View Full Version : Tar Baby

January 9th, 2016, 09:13 PM
I'm at a loss as to what you're trying to prove with this twelve word nonsense, but it seems a waste of time for someone with as many posts as you have under your belt. Poetry, in my opinion, needs to send a clear, melodic message that will make sense the greatest number of readers. cf76

I'm not proving anything. I'm making an observation. Is it the use of "tar baby" that confuses you? It's from a story where the more Br'er Rabbit tries to disengage from the tar baby, the more entangled he becomes. Tar babies are best avoided.

i'm intrigued....what's it about..?

There is a group of people who believe that calling something a poem makes it a poem. Always. Even if it doesn't make any sense (I don't mean is nonsense--Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, Dr. Seuss, etc. wrote excellent nonsense poetry). I'm not claiming to have the best judgement in this matter, but some stuff that is posted is crap (there's even a thread for it in the poetry games section). And sometimes it's so egregious it's tempting to call out the author and say, why did you dump this on the forum? Not everything labeled "organic" is really organic and not everything labeled "poetry" is really poetry.

Why I care is that the main Poetry (http://www.writingforums.com/forums/19-Poetry) board is public. People browsing writing forums and thinking about joining this one can and do read it. It makes us look more like a kindergarten than a writing forum when there is unrecoverable drivel posted. And that's sad.

What's also sad is those people who post in the gray area between really good and no-redeeming-value who don't accept critique. You don't have to agree with the critique, but sniping back that you wrote your piece in five minutes so of course it's not good is rude and inappropriate. So is saying that you didn't really care about it anyway. If you don't want critique, why did you post it? This is a writing forum, not a showcase (and anyway, the Internet never forgets, so posting in the Poetry board rather than the Poet's Workshop is a kind of publishing).

January 9th, 2016, 09:35 PM
people take things differently and may read and not react immediately..to crit....as for peoples motives for joining the site...if they break the rules they are banned...or is there more of a need to ban people because some think other peoples poetry lacks the standards needed to enhance the sites reputation...for me the creative side of posters is often an inspiration to try new ways of doing things and the diversity is a big attraction..good poetry bad poetry is for the individual to decide and a willingness to learn may be low on some peoples agenda but what they get is more than what they give from the site...people make this site not the quality of work for me...

January 9th, 2016, 09:52 PM
I"m not talking about censorship or banning anyone. I'm talking about mature forum members exercising self-control.

Nor am I talking about stuff I or anyone else dislikes.

January 9th, 2016, 09:57 PM
if you want a site that sets standards then you have it...if you want a site that falls within your standards then that's a big task ahead of you....

January 9th, 2016, 10:42 PM
This is more than a tar baby, this is bordering on Lebrea...

Even if something is nonsense, doesn't mean it is without value, purpose, or a point to be revealed at somewhere down the line. Specialising in idiocy, drivel, and melodramatic schemed nonsense, I like to think there is a line between five minute word cobbles and honest to goodness nonsense. (I'm probably delusional, but...One can always hope. :thumbl:) Well founded nonsense and whimsy can withstand critique, be improved by it. But it boils down to the author. Do they heed advice, take feedback into account and actively seek to improve the piece?

Poetry as a whole gets tarred with a single brush. Everything is black, stuck together. It is for the readers, but moreso the writers, to take the time and pull the myriad shades out of the black, chisel off the tar and put the skeletons of the mastodons and sabre toothed cats back together. Even if something is nonsense, doesn't mean that there isn't an underlying structure supporting the whole.

Consider that there is a marked delineation between no sense and nonsense. The prior exemplified by lack of effort or care on the writer's part, the latter capable of producing amazing results with proper care. True nonsense will display signs of proper care and effort.

Where there is freedom of speech, so to will there be bad poetry,(mine included), and people who critique it. For the most part everything that's on boards currently, reads as if a decent amount of effort has been taken. Read and critique was speaks to you. Skim the snozberries. And how many of us, have had actual, formal training as poets? I'm guessing, not many...But as Roald Dahl once wrote: 'We are the makers of music; we are the dreamers of dreams.'

As for the poetry boards looking like a kindergartner's finger painting, well, those who are serious about joining and improving will to take the effort to glean through the 'clutter poems'. If it is an exacting standard of critique and expertise that is required, there is the private group function that is also available on the forums. Standards can be set and maintained.

This is the internet; it is an exercise in chaos. There will always be something about something that someone doesn't like. As far as forums go, I will say this, WF has one of the better and more active communities of poets I've encountered. Personally, I've learned a thing or two. Has my writing improved, probably not, but I've tried things I wouldn't have done otherwise, so I can't say I'm sorry I joined.

Just some thoughts from a snozberry.

- D. the T. of P.B.

January 10th, 2016, 12:54 AM
I'm reminded of YELP. Odd reviews are easily noticeable as such by all.
(and we're not flipping burgers here, are we?)

e-man... I think I prefer the imagery and humor of the Paul Bunyan (stories) over that of Br'er Rabbit, but then some prefer Chevy over Ford. They're all Americana, and you might enjoy.

January 10th, 2016, 01:10 AM
Johnny Appleseed is proof that amazing things can come from odd places. Apple orchards from a guy, who wore a pot for a hat! More accurately, a reminder of how a small thing can produce great things with time and effort. ;-)

Edit: One might query as to what constitutes a good amateur poem.

January 10th, 2016, 09:45 PM
In answer to your query, something that takes a little effort. It doesn't have to rhyme and it doesn't have to scan and it doesn't have to adhere to a syllable count. But it should have some thought put into it. No SPaG irregularities. And it should fit together as one piece.

Notice also that I am not saying nonsense isn't poetry. Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, Dr. Seuss--all wrote nonsense, and wrote it well. What I am saying is words that don't go together may be a sign of bad poetry. Sometimes, they are words that happen to rhyme but make the speech stilted or Yoda-like. Another example is when alliteration triumphs over coherency. One of my pet peeves is misusing thee/thy/thou. The idea is to create word art, not word barf.

As this is a writing site, we seek to help one another improve here. This is not a showcase. Anyone wanting a showcase poetry site can PM me and I will recommend some.

And the Poetry board really is our front porch, as passers-by can and do see what we put out on display.

What I am denouncing is those people who don't want to improve. Whether it's because they consider poetry a joke, or they think they're the best poet on the Internet--doesn't matter. We're here to help you grow, not pat you on the head and give you gold stars.

January 10th, 2016, 10:06 PM
I know I'm not much good, but I post to improve, and if there is something glaringly awful about a piece, I hope someone will say something. (It's the whole spinach in the teeth thing...:geek:). Sunshine and rainbows are all well and good, but they don't help one become more rounded as a writer. Even nonsense requires attention so it doesn't devolve into no sense.

January 10th, 2016, 11:33 PM
The only way to improve your game is to play with people better than you.

I come here to play with others and in doing this I can not but learn.

Further to this I see WF as far too important to be taken seriously and this i borrow from Oscar Wilde i think