Abstract - concrete

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Thread: Abstract - concrete

  1. #1

    Abstract - concrete

    Following the discussion of Scr1pter's poem 'Now' in the Workshop, I came to realize that there are far more definitions and usages of both words. For me, and I am sure for others, it's sometimes hard to grasp.
    Especially since I am not a native speaker, I have the tendency to use a lot of words called 'abstract' by others, leaving me scratching my head.

    So, two quotes here from the 'Now' thread, especially TL Murphy's explanation is a good one. Although I am not sure I will never do it wrong anymore in the future. In red what for me is the most important in the quote.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scr1pter View Post
    In programming languages, an abstract type is a type in a nominative type system that cannot be instantiated directly; a type that is not abstract – which can be instantiated – is called a concrete type. Every instance of an abstract type is an instance of some concrete subtype.

    So what I was saying is that an Abstract class would be the base of any concrete class you may create to override methods created within the abstract class. Abstract classes that allow a override use the virtual keyword inside of the method declaration

     // An abstract class with constructor 
     abstract class Base { 
         Base() { System.out.println("Base Constructor Called"); } 
         abstract void fun(); 
     class Derived extends Base { 
         Derived() { System.out.println("Derived Constructor Called"); } 
         void fun() { System.out.println("Derived fun() called"); } 
     class Main { 
         public static void main(String args[]) {  
            Derived d = new Derived(); 
    Quote Originally Posted by TL Murphy View Post
    Just to clarify here, “abstract” and “concrete” have specific meanings when discussing poetry. They are part of the literary jargon, like “rhyme” and “meter” and “juxtaposition.” Poets and other literary types have endowed these words with conventions so that we can talk about poetry in a way that others can understand what we are saying. In poetry, and literature in general, “abstract” refers to ideas, i.e. concepts that cannot be detected by the senses like love, faith, soul, God, existence, transcendence. “Concrete” refers to anything that can be detected by the senses like stone, wind, shout, light, etc.: objects, sounds and sensations. Of course language changes and ideas evolve, and it is important to push the parameters of meaning constantly. So it is refreshing to question conventional meaning and even to challenge it. But talking about poetry is not the same as writing poetry and when we are talking about poetry we must be able to agree on what words mean. Otherwise we can’t talk about it. So “abstract” and “concrete” mean something else in the world of programming. It would be interesting to see a poem written about the world of programming that used “abstract” and “concrete” in ways that challenge our conventional thinking. But when we are talking about poetry, we need to use the language of poetry.
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  2. #2

    Posted by Scr1pter
    Well I guess the definition of abstract could be different although my intention was to see if there were any likenesses. I have found that abstract poetry is also known as sound poetry and that the sound of words used matter more than the actual meaning of the words. Rhyming words are common and are often used descriptively rather than subjectively. Meaning a subject must already exist in order to be descriptive of it.
    So as far as likeness abstract seems to always relate to what already exists, and cannot exist by itself.
    When creating an object we use a concrete class which is derived from the abstract base class.
    A prototype can serve to present an idea without actually having full intended functionality.
    It is just the basis of the idea or subject. Which very much relates to the way abstract is used in poetry.

    Reply from TL Murphy:

    Sound poetry is sound poetry and not classified as “abstract.” It is closer to music or lyrics. It may be abstract in the conventional sense of the word, i.e. that it’s hard to pin meaning on it. But “abstract“ poetry is poetry or fragments of poetry that express intellectual “concepts” that cannot be seen, touched, smelled, felt or heard, as opposed to “concrete” poetry which is expressed through objects or sensations which present the reader with clear images. The difference is that the reader cannot visualize “love” or “hope” but the reader can visualize a kiss or a rose. We use the images in concrete poetry as metaphors to help the reader visualize intellectual concepts that are impossible to detect in the body. This is how we make poetry immediate, experiential and relevant as opposed to conceptual, ephemeral and... well... abstract.

  3. #3
    It took me quite a while to understand that sort of 'abstract'. That it points at concepts rather than tangible items. I do now,

    I don't agree with this 'abstract poetry is sound poetry' idea. It's just too far-fetched.

    Also this:
    [...] a subject must already exist in order to be descriptive [...]
    I don't agree, it's absolutely possible to describe in words or in text a yet non-existing thing, event, sound, or whatever. It's part of any creative mind.
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  4. #4
    I wish someone would write articles on poetry that explain the crafting of making a poem. More people would write poetry with such articles recommended or written on the forums. That way more people can participate in the community. I am intimidated by poetry. I wish someone would bare this burden to improve the poetry section's information section.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  5. #5
    Trying to explain how to write a poem in a one size fits all form is like trying to explain how one's soul sees the world through everyone elses eyes. We see only through our own, so what we describe is blind. While we can empathise and imagine, it is not true sight. There is no easy, straight forward way. And the only way to learn is to actually try. What works for one, may never work for another. It is part of what makes the creative process so unique and personal. Wade in and feel for the bottom with your toes or take a last breath, dive deep, and dare to open your eyes.

    As to abstract and concrete, it comes down to connecting the idea to the allegory. Narrative poetry has a tendency to keep the idea masked, while using it as a driving force of the story, while the story lends fixed context to the idea. If one struggles to define the abstract, start with a solid core and work from the center out to the fluid edges. Ice to steam and back. Cinnabar to mercury...

    - D.
    Last edited by Darkkin; February 19th, 2020 at 05:18 PM.

  6. #6
    I admit most poetry is learned by doing. I promised myself I would not buy another poetry book but Wingbeats is the only one with activities I like. We could recommend book resources to other people who want to write poetry. Currently going to purchase two books and it's the wingbeat series. Not saying Wingbeats is the one to get. I get this is trail and error to find a book that might help in some marginal way to practice more often. Writing stories can also be learned by doing. In fact that's a learning style. It's called a kinesthetic learning style. Montessori schools use it. People retain more information when they practice. In writing, it's the situation that you get better whether poetry or stories. So it seems articles is not a good idea after all.
    Last edited by Theglasshouse; February 19th, 2020 at 06:54 PM.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  7. #7
    ‘brillig’ and ‘toves’ appear to be concrete instances of an abstract type. ‘slithy’ and ‘mimsy’ seem to instantiate a different abstract class. But what are their real concrete referents in the workaday world?
    and how does this affect one’s approach to poetry?

  8. #8
    Tirralirra --

    In 1956, Paul Roberts, an English teacher and student of linguists and mathematics, published Patterns of English , based on the core premise of modern Descriptive Linguists, viz, that language structure is innate to humans. By this reasoning, a child does not "learn" English nor is English grammar "taught" as though it were an external entity new to the child. No, the issue is one of unteaching, of tapping or releasing a resource innate to the child's DNA, so to speak. To demonstrate, Roberts presented nonsense 'sentences' to very young children--about 6 to 8, I think. This sort of thing:

    A fwatter gingled the wifflezaps

    Banglzips rengle typlops squinlelpops/

    Whopplely, fiddlenips mokkle prilpilly

    The kids didn't know parts of speech or other technical terms, but when asked "who is doing something?" or "what was done to someone?" and similar questions, some quite subtle, they answered quickly and surely. Thought it was a great little game. They were identifying the parts and functions of their own speech by the POSITION of 'words" in the utterances and by 'word' ENDINGS. And no one had taught them anything. [ASIDE -- Chomsky's first book, SYNTACTIC STRUCTURES, was published in 1957, but he was making waves as a brilliant young linguist for five or six years before that. He and Roberts certainly start from the same platform, but I have been unable to find any evidence the two men met or ever mentioned each other. Curious.]

    I offer this comment merely to retune my own awareness of the parameters of language itself, which of course is the foundation of poetry. "In the beginning there was the concrete. And the child saw that it was good." Children begin 'releasing' their innate store of knowledge about language by uttering nouns. Solid, familiar 'things' important to them. Abstractions are SUMMATIVE, big invisible bowls into which we chuck (later) things that seem to go together. These big bowls simply facilitate discourse> They have no tangible reality themselves (Tim's earlier post on this i find very helpful)

    So, Tirralirra, this has been an attempt to respond to your question, "how does this affect one's approach to poetry" ? Respond. Not answer. For me, at any rate, having a closer understanding that patterns of concrete language are already engrained in my DNA, localizes and contains my elusive Muse--no longer is she an elusive whimsical shadow 'over there'; rather, she's already a resident. We just need to get better acquaintedj
    Last edited by clark; March 4th, 2020 at 05:23 AM.


    "I believe in nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of the imagination". Keats, ​Letters

    "No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main . . . any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls -- it tolls for thee. " John Donne, Meditation XVII

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by clark View Post
    This next is but marginally relevant. . .but that never stops me from an apparent digression that I think will be helpful. Paul Roberts, an English teacher and student of linguists and mathematics, published Patterns of English (1956), based on the base premise of MODERN dESCRIPTIVR lINGUISTS-THAT NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN NNNNNNN FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF FFFFFFFFFFF prin
    Are you alright?

  10. #10
    Poetry is an Abstract that can only be defined by the concrete.
    The concrete is always personal in the sense that it begins with the writer's perceptions of the world at large.

    This is a Hollander Sonnet 13 lines of 13 syllables. Yes he had a weird take on what poetry was for sure. He wrote many poems using this form and the content really fit tight for him as the writer. Think of the poem's metaphor as this shovel as the poet writing the poem. And you'll begin to see the figurative language of the concrete take shape about the actual writing of poetry (as I see it) But parts of the poem might also hit you in the right spot as well to feel something about writing poetry rather than prose. But ask yourself this question about writing; do we own it if another takes it to heart? Or is it meant to be a gift to whoever finds it's depth of concern in form and content being the same thing? Poetry is music that is suppose to breathe. It is song for the ears and not the voice. It is Aural more so than oral. This is the language of the concrete, not the abstract. But it contains an abstract thought nonetheless as a deeper concept than the storyline. What you get here are just feelings and not concepts you have to seek the concepts for yourself about being human, about being born and living, and later dying. Just as the poem itself is born, takes the journey of life, and later dies in a forgotten hole somewhere in a drawer or old file somewhere.

    My Shovel Left There

    The other afternoon, I walked the hillside toward
    the tool shed before the storm. The sky was grayish ash
    like an old man's beard. Later after the downpour, I
    revisited the backyard where the drips ticked under
    spindled oaks. The toes of my shoes were wet from the heads
    of beaded weeds. I noticed my spade were I'd left it
    pushed down into the turned earth of the mulched garden bed.
    Its single handle stood upright in that drizzled rain.
    The scooped-up bundles of packed sod humped in mangled rows.
    Loam eroded by raindrops. The shovel's edge still cut
    into that space set aside for the beefsteak seedlings.
    I keep seeing that place renewed for the following;
    myself there spade after year digging a filled in hole.

    R. H. Peat — 5/7/98

    Have fun with the example.
    There are more examples by different poets below. (Ars Poetica)
    a poet friend
    RH Peat

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