Allen Ginsberg. In the sense that I just can't understand why anybody thought he was so great. Personally a total asshole, literarily a superficial ranter. But people go on and on about how wonderful he was.
Right up there with Milton as over-rated purveryors of English poetry.
Basically I'm a philistine when it comes to a lot of this stuff. If it doesn't rhyme, preferably although not essentially in ballad form, it goes over my head.
And poetry that makes sense without having to puzzle over it, does it for me.
If a poem's complexity or other-worldliness or whatever makes it difficult to understand, I say why bother? Why tax your mind? Why not be satisfied with simplicity?
Some of Ezra Pound's stuff's ok.
Last edited by The Backward OX; 09-13-2007 at 01:54 AM.
For me, the more recent poetry gets, the harder it is to understand.
Old stuff is quite often at least semi-transparent in its meaning; it is obvious what Shakespeare is saying in a sonnet, and nobody really needs more than a little vocab help to decipher Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner".
Chaucer takes a bit of work, but if you learn your way around the language, you find it's just simple, cheerful narrative poetry.
Come into the twentieth century and things get less simple. Sylvia Plath is difficult, though I think worth puzzling over in her finer moments, particularly "Full Fathom Five" and "The Colossus".
There is a fashion for the utterly impenetrable in poetry now. John Berryman and Stephen Dunn both demand to be wrestled with before they will give up a hint of sense. In fact, Fleur Adcock is my favourite living poet largely because her poems are understandable the first time you read them.
Chaucer had his dark side! "The smiler with the knife beneath his cloak" not to speak of that horrible Nun's tale (I think) about ritual murder by Jews. Then there is the whole question about whether a lot of the descriptions in the Prologue are more satirical than we realise.
What's nice about the "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is that the accounts of Cook's in the South Pacific had just been published and Coleridge was a passionate reader of accounts of travels.
That's pretty understandable, I'd say.It was a cough
that carried him off
It was a coffin
they carried him off in.
A Silly Poem
Said Hamlet to Ophelia,
I'll draw a sketch of thee,
What kind of pencil shall I use?
2B or not 2B?
Milligan was a master of nonsense poetry (google 'On the Ning Nang Nong') primarily aimed at children, and the infantile at heart.
Why is rain thin?
That is rather an acid comment..
It's because it comes out of thin air.
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