PDA

View Full Version : DISCUSSION OF SATIRICAL POETRY



clark
October 1st, 2017, 10:50 PM
I recently posted three poems--

A Mother Shops With Her (https://www.writingforums.com/threads/173732-A-MOTHER-SHOPS-WITH-HER-CHILD)Child (https://www.writingforums.com/threads/173732-A-MOTHER-SHOPS-WITH-HER-CHILD)
Satan's Reverie (https://www.writingforums.com/threads/173731-SATAN-S-REVERIE)
A Tourist Leaves the Cruise Ship for a Stroll (https://www.writingforums.com/threads/173717-A-TOURIST-LEAVES-THE-CRUISE-SHIP-FOR-A-STROLL)

I would be pleased to benefit from your comments on the individual poems under their titles and poems, in the usual matter. Always helpful. In addition to those focused kinds of comments, however, I wanted to open a larger dialectic on the issue of satirical poetry in our era. Satire flourishes at times of socio-economic upheaval or flagrant abuse by ruling factions--that certainly accounts for the background of eighteenth-century Satire in English, specifically the slashing pen of Alexander Pope. I thought the three poems above might provide some current kinds of examples--plus whatever other poems any of you prefer--to kick-start some conversations about satiric poetry in OUR era. God knows we can provide 'flagrant abuse' aplenty of just about every institution and value imaginable! What do you think? Do the poems above stimulate? Outrage? Annoy? Infuriate? Sadden? If so, how do they pull it off? What makes your favourite satiric poem 'tick'?

If this thread doesn't generate interesting conversations, I'll take it down after a few days.

andrewclunn
October 2nd, 2017, 12:09 AM
Sarcastic poetry? Sounds like a waste of time to me.

Firemajic
October 2nd, 2017, 12:27 AM
Satire: A Satirist can direct the satire toward one individual, a country, or the world. It is sometimes serious, or it can be comical, poking fun at something or someone.

Satire: Mockery, sarcasm, ridicule, derision.....

No Thanks...

PiP
October 2nd, 2017, 12:39 AM
@andrew and @fire have you actually read the above poems.

I was actually blown away by this one.
https://www.writingforums.com/threads/173731-SATAN-S-REVERIE


Do the poems above stimulate? Outrage? Annoy? Infuriate? Sadden? If so, how do they pull it off? What makes your favourite satiric poem 'tick'?


Satan's Reverie (https://www.writingforums.com/threads/173731-SATAN-S-REVERIE) actually made me feel sad.

[I will return to this in the morning]

andrewclunn
October 2nd, 2017, 12:42 AM
I guess it wasn't obvious that I was being sarcastic...

midnightpoet
October 2nd, 2017, 01:32 AM
Of the three poems, I only recognized "Satan's Reverie" as what I would call satire. Satire, for me at least, is horribly difficult to write effectively - and needs some kind of cutting humor. I saw no humor in the other two, just pictures of uncomfortable reality. I liked all three, and didn't see any real technical problems. I thought they were very clear in meaning and hard-hitting in their own way.

Of course, this is just opinion - a lot of today's so-called humor leaves me cold. "Saturday Night Live" is a good example of what they call satire but to me it's just silly. No substance. Mean-spirited ruins humor for me. Dressing up like Trump may be mildy amusing one time but over and over? And I don't even like the jerk.

Haven't read, I'll admit, any contemporary satire, poetry or prose. However, your question has piqued my interest. I've tried my own satirical poetry, I usually go for more obvious humor.

Darren White
October 2nd, 2017, 08:47 AM
If this thread doesn't generate interesting conversations, I'll take it down after a few days.

Don't take it down please?
I'd love to talk about all of the poems, plus the discussion here?

Satire sometimes eludes me (must be the weird person that I am), so I will go back and read your poems first with a different eye.

Darren White
October 2nd, 2017, 09:21 AM
A TOURIST LEAVES THE CRUISE SHIP FOR A STROLL
[...]
as my trembling
fingers
oooooooflutter
a bill down to
the cracked
ooooooooowooden
ooooooooooooooobowl

This poem evoked anger and helplessness in me. As you have seen. Especially the part I quoted here. Not anger at the person handing the bills. But anger at that situation. Frustration.

This immediately points to the fact that satire is something I do not completely understand. So I would be extremely grateful to you if you could help me here, with this poem specifically, since I DID recognise it in the other two poems, of which I quoted parts below.




SATAN'S REVERIE
[...]
I am convenient, yes?
scapegoats are always
in fashion
and the images assigned--
ooored head
ooohorns
ooospiked tail
ooopitchfork
oh! and my penchant for
breathing fire--
all embody
a delicious metaphor
to frighten wayward children
around the tribal fires.

Quite boring, really

This poem about Satan and especially the part quoted, appeal to me. I read it with a smirk of recognition on my face. Because the literal way Satan/Shaytan is seen is something that for me always has been strange. I've always seen the figure of satan as a very strong metaphor. Not boring at all.




A MOTHER SHOPS WITH HER CHILD, A Dramatic Monologue
[...]
we need to say goodbye,
yes--Callah and Mirok went to heaven
yesterday
--that's heavy, I'll carry it--
when the air was thick with fire and smoke
whenthe men stood in the dust whorls howling like animals
firing their guns into the empty grey sky

remember yesterday, after the thunder
when we found the body,
vacant eyes staring into the desert
I was so excited about the two cans
with labels? and the boots
I sold for the blanket we had last night?
--no, don't touch that, sweetheart​

Very painful poem, and yes, here it's the casual way the mother talks to the child about avoiding the atrocities around them, that makes it so poignant. I can see the satire in it. I can even see the cartoon accompanying it.

aj47
October 2nd, 2017, 09:59 AM
Hi Clark, When I asked Google "what is satire?" this is what I got back.


the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices
I am posting that as a starting point, but I think it's important to know what your working definition is as part of this discussion. Especially if you're encompassing more or less than what is here.

Olly Buckle
October 2nd, 2017, 11:36 AM
I guess it wasn't obvious that I was being sarcastic...


Sarcastic poetry? Sounds like a waste of time to me.

Sarcasm is saying something you really don't mean, like 'Deeply considered post, Andrew', satire is imitating something, or some one, to show up what is wrong in it, they are both about speech, and not to be confused with irony, which is about situations, 'It is a little ironical that a thread on satire draws a sarcastic comment as its first post.'

It is a thread that interests me, I don't think I am very good at satire, maybe there are elements of it in 'Born to it'
https://www.writingforums.com/threads/173674-Born-to-it?p=2109305&highlight=#post2109305
But like I say, I am not very good at it, that is certainly one of my weaker poems.

It interests me, however, because it is obviously such a powerful tool. The people who get locked up first for the things they say are, on the whole, not the serious opponents of tyrannical systems, but the comedians and satirists. Making people laugh at someone for something they take seriously is much more damaging to them than straight opposition, which only preaches to the converted.

I would like to think I am bad at it because I would rather help people past their difficulties than attack them for them, there was a line of Bob Dylan's that went something like "Some say don't kill nothing at all, but just want those that should be killed to crawl." it always sat uneasy with me, yes there are some that should be killed, but who am I to decide who, they probably think I should be.

On the other hand maybe I am just crap at humour, I seem to remember posting something in humour once and a mod sending me a pm saying he was moving it to non-fiction where it belonged, ironical :) So I am interested, and shall be coming back in the hope of expanding my abilities.

midnightpoet
October 2nd, 2017, 12:54 PM
Reading the poems again, using Google's definition, I can see irony in "Mother" and irony and possible ridicule in "Tourist." The mother's blase' matter-of-fact attitude in the midst of chaos and the tourist expecting paradise and finding the opposite. So, is humor necessary for satire? I always thought it was, even if was the darkest kind. However, our paradigms are always being shattered. I have empathy for the mother and find it hard to ridicule the tourist as, unless you have an inflated view of yourself, who of us may find ourselves in similar circumstances. The humor in "Satan" is the biting, uncomfortable kind that you would find in Swift. In any case, this is an interesting discussion.

Gumby
October 2nd, 2017, 02:43 PM
I recently posted three poems--

A Mother Shops With Her (https://www.writingforums.com/threads/173732-A-MOTHER-SHOPS-WITH-HER-CHILD)Child (https://www.writingforums.com/threads/173732-A-MOTHER-SHOPS-WITH-HER-CHILD)
Satan's Reverie (https://www.writingforums.com/threads/173731-SATAN-S-REVERIE)
A Tourist Leaves the Cruise Ship for a Stroll (https://www.writingforums.com/threads/173717-A-TOURIST-LEAVES-THE-CRUISE-SHIP-FOR-A-STROLL)

I would be pleased to benefit from your comments on the individual poems under their titles and poems, in the usual matter.

I have read the poems listed above and once read, it becomes clear that even the titles themselves are very much satirical. They set the scene and mood, actually, they set you up to subconsciously expect one thing and then whoof! the wind is knocked out of your expectations and then, the hits keep coming.

A Mother Shops with Her Child.-- The picture it immediately brings to me is the one I see every day. A mother in a store, perhaps pushing her child around in a shopping cart and buying groceries, etc. But the actual poem is a vastly different kind of 'shopping'. The irony of the mothers statements, speaking to the child:



--mind the jagged metal--
--that's heavy, I'll carry it--
--no, don't touch that, sweetheart--


These could so easily be said by the mother pictured in my mind, the one peacefully and comfortably shopping in the grocery store. The grotesque difference in what they mean when attributed to that very comfortable, 'normal' mom and then again, when attributed to the mom in your poem is striking and shocking. They are both 'normal' for their situation, which is another layer of irony.


In addition to those focused kinds of comments, however, I wanted to open a larger dialectic on the issue of satirical poetry in our era. Satire flourishes at times of socio-economic upheaval or flagrant abuse by ruling factions--

Yes, today's atmosphere is rife with this. I find myself pounding out angry, satirical poems. The internal, emotional turmoil reaches a fever pitch and the result is a pouring out, pressure relief valve. Very helpful and occasionally a decent poem comes of it. :)


What makes your favourite satiric poem 'tick'?
[/QUOTE]

I will come back to this! :)

(Unfortunately duty calls in Real Life, but I find this a very fascinating subject)

Neetu
October 2nd, 2017, 03:04 PM
Satire exposes human vices and folly. It may contain scorn or ridicule but not necessarily. Humour could be an element, but again, that could be dark humour. Satirical poetry can also use irony as a device to expose the tragic and the wretched. It uses exaggeration sometimes. So satire has a pretty broad definition and I think Clark's poems fall into one or the other definitions/use of satirical devices.

Pete_C
October 2nd, 2017, 03:26 PM
You know when you meet someone for the first time and they grin inanely and state, 'I'm mad, me. You can ask anyone!' you just know they're going to be dull and irritating. The one's who are a bit off kilter and fun to be around, who get into scrapes that make great anecdotes, who are spontaneous and gregarious, never tell you so.

It's often the same with satire. People who flag their work as satire quite often tend to miss the mark. I once went to an 'evening of satirical chaos' by some comedian whose name evades me, and it was an hour of him being petty and spiteful towards others who had obviously done much better than he had. Those who enjoyed the show seemed to be the sort of people who'd say, 'I'm mad, me. You can ask anyone!'

Satire is one of those things you are either very good at or you're not. It can't be forced (well, it can but it doesn't work too well). Good satire needs no explanation or signposting. You spot it a mile off, like a giraffe in a knocking shop.

As for satirical poetry, much of its historical style came about because in the age of duelling and nepotistic hierarchy the writers had to create a whimsical veil behind which they could disguise their sniping. Today the world is less restrictive, so satire isn't stylistically the same. In the modern world you can pretty much point out anyone's flaws as fair comment.

If a writer is going to push on down the defamation route, is still remains a 'get out of jail free' (or nearly free) card.

Kevin
October 2nd, 2017, 04:00 PM
Personally, I'm not a fan of satire. Occasionally, I'll be sitting, reading something and spasmatically kick the coffee table over. Then she gets mad, and tells me to clean it up. I tell her it's her fault for putting out the Sunday paper. Women...

Olly Buckle
October 2nd, 2017, 05:09 PM
You know when you meet someone for the first time and they grin inanely and state, 'I'm mad, me. You can ask anyone!' you just know they're going to be dull and irritating.

Yes, yes I know it, or when a third party tells you you will love his 'zany' humour, you know they are just going to talk crap. To be fair, I don't think Clark 'Signposts' especially, this is a different thread in a different forum from the poems.

Neetu
October 2nd, 2017, 07:00 PM
Ultimately, however, I think we need to see the poem, read it and feel it for what it conveys, regardless of what devices and elements have been used to create it. Not every reader is a scholar of poetry or even knowledgeable about the forms and structure, the technical stuff poets might discuss in a poetry class. A lot of poetry is natural to us. Just as music is. Its appeal lies in how it touches every reader and some poems will linger in the mind long after they are read. If a poem achieves that, it is a good poem, a worthy poem and deserves appreciation regardless of its poetics. My tuppence, just because sometimes the theory gets overemphasized and the beauty of a poem is forgotten.

Neetu
October 2nd, 2017, 08:04 PM
Oh but Cindy, I don't see the
The mother's blase' matter-of-fact attitude in the midst of chaos at all! I feel the torture of the mother in the words that she uses to comfort her child!

audrey
October 2nd, 2017, 08:12 PM
Well hello Clark!

What a timely discussion--this is the perfect time for satire--for all the reasons you have listed--at least I believe that to be true here in the U.S. at this time--its bite is needed and its humor--for those who have responded with a "no thanks" to this discussion, I am curious as to the underlying reasons for your responses--is it a dislike for the literary device or a sense that the device can be divisive--or something else?

midnightpoet
October 2nd, 2017, 08:17 PM
Oh but Cindy, I don't see the at all! I feel the torture of the mother in the words that she uses to comfort her child!

That's the beauty of poetry, that people see things in different ways (but then I'm not a mother and I'm not Cindy).:-D

Firemajic
October 2nd, 2017, 08:40 PM
Well hello Clark!

What a timely discussion--this is the perfect time for satire--for all the reasons you have listed--at least I believe that to be true here in the U.S. at this time--its bite is needed and its humor--for those who have responded with a "no thanks" to this discussion, I am curious as to the underlying reasons for your responses--is it a dislike for the literary device or a sense that the device can be divisive--or something else?


My comment was in response to satire as a literary or in this case a poetic device... satire [JMHO] provokes a negative reaction... it does not provoke an open, intelligent discussion... when ever mockery, mean spirited jabs ect. are leveled at a person, culture, religion or political group, nothing positive can happen. Laughter at another's expense for any reason is not a positive thing. I did read Clarks poems, or at least 2 of them, and did not think they were satire, or at least not the definition of satire that I googled... I appreciated his poems for exactly the same reasons I appreciate any thought provoking poetry. Satire provokes a very negative vibe... of course these are just my personal principles, code of conduct and opinion.

Gumby
October 2nd, 2017, 08:58 PM
I don't hink satire is intended to be mean spirited, though it certainly can be. I believe its purpose is to make the reader see some things in a different light. Using humor is a good way to accomplish that by exposing just how arrogant/ridiculous/hypocritical, etc. a point of view/opinion/position can be.


Oh but Cindy, I don't see the at all! I feel the torture of the mother in the words that she uses to comfort her child!

As do I, Neetu. That quote you reference wasn't mine. :)

Firemajic
October 2nd, 2017, 09:13 PM
I don't hink satire is intended to be mean spirited, though it certainly can be. I believe its purpose is to make the reader see some things in a different light. Using humor is a good way to accomplish that by exposing just how arrogant/ridiculous/hypocritical, etc. a point of view/opinion/position can be.


Satire: A Literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn. Merriam Webster.
Ridicule and scorn are negative things, so how can anything positive be achieved....

Olly Buckle
October 2nd, 2017, 09:28 PM
Satire: A Literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn. Merriam Webster.
Ridicule and scorn are negative things, so how can anything positive be achieved....

I agree it would be unlikely to do the vicious and foolish any good personally, but couldn't it alert third parties to the evil and folly, which can have a positive outcome. I would suggest that may be part the reason why dictators lock up satirists.

Neetu
October 2nd, 2017, 09:58 PM
Oops, did I address the wrong person??? Never mind, I am not quite me right now either.

audrey
October 2nd, 2017, 10:06 PM
I agree Olly. Sometimes satire acts as a safety valve in politically precarious times, allowing people a voice they may not have otherwise. It is wonderful to have open dialogue, but it is not always possible or safe to do so.

Pulse
October 2nd, 2017, 10:18 PM
Sometimes we need a tool for reconciling ourselves with circumstances and humour is the best we can find.

midnightpoet
October 3rd, 2017, 12:45 AM
It's ok sometimes I use the wrong word I did not mean the mother was callous. She was doing the best she could to comfort her child in the midst of chaos. On the page it seemed matter of fact but she may have been compensating to cope with the circumstances. As I said I felt empathy for her.



Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk

Gumby
October 3rd, 2017, 02:45 AM
Satire: A Literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn. Merriam Webster.
Ridicule and scorn are negative things, so how can anything positive be achieved....

Juls, have you ever read Mark Twain? He is probably the most famous American writer of satire. He mostly used humorous exaggeration and irony. In his novels he used satire to expose what he saw as religious hypocrites, dishonest politicians, close-minded small town thinking and even slavery. Granted, these weren't poems, but the satire holds.

Neetu
October 3rd, 2017, 03:48 AM
Firemagic, satire isn't just mockery at all. Satire can involve the use of exaggeration and irony without any scorn or mockery or humor.

clark
October 3rd, 2017, 04:12 AM
Good grief! what a grab-bag of responses! From complete rejection of the entire genre as unworthy (I guess), thru cynical half- dismissiveness, to genuine curiosity. I don't know quite what to think. I introduced the topic because it is one of the most pervasive of all literary genres and one of the most difficult to define. In fact, no less an authority than the Encyclopaedia Britannica says, where satire is concerned, determining a 'definition' is like nailing jello to a tree:

Satire is. . . one of the most heavily worked literary designations (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/designations) and one of the most imprecise. The great English lexicographer Samuel Johnson (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Samuel-Johnson) defined satire as “a poem in which wickedness or folly is censured,” and more elaborate definitions are rarely more satisfactory. No strict definition can encompass (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encompass) the complexity of a word that signifies, on one hand, a kind of literature—as when one speaks of the satires of the Roman poet Horace (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Horace-Roman-poet) or calls the American novelist Nathanael West (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Nathanael-West)’s A Cool Million a satire—and, on the other, a mocking spirit or tone that manifests (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/manifests) itself in many literary genres (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/genres) but can also enter into almost any kind of human communication. Wherever wit (https://www.britannica.com/topic/humor) is employed to expose something foolish or vicious to criticism (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/criticism), there satire exists, whether it be in song or sermon, in painting (https://www.britannica.com/art/painting) or political debate, on television or in the movies. In this sense satire is everywhere.

That is an excellent evasion of defining satire. Let's clear up some misconceptions. First, try staying away from the noun "satire". It's a solid noun and cries our for the limitations we expect of nouns--"dammit! tell me what it IS!" That demand will just lead to a world of frustration. An adjectival approach is more productive: "that poem has a sharp satirical edge" or "the narrator's praise of his lover is really quite satirical". These kinds of statements focus on TONE or possibly DELIVERY or a certain ATMOSPHERE that the poem creates. Second, though wit and humour are often, if not usually, employed for satirical effect, 'comedy' is NOT required in satire. The ideal end result of satire is radical change in a nasty societal practice or change in the behavior of an individual or an institution. Swift's 1729 essay, A Modest Proposal, written at a time when Ireland had been ground down to a nation of impoverished peasants exploited by absentee English landlords, suggests that the peasantry breed more vigorously and sell their offspring as meat to the English. The essay details best time for slaughtering, costs of raising the stock, how many roasts and other cuts could be gained from a plump, healthy child at this age or that. Written in dry, clinical, descriptive prose. . .the essay was stunning. No laughs here.

All three of the poems I posted are satirical in tone and intent. Two isolate social realities and, if they're doing their job, shocked some readers, filled others with revulsion and loathing. The titles, as some of you noted, are very much part of the biting edge. If you lost some sleep over the poems, good. The third (Satan. . .) held up for derision the complex lengths men go to--in ANY religion--in dealing with fear, guilt, and evil. Different though they may be, their execution is consistently nasty, even disgusting, though their intent is to challenge the reader's attitudes and assumptions. . .perhaps even CHANGE them.

There s much to talk about here. the question, it seems to me at this early point, is--does this group of poets want to engage in the conversation?

midnightpoet
October 3rd, 2017, 05:06 AM
Actually, Clark, I learned a lot from this discussion, and it broadened my understanding of the term. I'll admit I don't have as broad a literary experience as some, and I'm never too old to learn.

Pete_C
October 3rd, 2017, 06:23 AM
Bloody typical poets, hung up on definitions!!!

You can spot a poet at a horse fair because they'll be selling a dog or a water buffalo.

'No, this IS a horse. The definition of a horse is a quadraped that can be used as a beast of burden, a form of transport, involved in sport or eaten as a source of protein.'

Satire existed before definitions. It's main objective was to enable a writer (or artist, actor, philosopher, etc.) to be critical of those in power without bringing down a shit storm upon their heads.

'No, your Majesty, it's not about you because you are NOT a cruel tyrant who rapes orphans, are you? No, it's a whimsical story that explains how lucky we are to have you rather than this other King.'

Satire allows the the writer to question authority, potential patrons or those in power in such a way that the reader knows what is being said, but the target has to acknowledge the criticism in order to take revenge. It was, literally, a life saver (or a money saver). More modern satire often exists to prevent legal action.

It is far more important to think about why satire existed than how it is defined. Are any of the three poems attached in the OP satire? I don't think so. Speaking out, highlighting wrongs or challenging the status quo are not satire, even if done in a style typical of satirists.

Often satire is forced because it is not needed. Where it is, it becomes a valuable tool. Do you think the satirists in the Greek and Roman empires, in the world of medieval nepotism, during the reformation, under the yoke of empirical tyranny thought, 'I know; I'll knock up a poem following this definition from a book.'?

If you need a definition to understand satire, then you don't need satire. You need a dog to sell at the horse fair!

Pete_C
October 3rd, 2017, 06:34 AM
Swift's 1729 essay, A Modest Proposal, written at a time when Ireland had been ground down to a nation of impoverished peasants exploited by absentee English landlords, suggests that the peasantry breed more vigorously and sell their offspring as meat to the English. The essay details best time for slaughtering, costs of raising the stock, how many roasts and other cuts could be gained from a plump, healthy child at this age or that. Written in dry, clinical, descriptive prose. . .the essay was stunning. No laughs here.



Here I must disagree. A Modest Proposal is a cornucopia of laughs. It's dry, yes, but desparetly funny and would have been acceptable in its time because it's high comedy.

Neetu
October 3rd, 2017, 12:26 PM
Pete,
It is far more important to think about why satire existed than how it is defined.
Satire has existed in the past, exists in the present, and will likely exist in the future. So it is not a question of why it "existed" because it is the nature of our existence and society that calls for the use of satire. Or anything else, if you please. We use language to articulate our perceptions, our ideas and our responses to the world around us, and while the definition of satire may be irrelevant, its use continues to be part of our expression. Not just in poetry or literature, but also in talk shows, movies and media. I think we already know that its precise definition is impossible. We also already know why it exists.

Neetu
October 3rd, 2017, 12:35 PM
True that A Modest Proposal is an example of dry high comedy but it highlights and exposes the social problems of its time. Which may be laughing matter to some but not to others. Either way, it forces the readers to pay attention. Or take Charles Dickens who used derision, irony and wit to expose the ills of his time through his novels. Yes, they can make us laugh but they also make us cry.

Phil Istine
October 3rd, 2017, 01:13 PM
I love satire, but I think it's very important to do it well because it can backfire if a reader doesn't recognise it as such. On things like TV shows, it's far easier to pick it out because we have all the usual cues of voice tone, body movement, facial expressions, timing etc. In the written word it can be so much more difficult to put across.

It seems more important than ever, in our oh-so politically correct societies, to make satire about people generally; a kind-of "yes, we humans are like that" rather than "those type of people are like that."

It is difficult, so kudos for giving it a whirl.

As for the poems, I didn't really tune in to the first one, but the other two were very likeable once I had read through a couple of times.
The first one is probably fine as well, but your poetic prowess far exceeds mine so it's likely that I simply didn't understand. I didn't choose Phil Istine as my user name by accident.

midnightpoet
October 3rd, 2017, 02:03 PM
I'm not hung up on definitions, just knowledge and learning - and I've learned some things. One thing I have learned in my 73 years - disagreement is healthy if it encourages the pursuit of truth. Lets keep it that way.

Neetu
October 3rd, 2017, 03:37 PM
Now that we have discussed satirical poetry, Clark, can we return to poetry?

Kevin
October 3rd, 2017, 04:48 PM
True that A Modest Proposal is an example of dry high comedy but it highlights and exposes the social problems of its time. Which may be laughing matter to some but not to others. Either way, it forces the readers to pay attention. Or take Charles Dickens who used derision, irony and wit to expose the ills of his time through his novels. Yes, they can make us laugh but they also make us cry.It is only slightly funny. It is more a scathing criticism of popular belief and attitude, about arrogance and how the imperial English were superior to the 'other'. It points out hypocrisy of a 'christian' nation, and their attitude that the wretched are wretched because they deserve it, and therefor undeserving of pity. It is this pitiless attitude, a responsible business attitude, which was highly valued, that could, or would- that is the proposal- come up with the entirely pragmatic solution of cannibalism. This of course did not sit well with the 'civilized' Brits. It is holding up mirror and not liking what one sees.

Neetu
October 3rd, 2017, 04:58 PM
19697

Darren White
October 4th, 2017, 09:12 AM
There s much to talk about here. the question, it seems to me at this early point, is--does this group of poets want to engage in the conversation?

I do, clark.

clark
October 5th, 2017, 12:58 AM
PETE -- How to respond to your very aggressive post? If it is intended as a poke in good fun at this thread and, more specifically, at my post #31, then it is executed with (I'm feeling charitable) all the subtlety of a cattle prod applied to delicate parts. But accounting for the aggressive tone, esp. the opening, I'll have to leave with you, for there is nothing in the topic itself and nothing in my post that is aggressive, so to even explore possibilities would necessitate getting inside your head and that's not my job. My job, and yours I'm sure, as Midnight puts it, is "the pursuit of truth".

So I now turn to the text of your post, which confuses me even further. Two-thirds of my post asserts that Satire cannot be defined. I am saying--obviously I thought, clearly-- that a quest for Definiton here will be fruitless, because defining satire is like "trying to nail jello to a tree." How many ways do I have to say I (a poet) will have nothing to do with Definitions? Apparently, you missed that part completely, because your post BEGINS with

Bloody typical poets, hung up on definitions!!!

Ain't no other poets at this point in the discussion expressing any concern about 'definitions,' so your shot must be aimed at ME. . .the poet who just went to some lengths to disassociate satire from definitions. Your post then moves on to a mini-lecture on what satire really IS. Now Pete, the rest of your post sounds perilously close to a sort-of-Definition of satire. Very confusing. . You must be saying something other than what you're saying you're saying, y'know what I'm saying? But I don't want to misread your post as seriously as you misread mine, so I'm just going to stop this right here.

You go on to assert that satire precedes definitions, as though I had suggested the opposite, which I did not. No definition of a literary form precedes its practice. It is from the practice that the definition emerges. I don't know why you made the point.

Yes, we disagree about A Modest Proposal, perhaps in degree more than substance. I said "no laughs", because the 18th C. respected and practiced WIT, subtlety and innuendo so finely-tuned that, in Dryden's analogy, a 'cutting' remark could sever a man's head from his body so skilfully he would not know they were separated until he tried to turn his head. Swift's audience would not thigh-slap their way thru his essay, which your remark seemed to suggest..

Pete_C
October 5th, 2017, 03:09 AM
Ain't no other poets at this point in the discussion expressing any concern about 'definitions,' so your shot must be aimed at ME.

Really? My eyes might be getting old and tired but I see four pages of posts! Trust me, if I were aiming a shot at anyone I'd tell them so!

Aggressive? A cattle prod to the delicate parts? Calm down. ''Twas but words.

I thought that the point of a discussion was that people could present their own opinions, rather than simply rallying to the cause of one expert. Maybe I'm wrong on that and should seek a more learned definition..

Satire cuts more than one way.

clark
October 5th, 2017, 03:34 PM
PETE -We approach ‘discussion’differently. I see limited value insimply stating opinions one after the other. For me, the purpose of discussion is to listen carefully to the other'sopinion, concede where you must (because the Other has presented superiorevidence), challenge where he has not, and/or present fresh arguments thatemerge organically from the interaction of the people involved in thediscussion. At no time have I suggested by statement or example, that I had anyinterest in others "rallying to [my] cause". What cause? When I setup this thread, I said I wanted "to open a larger dialectic on the issue ofsatirical poetry in our era ". Neetu put up a quote from Alan Watts (post #41),who says"There is nothing at all that can be talked about adequately, and thewhole Art of poetry is to say what can't be said." That is a provocative, stimulatingproposition that provides a grid on which to EXPLORE, to see how far we canadvance our understanding from the positions we all hold going into thisdiscussion of the relevance of satirical poetry in our era". Our discussion won’t arrive at definitive ‘answers’,we know that. Maybe it isn't even the best way to approach this issue. But we can certainly helpeach other move closer to the right questions.

I suspect youand I may be closer in our thinking than we realize. I also suspect I piss you off in some way Ihaven’t quite sorted out yet. Why notsend me a PM so we can chat?

Cran
October 6th, 2017, 04:02 AM
It's not you, Clark. Pete is a natural agitator; he has a history of generating ricochet energy, and has no problem playing Devil's Advocate. He will happily argue with anyone able to string multi-syllabic words together.

clark
October 6th, 2017, 06:33 AM
CRAN -- Thank you, Sir! Perhaps Pete will accept my invitation to engage in a PM. Argument for its own sake can be fun, even interesting, but usually it ends up in self-absorbed intellectual masturbation (hmm. I suppose that's redundant. . .), or in the verbal equivalent of that ancient Oriental symbol of the snake eating its own tail. Rarely are such exchanges of any interest to the other members on the thread; for that reason, I prefer to see them conducted in private. Thanks again for commenting.

Aldo De Martelaere
October 7th, 2017, 12:51 AM
One of my favourite satirical poems (first stanza).

Mr. Cogito Laments the Pettiness of Dreams

Even dreams have grown smaller
where are the dream pageants of our grandmothers and grandfathers
when colorful as birds carefree as birds they ascended
the imperial staircase lit with a thousand chandeliers
and grandfather already tamed to the walking stick pressed to his side
a silver sword and unloved grandmother who out of courtesy
put on for him the face of his first love

etc.

Herbert Zbigniew.

IF I may call it satirical, of course. I think it's satirical because it cuts sharply through our 'rosy' picture of romance, and presents with a certain dryness a reality that we easily load with (in casu positive) values. Is this humouristic? Certainly not. It can be rather shocking and confronting. And as a result maybe sometimes stir us to act (though I've no idea what that action would be in this poem).

There might be a deep link between poetry and satire, as (to me) poetry is about presenting things the way they are.

Cran
October 7th, 2017, 03:30 AM
Apologies for staying off-topic:


CRAN -- Thank you, Sir! Perhaps Pete will accept my invitation to engage in a PM. Argument for its own sake can be fun, even interesting, but usually it ends up in self-absorbed intellectual masturbation (hmm. I suppose that's redundant. . .), or in the verbal equivalent of that ancient Oriental symbol of the snake eating its own tail. Rarely are such exchanges of any interest to the other members on the thread; for that reason, I prefer to see them conducted in private. Thanks again for commenting.

On the other hand, mental jousting between those proficient in the craft is a popular spectator sport, and another tool for teaching and practice.

It's true that one of my first acts as owner was to shut down the natural arena for such demonstrations - it collapsed too often into flame wars, circular arguments, and the like.

But, in the relevant discussion forums, we could still accommodate bouts of opposing views on any divergent point by moving such posts into a new thread for further discussion. Better that than to stifle discussion, or derail an existing one.