C.S Lewis not a good poet according to a documentary


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Thread: C.S Lewis not a good poet according to a documentary

  1. #1

    C.S Lewis not a good poet according to a documentary

    Several months ago I was watching a documentary that said C.S Lewis attempted many times to write good poetry but never managed to do so. It also said that even though his poetry was bad his prose was electrifying. I think that's the word it used. What I don't understand is this: If it is more difficult to produce the varied rhythms of prose than the rigid meter of poetry then why did C.S Lewis have such a hard time with things such as a simple iambic or trochaic meter? Maybe he did not really think about rhythm in his prose but just somehow had some kind of natural rhythm? I doubt that authors just write the way they talk, especially ones from earlier time periods. Maybe he actually was good at making words conform to meter but his poetry was still bad anyway.

    This makes me wonder about my poetry since I seem to manage meter well but for some reason it is still not good.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    I am not a good poet. So don't take this as advice but it is more for information purposes. Poets study prosody to rhyme better. I will say the following. I looked online for prosody books since I was researching how to write with the five senses the best ( to show and tell) and as we all know poetry is one approach to describing more specifically and with detail for prose writers. Prosody is the study of the sounds of poetry. It would be extremely difficult to find one on prose. But I will buy these how to books on prosody and poetry books at some point in the future. That being said a book for beginners or that is easy to understand is best for prosody and poetry. But I am not a poet or in a position to give advice on this as I am just informing you on what prosody really is. Which not many fiction writers know since it is the study of the sounds and rhythms.I bought 4 to 5 poetry books and none were for beginners.
    Last edited by Theglasshouse; February 1st, 2019 at 06:25 PM.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by lumino View Post
    Several months ago I was watching a documentary that said C.S Lewis attempted many times to write good poetry but never managed to do so. It also said that even though his poetry was bad his prose was electrifying. I think that's the word it used. What I don't understand is this: If it is more difficult to produce the varied rhythms of prose than the rigid meter of poetry then why did C.S Lewis have such a hard time with things such as a simple iambic or trochaic meter? Maybe he did not really think about rhythm in his prose but just somehow had some kind of natural rhythm? I doubt that authors just write the way they talk, especially ones from earlier time periods. Maybe he actually was good at making words conform to meter but his poetry was still bad anyway.

    This makes me wonder about my poetry since I seem to manage meter well but for some reason it is still not good.

    What do you think?

    C.S. Lewis published dozens of books and perhaps four of them were poetry as well as a collection of poetry. So somebody thought he was a good poet. It seems his poetry was published when he was in his twenties. So it may be that he found other forms to write in that were more expressive for him so he never developed further as a poet. Poetry is not for everyone and like everything else, it takes a long time to get good at it. Many novelists start with poetry but for whatever reason move on to fiction. Perhaps poetry is too hard, or it doesn't make as much money as fiction, but either way they abandon it and move on to something else. Faulkner said he only wrote fiction because he was a such a terrible poet. Hemingway published a book of poetry but he wasn't much of a poet either yet both of these guys won a Pulitzer and a Nobel Prize. I guess poetry wasn't for them. It's not often that a writer excels at both. A few exceptions are Robert Penn Warren, James Dickey and William Shakespeare. Among Canadians, I could site Michael Ondaaje, Margaret Atwood and Robert Kroetsch. There are others, of course, but it's relatively rare to find writers who were great at both. Poets aren't born, they develop. It takes a lot of reading and a lot of writing.

    Should we expect a great guitar player to also be a great trombone player? She might pick it up quicker than others because he already has a handle on musical theory and structure and a feeling for musical expression which means she could skip all that when learning trombone but to master technique would still take years.
    Last edited by TL Murphy; August 29th, 2019 at 04:51 PM.

  4. #4
    I think C.S Lewis could have been a great poet too but I don't think he really cared for it and sadly he isn't really known for poetry anyway so fiction was better off for him.

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