Not the Poem of the Week

Please see On a Guardian poetry blog, scenes from the crumbling old order

[The first comment here by @HerMajesty and @deadgod‘s post survived the censors’ axe, but have been included because of references to them in salvaged posts that were less fortunate. ]

HerMajesty
30 August 2010 2:44PM

The tone reminds me of a list poem I have long since wanted to remember, in Jerome Rothenberg and Pierre Joris’s Poems for the Millennium anthology of Modern and Postmodern Poetry. Volume One: From Fin-de-Siècle to Negritude.

This book is a doorstopper, filled with early experimental ‘modernist’ work (that didn’t do anything for me, being honest), and in it there are two poems (from the many hundreds of pages), that leapt out and gave me a jolt. That I thought were the real thing. Original modern poetry.

One was Listen! by Russian Futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, and the other one is the one I have been wanting to remember for years now. A list poem that has bits of string in there and the color brown, hands and basically lists what’s on a table, and I think it might be by a Belgian poet (tho this could be wrong) and anyway, the tone in this poem by the university lecturer Vona Groarke, made me think of that poem in the Rothernberg/Joris millenium anthology, that I brought into our first Drama Modernism class in the second yr, when Gabby, our university lecturer specializing in the Victorian period, instructed us to bring in a piece of art, that we thought encapsulated what we thought Modernism was. And I brought it in this list poem after spedning the night prior to the lesson, skimming through the Rothenberg/Joris anthology we had as one of our core texts in the poetry module the university lecturer/poet Robert Sheppard has as the holy bible on his course churning out pple like me and Scott Thurston. The radicals of Ormskirk.

It’s erm, ok, innit, Vona’s effort, and a lovely write up by the university lecturer Carol Rumens, who adds a bit of erm, interesting analysis about this erm, poem, being a commentary on Femminism.

I don’t see it myself, as this poet will always be remembered in my mind, for her translation of Art O’Leary I happily paid 20 quid for; got a two minute unload ‘n go in erm, some bookshop on Dawson Street where Gallery Press’s finest titans where erm, selling books.
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HerMajesty
31 August 2010 2:43AM

The most obvious thing to strike us about this poem by the university lecturer and poet Vona Groarke, is that it demonstrates something the university lecturer and poet, Eamon Grennan, wrote of in the Irish Times this Saturday last, about the university lecturer and poet Seamus Heaney’s latest collection:

… how poetry can keep pace with the examined life — with a life informed by deep and firmly held beliefs, and by a kind of tendering skepticism when belief of a traditional kind fails, leaving its residue of presences that must be acknowledged, in a landscape (both imagined and actual) … a mental and physical landscape inhabited by presences taken now as literary forces, but still to be incorporated and relied on.

The languages in Pier, and in Groarke generally, inhabit these literal spaces between spaces, where shallowness and profundity co-exist, whilst exhibiting the metaphysical spaces betwixt spaces that gravity and slightness, competing for our attention, much like

flip-flop over the tarmac past the gangplanked rooted barge, two upended rowboats and trawlers biding time

.. communicate how our interior material consciousness (in the poem), not only mixes the residual with the residential – the afar and the always-at-homey-ness; but seperates the lacking-I narrator’s possibilities, from the ever present wonder-filled everythingness of things generally, I think it’s (obvious and) fair to say – isn’t it?

When the university lecturer Carol Rumens wrote Pier demonstrates how:

… our muscles, extensions of our minds, have “a need for joy”. Fascism exploits that fact, as regretted in the Auden sonnet which provides the poem’s epigraph. But the “sport” here has a different goal. It’s private and it’s fun; an act not of conformity but rebellion

… the echoes with Grennan’s piece are startling and clear. Both university lecturers seem to be investigating the subtleties of speech, what Grennan refers to as ‘historically charged spots of time seen not through a glass darkly but plain and unquestionable as day’, whilst also remaining alert to the conspicuous aspect of language, and in a very interesting and original way that set apart both these university lecturers, from the many thousands of English Literature university lecturers the planet over..

This straightforwardness and lack of pretention by all the university lecturers thus far mentioned, speaking with charm, wit and – most importantly – uncomplicated honesty; means that they collectively acheive a specific density of purpose and unambiguous command of the little surprises, whilst fortifying the larger simplifyings of personal space and public rootedness generally, as pple who connect the dots, cross the tees and make us aware of the small but important connections of space between the spaces in the places where a poem might give rise for a thought to live, rather than waffling on auto-pilot, giving blow-jobs and talking shite about erm, I dunno.
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MassSpectrometer
31 August 2010 11:59PM

Now I aint got no stake here so Im throwin in me five cents as a ditatched observer like.

Yeah fer sure @carolru encourages boostin of herself and her choices. Main apple-waxer is @parisa whos a good gal who posts too darn often like @atf another good gal.

@HerMajesty can be too ad hom, but Des’s readins of pomes is usually the freshest and truest. Hes still learnin his craft like he says but I find his poetic instincts truer than anywun elses. Impossible to predict which way hes gonna jump on any subject and so he has more to do with me comin here than any o’ them other folks. Entertainment’s matchless cos there aint no one like him commentin on lit anywhere else I seen.

That said Des and @atf boostin each other’s bout as borin as posters gangin up on other posters. Wanna have Crips vs Bloods I say, yer wanna get yerself to Lahs Angelayz. Agin, @atf like @Parisa also too fond of the sound of her own voice.

Gets to where comin here feels like the @carolru @atf n @parisa mutual lovin up society. Yawn.

The a-top ‘o the line here is real borin and academick. @carolru shows us she’s a gal with spark in her below the line so what’s with her when she climbs on top? Often terrible ded words used to describe them live byootiful word shows we call pomes.

Contributor
carolru

1 September 2010 12:39AM

No,Mass,I am not boring and academic. You’re just swallowing the propaganda. Read what I write.

As for Desmondo, he’s totally un-fresh, pissed-off and predictable every time. Still learning his craft? I don’t think so. He is too embittered and screwed up to get near to the objectivity needed for learning a craft, poor sod.
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carolru
1 September 2010 2:06AM

I mean, what on earth do you mean that carolru encourages boostin’ of herself and of her choices?

I write a bylined blog – does that mean I’m boosting myself? I don’t think so. It’s simply the Guardian’s convention that my name goes up. I could post my own poem – now that would be boosting myself. I never have done that. I choose a poem by someone else, so of course I like it. I’m boosting it, I guess – so what? Is that a crime?

Your criticisms are hollow and ridiculous, Mass, and barely intelligible. So stop trying to teach me how to write a blog, and look to your own far-from-perfect style.
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carolru

1 September 2010 1:27AM

PS – why don’t you drop the bizarre synthetic dialect, Mass, and write in your own voice?
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MassSpectrometer
1 September 2010 2:25AM

Well this is the voice of an instrument like meself, ma’am.

And then theres jest a touch o’ bein joyful meself, ma’am like I wuz sayin earlier. The whole point o’ screen names, see? Yer gets to have a bit o’ fun. Like yer can put on yer green pants and call yerself Don Gil Agua Caliente if yer wanna, and make yer fellow posters smile? Yer can be makin serious points but not with no dedly academick po-face if yer KWIM so everyone’s on their toes n more refreshin like.

Would solve the problem of readin this thred too often being like yer wuz Teach, with yer pet posters gettin called on way too often when they raise their hands over n over squeakin, ‘Miss! miss!’

Academicks is killin po’try if yer wanna ask me. (No I realise yer dont. 🙂 ) Sure we need litrary skolarship, n theres some real fine skolars postin on these threds who dont dedden the discussin but throw light on antysedents and the like.

How ’bout tryin some experimentin to show off the real power o’ the web. Say that yer puts up jest the pome. Yer dont say diddly at this point. Then @parisa n @atf ‘n’ whoever else is lookin for sumpn to keep em busy runs around like they always does cuttin n pastin academick opinion from Google like crazy. Some folks like @HLM writes a wicked pome or two replyin to the pome yer posted up. All the folks discusses what the google gatherers picks for the pome communitty in this spot. . . Then and only then yer comes in with yer edjicakated opining n skolerly perspectiv.

Shuld help to attraxct new blood to this spot instead of just post count inflatin specialists n get rid o’ the stale whiff o’ the ackademy, don’t yer think?

[…]

HerMajesty
1 September 2010 7:48AM

Carol, I have been very out of order in the way I talk to you, and I am sorry it went this far. It is probably too late in the day to be changing your view of me, and to be honest, I don’t care what you think about me anyway. The fact is, you have never seemed to like me anyway. It took you six months before you even addressed me directly after you first came here, (long after you’d addressed everyone else) not long after I had arrived here after Jane Holland slung me off her (now silent) gaffe that turned into the place the English poet community huddle and say nothing.

Say what you want, but the weeks I do not appear, this place is less active. Last week was 141, this week is 151 on a Wednesday.

I didn’t plan to be central to this blog, it just happened. I found the Amergin text, tried speaking about it and was penalised in the most childish ways by every English ‘chief’ poet whoI stumbled across, the VIP types with the ‘important’ stuff to say, like you, like Jane Holland, like Roddy Lumsden at poem.uk, and you all use the same excuse when not being honest and saying, oh, Desmond, I feel instinctively antagonistic towards you. but rather than say the truth outright, you vile idiot, I’ll , blah blah blah that you are disruptive, blah blah blah blah this that and the other; but never, not once, engage with the Amergin prose-poem that was first translated in 1979 from the 7C Old Irish and which one would imagine the pple like you, Holland, Lumsden, O’Brien, and all the usual suspects with various degrees and places of poetry pull and ‘power’, would be very interested in.

So I arrived here and got a crowd of ‘normal’ pple writin g around me, encouraging them and spurning a little scene into being, not seeking it out, it just happening that way, with all my spamming and willingness to talk tosh, experiment and do all the things we hear from pple like you and the rest in the English poet community, who talk your theoretical, guff but as soon as an English poet comes along with a cast-iron, transparent practice of innovative experimentation, online, new ways, with a brand new founding document by Amergin to be happy and joyful about – you go all out to shut me up and out.

The fact is, this is blogosphere, the wild west, a place pple read, the entire English poet community you talked about, at Jane Hollands gaffe, reading it now and thinking whatever they do, but because they haven’t been gassing online like a broken record, continually at it, they are still to concerfned about what other pple think about them that they don’t like anyway.

The truth is Carol, I’ve done my bit here, and am moving on to the next phase. Say what you want about me being this that and the other, after three years from coming here as the original innovating presence, if I disappear today and am never seen again, no-one else can claim to have been the one who ended up in a sincere poetic manner, getting your goat up top the extent you start effing, blinding and getting your knickers in a twist, about a bloke from Ormskirk, working class, never sold out, doesn’t bend the knee, in with the Irish working class, and an English poet whose carved out a name for himself with the ‘real’ pple posting here (the ones who buy books) whose intellkigence and imagination outfoxed the lot of you middle class university lecturer poets in whose interest it is, to professionalize poetry by saying such rot as ‘poetry needs a specialist lexicon’.
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Contributor
carolru

1 September 2010 1:16AM

Different styles are required for blogs and posts,Mass. I know some bloggers go for slangy, even sloppy, informality, which is fine for some contexts, but poetry is hard to talk about, and needs something of a specialised lexicon. I write as plainly as possible in those limits, but I am certainly not going to patronise the readers here. The techical terms are necessary and don’t faze most people.

[…]

MassSpectrometer
1 September 2010 10:08AM

People who tell other people what poems mean, even if they do so with great knowledge or they hedge everything they say, are playing power games.

And the ones that nod and defer and make sure they share one or two things with these power brokers of poetry in order to sound careful and mature are disgusting. They are disgusting because they join in with the power games.

Shapow for that (French spelin aint too good sorry) and also for @Alarmin’s 9.12 .

MassSpectrometer
1 September 2010 11:07AM

As far as the poem goes isn’t it solely about how the poet uses language, how the poet assembles that language to make meaning? Otherwise one might as well write a thesis.

Well yeah. If Im readin em right that’s what @HerMaj n @Einsloth’s sayin too. Leave them ackademics out of the interpretin ‘cept for anteeque verse where usage done gone n shape-shifted beyond recognisin.

Saw a movie the other night Id hafta call near-perfick. Bright Star. Outstandin directin by that feller Antipodean o’ yers, @Einsloth. New Zeelander goin by the name o’ Jane Campion.

Parts o’ the dialogue impressed this ole instrument so much I hadda write em down. Keats says, answerin his Fanny Brawne whose sayin “I still don’t know how to work out the poem” –

“A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving in a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake. To luxuriate in the sensation of the water. “You do not work the lake out. It is an experience beyond thought.”

Thems me sentiments exackly. The reason why I sez, too much academick interpretin n analyzin is ruinin pomes ‘n’ poetry.

Keats talkin ’bout divin same as this Pome o’ the week. *

MassSpectrometer
1 September 2010 10:51PM

Ooooooooooooooooops! Formattin got a bit messed up there.

Correctin, in this post if Im lucky. Keats as represented in Bright Star, Jane Campions movie ‘bout his life, plus, first, ana additional quote. Relates to the real interestin question @HerMaj’s second post done raised.

Do we need academicks tellin us how to interpret contemporary pomes?
In that screenplay which is based real close on Keatses writin –

Fanny Brawne: Can you say something of the craft of poetry?

Keats: Poetic craft is a carcass, a sham. If poetry does not come as naturally as leaves to a tree then it had better not come at all.

So where does that leave them pontificators dronin n on n on with their academic interpretin?

Also this shoulda been sed this way, upthred –

Fanny: I still don’t know how to work out the poem.

Keats: A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving in a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake. To luxuriate in the sensation of the water.

You do not work the lake out. It is an experience beyond thought.

Jane Campion wuz asked by one of them interviewers bout the background to makin the film. She said she talked to the distingwished profs at the universities n skolsarship has proved most o’ the ideas Keats had ‘bout poetry to be one hundred percent correckt.

He was 25 when he died and he had no advanced edjikashun in literature. Was apprenticed to be a doc n then he gave that up.

So where’s that leave academic analysis o’ poetry? It jest ruins it, right? Strips off all the magic and leaves yer a carcass, a sham, jest like Keats said.

Or like @Einsloth n @HerMaj is sayin, aint nothin but a power trip.

Einsloth
1 September 2010 7:49AM

I hope she continues to fight back and defend her poems. But, if you want poets to come on and chat, then I don’t think this is a safe space for them in the sense that if we are free to say what we want then why should we pull punches? It is our desire to be honest and real that gives this blog energy Carol, and it’s your achievement that you host it.

But let’s face it. A lot of stuff is never examined. As ATF said, I think, it is an ideological weapon.

I remember the bible translated from the original Greek into Spanish by Straubinger and there were theological interpretations to everything in the light of the New Testament – to such a riciculous extent that the Song of Solomon was reinterpreted as the Love of Christ for His Church.

And that is the authorised catholic criticism and interpretation of that part of the compilation of Judaic texts.

Absolutely ridiculous.

Now what sort of a world do we live in? We live in a world of beauty and spoilage and happiness and atrocity and poems are orphans.
You love your orphans but dear Carol, forgive my little jabs and puncturings, we are not obliged to adopt them.

Now what is also interesting is just why a poet and poetry professor would say that such and such a poem has quality.

I prefer to start from a position of ignorance. If don’t see the quality, then I say it as part of a discourse and then as time goes, I might see it. I hope to see it – or else I don’t.

Poems put to the sword.

I liked HLMs poem far more than the one you offered and I don’t think the poem is a femminist poem at all.

As for the fat book of immigrants’ poems. Well your name was there. On the cover. How many Carol Rumens are there who do that sort of thing.

And by the way, I am sure you have read my blog. If only inadvertantly.

I have peppered this thread with links to it for three years. I very much doubt you haven’t.

Google your name and Browning you’ll find my response to the way you ‘saw’ Darwin in Browning.

But anyway.

For me this is the best blog on the Guardian site because I am in it. Because all the other personas are in it too. It’s blessed and still buzzing.

I think the problem is the space though. It’s not an extension of a classroom. It’s as free as the interstellar.
[…]

smpugh
1 September 2010 7:57AM

Just one more go at that feather boa – even knowing what it is, I don’t think we can read “boa” without word-association briefly giving us the vision of a boa constrictor, which could be quite dangerous if worn round the neck… it’s all part of the constant association of danger with freedom and joy in this poem.

On a wider matter, here’s a proposal: suppose the mods were to look at every post over 100 words and delete it if it weren’t clearly at least 50% about the poem under discussion? Some diversions and byways are fruitful, but the posts that cause the most problems on this blog are those more about the poster than the poem. I think this might make people think harder and actually look at/reference/quote from the poem to make sure their post was not off-topic. Also there could be an upper word limit – I thought there was, once, but now any amount of verbiage seems to get through. Again a limit would concentrate minds.

I think Carol must be as tough as ten bears to continue hosting here; well done her. I’d sooner jump into the Atlantic any day, and I can’t swim…
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Einsloth
1 September 2010 8:06AM

Rubbish idea

50% about the poem. How ridiculous. What a lack of understanding of the nature of written communication and poetry lies behind that statement. What an infinite regression of THUD lies behind that suggestion – followed by a touch of rum and butter.
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smpugh
1 September 2010 8:19AM

But if you don’t want to talk about the poem, Einsloth, why post on a blog related to it? People can always use a blog of their own instead if all they want to hear is the sound of their own voice.
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Einsloth
1 September 2010 8:26AM

What is the sound of your voice smpugh?
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Alarming
1 September 2010 8:26AM

Einsloth 50% might be a rubbish idea but then again re: your comments on the Edwin Morgan poem last week it might force you to think a bit more about what you have to say. Even you admitted much of what you say isn’t appropriate when it was pointed out that your observations on EM were based on not reading something properly. I’m not wanting to cramp your or anyone’s style but a bit of precision might be a useful thing. Perfectly apt too given it’s poetry we’re talking about.

I think the Mods have a lot to answer for myself. Chopping comments just reads like insecurity and boosts the self- martyrdom we’ve seen here so becomes counter-productive.

Given the sheer volume and variety of analysis here we are surely perceptive enough to read stuff and know where it’s coming from and thus allow the comments to reflect on those who made them.
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Alarming
1 September 2010 9:12AM

Einsloth to be pedantic your frog observation is less than 50% of your comment and thus would be “allowed”.

That’s not the point though – the point is that this blog descends far too often into sniping and risks becoming like the poetry world many here would criticise. I guess some feel that it’s all a bit genteel and removed from the real world but I’m not sure how self-obsession is a corrective to that. And as I said earlier the Mods have played their big part in growing that self-obsession.

By way of return the swallows up here in the North of England are more numerous than they have ever been. Less than 2/3rds of my comment and thus also “allowed”.

Einsloth
1 September 2010 9:55AM

People who tell other people what poems mean, even if they do so with great knowledge or they hedge everything they say, are playing power games.

And the ones that nod and defer and make sure they share one or two things with these power brokers of poetry in order to sound careful and mature are disgusting. They are disgusting because they join in with the power games.

Now if this is a blog then all that crap can go to hell.

Let’s be honest. The poem is nothing special. It echoes the experience of Carol. Perhaps she went swimming once. Perhaps she dived into a pool. perhaps she’s been to Ireland.

Well, well.

And?

Well linguistically this and rhetorically that.

OK, and?

And if that was all there was to talk about we wouldn’t bother because poetry is a very personal (self obsessive) interpretive form.

God. The perfidious English.

The most immodest two faced racist people here in this country are not the Afrikaners they are the ‘Liberals@ the ones of British origin who profess liberal ideas and who put on a front of being self effecing but in truth are the mast arrogant racist scum of the whole of South African society.

Self effacing maturity? Like hell.. Duplicity and conformism, more like.

deadgod
2 September 2010 3:05AM

MassSpectrometer, I enjoyed the irony of your 1Sept, 10:51 pm post.

Your argument against “academicks tellin us how to interpret contemporary pomes” is presented in credibly academickal terms, both in the form of its research and in the application of that research argumentatively.

(To paraphrase Stendhal, ‘I appreciate self-contradiction; I can understand its point.’)

Your excerpt from Bright Star’s script exemplifies what’s most irritating about that movie to me: fragments of letters coming from “Keats’s” mouth as oracular teaching moments, composed of assertions irresistibly to be countered by Keats’s own poetry. Here’s what I mean:

cinematic Keats: “If poetry does not come as naturally as leaves to a tree then it had better not come at all. [. . .] You do not work the lake out.”

Keats the poet: Ode on Melancholy. (Includes direct reference to “Lethe”, “Proserpine”, and “Psyche” – familiarity perhaps not acquired through “advanced edjikashun in literature”, but learned on the ‘streets’? Includes knowledge of pharmacobotany – again, learned through edjikashun in medicine, or on the ‘streets’?)

Here’s some of that Ode:

Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil’d Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy’s grape against his palate fine;
His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

Sure, this “poem needs understanding through the senses”, but is this “understanding” the only “understanding” this “poem needs”?

I’m also delighted by your repeated and (here) final point: using an accusation of power-tripping . . . to accumulate and express power.

(To paraphrase Stendhal, ‘I appreciate hypocrisy; I can understand its point.’)

MassSpectrometer
2 September 2010 7:29AM

“MassSpectrometer, I enjoyed the irony of your 1Sept, 10:51 pm post.”

Hey @deadgod aka @dedders. I enjoy the irony of yer postin like yer wuz live when yer keep tellin us yer like only a korpse? OK a divine stiff, but still n all, if yer KWIM? 😉

“Your argument against “academicks tellin us how to interpret contemporary pomes” is presented in credibly academickal terms, both in the form of its research and in the application of that research argumentatively.”

Not reelly. Ackademics aint got the monopoly on arguin or provin’ claims by referrin to the facts, has they? Substantian’s kinda a feature o’ ordinary conversin, least where I comes from.

But substantian with lightness, wit, teasin n imaginatin. Not in the kinda ponderous tecknical language yer dont ever wanna use when talkin to lay folks showin up to be informed entertaininly, who aint yer feller technicians, like say ferensic accountants or mortishuns. Usin technical lingo which is designed solely for territory markin n then pretendin its indispensible’s not okay. Yurgh, as @carolru puts it.

Yer wanna read what I sed agin, @dedders. I aint sed there wuznt no place fer litrary skolars in this li’l ole universe. Useful folks – fr’instants, in tracin antysedents, litrary movements n so on n forth. Describin, creatin records n authenticatin’s sumpn else academicks do real well for litrature. So when Jane Campion wants to check out Keatses ideas nearly two hundred years downriver, she visits with them litrary bean counters. And Keats – no academick, no litrary skolar, is proven right on the money. She asks em coz these folks is paid to assess, compare n study the records real careful-like.

So thats where these ackademical folkses place oughta be. We wanna keep their paws off tellin yer what meanin yer s’posed to be findin in a pome, or judgin whether or not a pome’s a pome in the first place, or settin emselves up as the supreme authorities on what calyber o’ pome yer got there in each case.

What I feel n Keats is sayin so well in this screenplay is that interpretin pomes is sumpn personal, like @Einsloth done sed. Were all best off doin that job fer ourselfs, usin all our own senses, not by lookin at some rulebook for pome-ritin writtin in turgid nerdy ackademickal ‘ritin by some academick. Keats is sayin that understandin pomes calls fer usin all yer senses not just yer noddle, n not just the logickal analytickal part o’ that noddle like too many ackademics does.

“Your excerpt from Bright Star’s script exemplifies what’s most irritating about that movie to me: fragments of letters coming from “Keats’s” mouth as oracular teaching moments, […] Ode on Melancholy. (Includes direct reference to “Lethe”, “Proserpine”, and “Psyche” – familiarity perhaps not acquired through “advanced edjikashun in literature”, but learned on the ‘streets’?”

But @dedders, the fragments of his own letters rings true like no made-up dialoguin could, dontcha think?. I guessed they was real before I checked em out.… And what yerv given us there is all examples o’ the MATERIAL n INFORMATION a pomester o’ genius drew on in composin his pomes. Sure, most folks will rite more interestin pomes if they has a wider range o’ references.

Hes implyin’ that theres a gift for weavin magic that makes a great poet, not poetic craft. Implyin that his-or-her ear for language would be way more important than any knowledge he-she’s grocked, dontcha think? Aint nothin to do with knowin stuff. Caint be acquired like other crafts, is what he’s sayin. Yer either born with the gift fer sublime pome makin or yer aint.

“Sure, this “poem needs understanding through the senses”, but is this “understanding” the only “understanding” this “poem needs”?”

What else it needs, @dg ,is what else each individual reeder, lissener and so on n forth chooses to bring to it. Not what puffed-up self-appointed pome gurues n popes tells em they gotta.

“I’m also delighted by your repeated […] accusation of power-tripping . . . to accumulate and express power.”

Aint no hippocrisy there, @dedders. Like most of us folks bloggin under psoodenyms, including yer own self, Im countin jest on the power o’ me arguin to either persuade anywun reedin this blog ‘bout my point o’ view. Or not. Not hittin anyone over the hed with me credentials n claimin what I sez is owed any deference based on real life achievemint or position, am I?

Btw. Bright Star. Recitations o’ Keats pomes by the actors wuz so byootiful theyre to die fer. Actors ‘r’ unknowns n all the more engagin for that. Perfect castin. Scene after scene shot with light like yerd only find in the coolest Dutch paintins yer ever seen. Boy did that cinematographer grock Vermeer & Co. And a half.

[…]

HerMajesty
2 September 2010 8:36AM

Thanks very much MS, very incisive commentary there.

I think you are correct, that the academics responsibility is to assess, compare and study the records very carefully, and we should not confuse this role and their ponderous technical language they use ‘professionally’; as some ultimate standard of proof for substantiating anything about the poem’s reality, ‘meaning’ or inner workings; because this language of the initiated few, like that of forensic accountants and morticians, purposely excludes the ordinary lay-person who hasn’t been thro ten years of dessicated analysis, writing in a language designed solely to mark out territory for a very specific, small group of highly competitive clever people who are great at getting the state to fund them, and thus presenting an imbalanced picture that somehow it’s only university lecturers who produce and custode ‘real’ poetry – hence the confusion and misunderstanding common amongst the proles, that much contemporary poetry is all meaningless gobble dee gook and the pursuit of middle class posh pple who teach in universities.

This insider’s dry language, noted for its lack of lightness, is not the kind used by the few critics who rise above the academic argot and ideolect, who can inform and entertain ordinary, normal pple – all of whom can appreciate poetry without difficulty, if the person knowing poetry communicates in a language of imagination and teasing wit.

We wanna keep their paws off tellin us what meanin we’re s’posed to be findin in a pome, or judgin whether or not a pome’s a pome in the first place, or settin emselves up as the supreme authorities on what calibre of poem we’re looking at.

This presentation of poetry by the academics, as being somehow ‘complex’, is more a reflection of their own confusion and desire to be thought of as deep and meaningful, rather than any truth about poetry being difficult per se.

Yes, cheers, very informative, entertaining and highly experimental. Just the sort fo thing the academics talk about drily, but when presented with a living example of it by an outsider who isn’t in their professional ‘group’, tend to start effing and blinding ..
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2 responses to “Not the Poem of the Week

  1. MassSpectrometer

    Yer darn tootin ack-ack, if yer ok with me changin yer moniker a tad to get to where I can get me jaws around without riskin a tooth. Damn straight. Those moderatin folks aint got no right messin with postins ‘s good as any yer can find with no trouble ‘t all in Shakeyerknowhoo. See any difference ‘tween my grammer n way ‘o’ speakin n this?

    “FLUELLEN. I think it is in Macedon where Alexander is born. I
    tell
    you, Captain, if you look in the maps of the ‘orld, I warrant
    you
    sall find, in the comparisons between Macedon and Monmouth,
    that
    the situations, look you, is both alike. There is a river in
    Macedon; and there is also moreover a river at Monmouth; it
    is
    call’d Wye at Monmouth, but it is out of my brains what is
    the
    name of the other river; but ’tis all one, ’tis alike as my
    fingers is to my fingers, and there is salmons in both.”

    Dumbs dumb is all I can tell yer.

  2. I had to take a stroll on the net to check a fact … Should have gone straight back to work, only I noticed the axing of another of @Des’s gems (below) – a post that suggested MTRDMC (made tears run down my cheeks) for the lexicon of webhead acronyms.

    Why shouldn’t he have his say on a public blog on a site called Comment is Free when the blogger herself is seen by some people in her field as some way short of irreproachable? Here’s the censor-loving PotW critic hauled over a coal or two:

    Carol Rumens (Thumbscrew 14) shows no lack of confidence in her own judgement when she dismisses Geoffrey Hill’s poem ‘Genesis’ as “that galvanised corpse”, an “adolescent” piece full of “second-hand imagery and rhetorical swagger”. Of course, confidence can be something which, in criticism as in poetry, issues as readily from failure as from success; while Rumens does not explain exactly how she has arrived at these opinions about Hill’s poem, it is not, I hope, impertinent to observe that her weight and reputation as a critic are not such as to make ex cathedra judgements like these immediately impressive. Edna Longley’s positive reference to ‘Genesis’, also made in passing, has behind it a critical authority to which – by any possible reckoning – Ms Rumens cannot lay claim; an impartial reader might think that Professor Longley has earned the benefit of even Ms Rumens’s doubt, but such impartiality would be, of necessity, naive.’

    http://www.linkagenet.com/reviews/heaney.htm

    And now for the rescued @Des post … sorry, I mean, of course @PoetryCritic’s censored comment (is there a more formidable mimic anywhere?), removed from this week’s PotW thread at the Guardian:

    PoetryCritic

    24 September 2010 1:16PM

    Would anyone else think that “the mind of winter” could actually be the snowman’s? And do we then become as the snowman in winter?

    Possibly, possibly not.

    There’s no right or wrong with poetry. Anything goes. The only rule is, there are no rules. You should begin in delight and end in wisdom, as Whitman wrote …sorry, no not Whitman, Frost.

    A very poetic coincidence, because it is snowmen we are discussing here, and frost is an integral part of the snowperson, in fairness …I mean, who can say whether Stevens meant the snow-entity to be male or female. I doubt he’d have given it much thought, to be fair, because in the time of Wallace Stevens, modernism was just taking root in the intellectual feeding grounds of America and Europe; the wireless, radio, all kinds of second generation technological advancements had occured and the Machine of pre-1914 planet earth, as praised and fetishized by the early Futurists, the benevolent, labor-saving all good Machine the mind of Man had created, after turning into a nightmare, was being handled and in a wholly different relationship with ‘us’, with Humanity (personhood) than was previously the case; as Wallace Stevens well knew.

    As the snowperson well knew, in the world of the poetries that flourished back then, and from which we can elucidate by reverse-engineering the ice, some warmth and light to heat and shine the colder regions of the intellectual realm today, perhaps. Perhaps not. There’s no real; hard and fast rules when it comes to ‘poetry’ and the discussion thereof. ‘Success’, is not measured in material terms of how many people decide to award cash guerdons from the State, or if such and such a set of lovely, marvelous people all agree Wallace Stevens is God and WCW Satan, vice versa or (fill in the blanks) anything else – no, ‘success’ comes not from the ‘I”s that say awfully super, grr, hrrmmm, yay, oh erm well the thing is (dickhead) you are not on the radar of moi coz erm, grrrl, I only do Twitter, go away do you know who I am (the poetry critic), but the eyes that read from start to finish.

    Holding the audience by composing a string of images in an arrangement of sound known as poetry; that is what the snowpeople make, methinks, Parisa Poetry Critic.

    Sincerely

    Anonymous

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