I did not start a 12 one, because I didn’t want to do 12 if I could not do 13.

We stopped in a place called La Crosse, WI (2*107). Xander brought me dinner and laid out my clothes for tomorrow.

Tuesday October 23

Today is the 296 (2*2*2*37) day of the year and my 5 day in the van.

I took out a black pawn.

I woke up early. I waited until the clock said 5:07 (307 minute of the day) and then I got up, and I cleaned up, and I looked and my binder and worked on some codes, but there was nothing new for me to work on. Xander brought me breakfast, later and then we got into the van, and I sat in the same seat.

I took a white multivitamin with my lunch, and I have 64 (2*2*2*2*2*2) left.

I did 17 Sodukos today. I have 38 Sodukos left.

We stopped in a place called Davenport, IA (2*2*2*2*2*7). After dinner, Xander laid out my clothes for tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 24

Today is the 297 (3*3*3*11) day of the year and my 6 (2*3) day in the van.

I took out a black knight.

Xander brought me ham and eggs for breakfast, and then we got in the van, and I sat in the same seat. After lunch I took a white multivitamin pill and I have 63 (3*3*7) left.

I did 13 Sodukos today, I have 25 left. One of them had a cascade.

We stopped in a place called Terre Haute, IN (2*2*3*3*7). After dinner, Xander laid out my clothes for tomorrow.

Thursday, October 25

Today is 298 (2*149) day of the year and my 7 day in the van.

I took out a white pawn.

Xander brought me oatmeal for breakfast, but he had put blue in it, so it was okay to eat. We got in to the van and I sat in the same seat and Xander sat next to me. After lunch I took a white multivitamin pill and I have 62 (2*31) left. I did 11 Sodukos today. I have 14 left in this book.

We stopped in a place called Huntington, WV (5*59). After dinner Xander laid out my clothes for tomorrow.


This is poetic. The repetition of "Xander laid out my clothes for me" is like the refrain of a poem, while the device of "bringing out a " is a natural occurance of poetic repetition and variation on a theme. Much of the detail in this entry is unclear, though, because we have no point of reference for it. As interesting as this material is, it ought not be presented as art in and of itself, because it doesn't express anything except to the informed reader (The Author).

Here is another example. A friend of mine with a learning disability (a very mild one) wrote me this note today:

WHAT ARE YOU MIN?

I NOT WWORKING AT (deleted reference) FOR TWO MNTH.

I AM GOIUNG TO MISS NOT WORKIN WHIT YOU.

TAK TO YOU LITER.

GOOD BOY


The creative use of spelling and capitalization reminds me of e.e.cummings or Irvine Welsh. Still, this is not poetry, but rather a very touching message from a friend. This note has no artistic significance, except to me.

A final example is something that Alamir said to me, when he was trying to demonstrate what an irrefutable argument might sound like:

Red, black, blue, green, bam-bam-bam; five salad shakes!! (there are two exclamations because that is the number of times he pounded his fists in the air after saying this gem)

Again, poetic devices are implemented, but this is not art. Please dear God do not let this be art.
Comments

Alamir

Alamir

2008-12-23 23:02:23

This is brilliant, mostly because it cites me in the conclusion as if I'm a good point to end with.

Sorrel

Sorrel

2008-12-24 01:53:56

I didn't read the whole thing but I have to say there are gems amoung the rubble: pound, Rilke etc. This whole piece is as synical as your pretentious attitude towards women... I'll argue with you later when I'm not fighting with my keyboard. Ciao.

Jackson

Jackson

2008-12-24 02:29:35

Cynical? Because I like intelligence and beauty and confidence?

It isn't pretentious (root word - pretense, as in pretend) if I really believe it!



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