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escorial
January 5th, 2020, 08:53 AM
one often thinks of poetry as a literary survivor...I can't recall once being influenced by adverts for the next big thing in poetry or recall hearing a conversation about a great poet outside the luvy brigade...my first poetry memory was at a funeral and it wasn't until much later did I get into it...maybe it was my education or family background that never sparked my interest then or the feeling now that it's just the greatest literary survivor of the ages...

TL Murphy
January 5th, 2020, 07:26 PM
Poetry isn’t for everyone. W.H. Auden once famously wrote in a poem about Yeats, “poetry makes nothing happen”.

This line is often misinterpreted to mean that ‘poetry doesn’t make anything happen’ when it could just as truthfully mean that poetry actively makes “nothing” happen...

Seamus Heaney said “If you’re going to say something, say nothing.”

Both of these statements show the active role of poetry by showing its inverse role of non-action. In other words, poetry invokes reflection rather than action. It is the yin to the yang. It is the snake that eats its own tail. When you consider that everything man does to improve his own lot tends to backfire, then the appeal of non-action becomes more palatable. Aren’t you glad you heard that poem at the funeral so long ago? What else would have moved you that much at a time when there is nothing to do but to accept the finality of death and the urgent need to carry on living?

escorial
January 5th, 2020, 07:48 PM
my fav poetry quote is John Cooper Clark..no one thinks I need to make some money so I'll write a book of poems... watching Clive James last night I had no idea he had published books of the stuff and he wasn't to complimentary about poetry in genral.......one of the best selling poetry books in the UK was The Mersey Sound but that seemed like write place right time stuff...one does admire poetrys ability to just keep going but I don't know how...

escorial
January 12th, 2020, 09:25 AM
i asked the owner of a bookstore and a worker in waterstones which was their best selling poetry book and both gave a similar reply....don't think there is one.....when i stand at a poetry section i can be pretty sure i'll be the only one there....i know of one used bookshop that doesn't have a poetry section and when i asked the owner why he said the only time i get asked for certain books is when a student comes in...now and again....i don't reckon poetry has ever been cool or ever will be but it might have its moment in the spotlight now and again......

Olly Buckle
January 12th, 2020, 11:16 AM
Most poetry isn't instant. There are people like Sue Townsend, Cooper Clark or Benjamin Zephaniah, the 'popular poets' whose work is instantly accessible, but most of it takes repetition and thinking about to 'get it'. I guess people at funerals are in the right frame of mind for that.

My childhood was some time ago :) but the instant sort of poetry , like limericks and 'The mad gardener's song' (bit dated now) were what I was introduced to first, and I guess that is so for most people. Then comes something like Wilfred Owen, which is instantly available in some ways, but susceptible to discovery and analysis, most people got something like that in school. I'm not sure it helped me 'get it' though, pretty much a journey of personal discovery even though I was deliberately introduced at a young age.

escorial
January 12th, 2020, 11:31 AM
that poetry mood...short bursts of words to describe a moment in time....funeral poetry seems like a good category for a book shelf....the top ten funeral poems would probably be the most well known poems....maybe poetry is to much of a bedfellow with miserable experiences...

Olly Buckle
January 12th, 2020, 01:19 PM
Not so sure about that, the best liked/known poem in a survey a while a go was Kipling's 'If'. I'd call that aspirational, not funeral stuff at all, more like the sort of desiderata that people put on the fridge.

I can't think of something like 'Daffodils' being associated with a 'miserable' experience, is it intensity that counts?

escorial
January 12th, 2020, 01:21 PM
i have not read if.....do you have a link to that particular survey...

Olly Buckle
January 12th, 2020, 01:30 PM
If—

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

You probably came back while I was writing my edit, and it is called 'I wandered lonely as a cloud', not 'Daffodils', but here is that too.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

You can hardly call those last lines 'miserable' :)

escorial
January 12th, 2020, 01:33 PM
so there the two most popular poems regarding the survey you mentioned...

Darren White
January 12th, 2020, 01:36 PM
Could I please ask to properly cite anything quoted? Even though this poem is very much in the public domain, we must make sure not to get into any copyright problems. I am asking all of you to add writer, and book/bundle, year of publishing, to any poem quoted on these boards. Thank you :)

escorial
January 12th, 2020, 02:06 PM
is poetry a bad seller.....who buy's the new stuff.....the best exposure i have to new poetry is only shown by aunty....

clark
January 12th, 2020, 04:07 PM
ESC makes some excellent points. In most general bookstores or used bookstores, he probably would be the only person at the poetry section. Location, of course, is important--bookstores close to universities will get more poetry action than general bookstores, yes, because of students and their courses, but also because many poets gravitate towards university areas.

It is also a factor that poets attract poets. I went to a reading in Vancouver--a city that nurtures a lot of poets--recently, and the hall was packed. It might have held 120 people, but I think 150 were there, and others were locked outside. I recognized many people in the audience as poets. But that level of interest is unusual, except in pockets of urban interest.

Interest in poetry also varies by culture and country. A small segment of the populations of Canada, the USA and UK are poets or those deeply interested in poetry. In Pakistan, by contrast, the memory of Muhammad Iqbal, is treasured by the people. He is regarded as one of the Founders of the country and his birthday is a National Holiday. In our countries, there exists a curious reverence for the presence of poetry, even though it is not part of daily life. Towns, Provinces, States and all three of our countries have major federal medals and big cash awards for annual commendations of top poets. It is as though the country feels it would be fundamentally wrong NOT to have annual recognition of the importance of poetry.

escorial
January 12th, 2020, 04:11 PM
just feels that poetry relies on its past more than it's future prospects to keep the art alive and kicking....

Olly Buckle
January 13th, 2020, 10:30 AM
so there the two most popular poems regarding the survey you mentioned...

Sorry wrong impression I gave there, The Rudyard Kipling poem 'If' is the one voted most popular, but then I added Wordsworth's 'I wandered lonely as a cloud' because it is about being lifted and lighthearted and you had said about poems being for funerals. I don't know where the Wordsworth one came in the survey, but it is very well known.
So well known I didn't bother to attribute it properly, sorry Darren, you are quite right.

escorial
January 21st, 2020, 11:31 PM
Walked up to the poetry section in waterstones an a young student lad was looking through john berrymans dream song book...I so wanted to tell him that my favorite poem was in that book but I had no inner resources....

Olly Buckle
January 22nd, 2020, 12:01 PM
Walked up to the poetry section in waterstones an a young student lad was looking through john berrymans dream song book...I so wanted to tell him that my favorite poem was in that book but I had no inner resources....

Probably just as well, if I were him some talkative old git might well put me right off. Better he discovers it for himself, it will give him a sense of possession.

escorial
January 22nd, 2020, 12:10 PM
after I bought my book I did notice 77 dream songs was still on the shelf...

Olly Buckle
January 22nd, 2020, 12:17 PM
Students don't have a lot of money, he may well be reading a bit each day. :)

escorial
January 22nd, 2020, 12:36 PM
The vast majority are middle class..the working class students will probably serve them at the till....

Olly Buckle
January 22nd, 2020, 12:48 PM
The vast majority are middle class..the working class students will probably serve them at the till....

and are in a position to nick it easily. Middle class only means their parents have money, not that they provide them with it, "It will do him good to learn ..."

It makes me wonder, are there some genres of book more frequently stolen than others? I once watched someone who realised that he was being watched by the counter assistant go over to him and ask about a book on the next shelf to the one he was looking at. The assistant walked over and showed him, then whilst he was walking back with his back turned he had the one he wanted off the shelf and under his coat. Like you say, books can be bloody expensive; and those who have time and inclination to read tend toward poverty.

escorial
January 22nd, 2020, 01:20 PM
Not many homeless people looking around waterstones...and they have a vast self help section..

Tirralirra
January 26th, 2020, 06:34 AM
TLM - yes, on the one hand a poem can ‘be about nothing‘. But on the other, there have been many poems, bitter, angry or hopeful, that have inspired to action or revolution.

Irwin has posted a couple of such in the workshop. The poetryfoundation.org has a list headed Poems of protest, resistance and empowerment.
There must be many obvious examples in Spanish and Russian too.
I am sure that you do not mean to exclude these.

I think I am being a bit stupid here. Obviously not all good poetry is about nothing.
If I’m not careful I’ll be opening that ‘what is poetry’ argument again.

Sorry. I won’t delete this - just ignore it (hmm.)

Olly Buckle
January 29th, 2020, 09:03 PM
I think I am being a bit stupid here. Obviously not all good poetry is about nothing.
If I’m not careful I’ll be opening that ‘what is poetry’ argument again.

I remember considerable expression of opinion and discussion, but not argument, or only in the broadest sense of stating the argument for a thesis.

escorial
January 29th, 2020, 09:18 PM
I've yet to hear an argument about poetry... I've read a few stiff members frustrated by a comment but is poetry worth the bother.....

Olly Buckle
January 29th, 2020, 09:37 PM
Not many homeless people looking around waterstones...and they have a vast self help section..

Not all those who tend towards poverty are homeless, and take a look down the library, they are not all dishonest either. I am puzzled to understand the self help reference, do you mean the bit the cameras don't reach :) Or are they supposed to be pulling themselves up by learning? "Never mind 'eclectic tastes' for your sort, boot straps is what you need!"

Irwin
January 29th, 2020, 10:32 PM
Books are dirt cheap and often free; all it takes is a library card. And for ebooks from the library, you don't even need to leave the house! :)

Irwin
January 29th, 2020, 10:36 PM
and are in a position to nick it easily. Middle class only means their parents have money, not that they provide them with it, "It will do him good to learn ..."

It makes me wonder, are there some genres of book more frequently stolen than others? I once watched someone who realised that he was being watched by the counter assistant go over to him and ask about a book on the next shelf to the one he was looking at. The assistant walked over and showed him, then whilst he was walking back with his back turned he had the one he wanted off the shelf and under his coat. Like you say, books can be bloody expensive; and those who have time and inclination to read tend toward poverty.

Bookstores had a huge problem with people stealing this book back in the '70s. I'm not sure why. :)

25354

escorial
January 30th, 2020, 06:25 PM
In waterstones they put the odd paper chip in-between the pages....one has never dropped out while browsing the poetry section...

TL Murphy
February 5th, 2020, 02:27 AM
Escorial, what is your point in this thread? You seem to be beating around a bush, implying that there is some point or argument without actually making one.

luckyscars
February 5th, 2020, 11:31 AM
Escorial, what is your point in this thread? You seem to be beating around a bush, implying that there is some point or argument without actually making one.

His point is that nobody reads poetry anymore. Which is a point people have been making for decades. During which time poetry books have continued to be published and sold for reasons unknown.