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Thread: What is Poetry

  1. #41
    A related question, does(would) having what you feel is a definition of poetry, help you write poetry better, easier, etc? Verses not having such and perhaps going about writing poetry in a mechanical way?
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  2. #42
    Pel, my opinion is that defining poetry limits poetry. So to answer your question, no. Having a definition of poetry doesn't help you write better poetry. But understanding poetic techniques does.

  3. #43
    TL Murphy, can't poetry be defined if it has techniques and elements that can be studied and improved? If there are poetic techniques, than that would mean it has some true set of limits that can be examined.

  4. #44
    Thonik, you can define technique if you want. Any good poem needs it. We call that craft. But if a poem is only technique then it is only craft. Poetry is more than the sum of its parts. It's art and that makes it difficult to define.
    Last edited by TL Murphy; May 10th, 2019 at 03:27 AM.

  5. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Thonik View Post
    If there are poetic techniques, than that would mean it has some true set of limits that can be examined.
    The logic is not good, because the techniques are not mandatory there are not set limits.
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  6. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Linton Robinson View Post
    This says it about as well as anything

    Ars Poetica


    A poem should be palpable and mute
    As a globed fruit

    Dumb
    As old medallions to the thumb

    Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
    Of casement ledges where the moss has grown -

    A poem should be wordless
    As the flight of birds

    A poem should be motionless in time
    As the moon climbs

    Leaving, as the moon releases
    Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

    Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
    Memory by memory the mind -

    A poem should be motionless in time
    As the moon climbs

    A poem should be equal to:
    Not true

    For all the history of grief
    An empty doorway and a maple leaf

    For love
    The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea -

    A poem should not mean
    But be

    Archibald MacLeish
    Nice, mind blowing.........thankx

  7. #47
    Member dither's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by midnightpoet View Post
    PiP, I've given up trying to define anything and just write what I want to. Several times here I've written what I thought was poetry only to have someone say it's not. Don't drive yourself crazy; back in the 60's we "did our own thing." I think it still works.
    I came here looking for answers and, the more I've read here, the less I know. It seems to me that all information and/or perceived wisdom or knowledge serves to do is sow seeds of doubt and, although well-intended, conflicting views. I like what the midnightpoet has to say about the subject. I think that any kind of writing relies upon inspiration and stimulation or, is it the other way around ? And maybe I'm just another dullard who really should go stick his head in a bucket.

    First off, I think, you have to like whatever you write and feel better for having done so. If some how it reaches out to others and said others are touched by, able to relate to, or empathise WITH even, the written words and/or the writer, well that really is the icing isn't it.

    Enough said I think,

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  8. #48
    dither, poetry defies definition. Which is probably why this thread has over a thousand responses. It's an endless discussion, like trying to define abstract painting. As soon as you define poetry you limit it. Here’s an expert from a comment I made on another thread:

    Poetry is a constantly evolving art form. Having said that, you can’t just write anything and call it poetry. If it isn’t figurative language, it isn’t poetry. Music defies definition but we know it when we hear it. We can talk about music in speech, but that doesn’t mean that speech is music. We know the difference even though, sometimes it’s hard to articulate. Poetry is poetry because it is not prose and it is not music, but is somewhere in between and has qualities of both.

    There are no rules in poetry. There is convention, tradition. There are techniques and devices. And there are forms. When we make recommendations or suggestions in critique they are subjective. But the best critique is based on precedent, not rules. We look to the successful poets who have come before us, poets whose style or voice we admire for whatever reason and we try to unravel what it is that makes their poems so good. These are the poems and poets that we want to read over and over again because there is some kind of magic in the words and phrasing that gives us goosebumps or something.

    Today we tend to view “form” loosely. A traditional sonnet is 14 lines of iambic pentameter with a set rhyming pattern and a juxtaposition of the first octet with the last sextet. But many people today write what they call sonnets and the traditional form is barely recognizable.

    Free form poetry is not the same as prose poetry. But free form can be prose. Most of what you see on WF is free form. All it means is that there is no set form. No set rhyme pattern, no set rhythm. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t cadence or meter or that there isn’t rhyme.

    The difference between prose poetry and “lyrical” poetry is often vague. I like to call it a continuum. On one end is straight, mechanical prose, on the other end is very rigid rhyming couplets or whatever. Somewhere near the middle is where prose becomes poetry. But there is poetic prose and there is prosey poetry.
    Last edited by TL Murphy; March 29th, 2020 at 06:18 AM.

  9. #49
    Member dither's Avatar
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    "Convention", that's the word that I was looking for. If I'm going to make any sort of attempt at creating something that might be considered poetry, I need to have some idea of what I'm striving for. Although I don't really see it as something to "strive for", the prompt that I reacted to...... well.......prompted a reaction. Erm, if that makes any sense. For me, things like this just happen.
    If i post a comment on a "WIP", LOOK! I'm a reader that's all, and i can only tell how i feel, as a READER, giving/offering feedback. Hoping to learn and grow here. So please, tell me where i'm going wrong.

    Me? I'm just a fly on the wall.

    Look! I'm trying, okay?

    One can but dream, if only i had dared.

    "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong" Mahatma Gandhi.
    Alas, i am weak.

    I must find a way to Eastbourne and i so wish that i could dance.

  10. #50
    dither, the best thing is to read lots of poetry. Most of the poetry on the internet is populist crap. But there are some good sites. “Poem Hunter.” “Poetry in Voice.” “Poetry Foundation,” etc.

    Ron Peat has posted some good guides about the essence of poetry. One is “Seeing a Poem’s Depth” at the top of the Poetry section and another is “Poetry in a Nutshell” at the top of “Poetry and Lyrics Workshop.”

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