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Your Thoughts on Modern Poetry

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KyaryPamyu
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I know poetry is the most hot-button issue on this forum, but I'm chiming in with yet another installment, this time on modern poetry.

Usually when we talk, we use whatever words, metaphors and styles help us effectively communicate the message. 

In poetry, however, the form is not passive, but an active participant in achieving the desired meaning and effect. We all know that rhyme and meter are artificial, but check this out, if I write the next words

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there is a special kind of emphasis which would not be achieved by conventional prose. 

Or, if I said that the sentence you're reading right now raises in your mind like a hungover woman getting up from a bathroom floor, there is disconnect of style that is not strictly necessitated by communicating the gist of the message, but irreplaceable if you want to achieve that exact meaning and effect.

Put more simply, poetry is a bona-fide syncretic art, much more than regular prose literature is. 

This description only takes form in consideration, and remains silent regarding the possible (legitimate) uses of things like opacity an incomprehensibility in poetry (and other art forms).

Ayn Rand was against concrete-bound rules when it comes to art, so one can only imagine if she would've been open to modern poetry if she head a rational defense of it. 

Peikoff, in one of the few treatments of poetry given by an O'ist, thinks that poetry is synonymous with works by western authors. But rhyme and rhytm are not the only kinds of formal artifice employed historically. Tanka poetry uses the 5-7-5-7-7 scheme (number of sylables per line); Greek epics have no rhyming scheme and their meter is meant to facilitate memorization. And many other examples.

My newest addiction is looking for gems in Poetry magazine. You have to plough through the 98% of questionable stuff in order to find the 2% of gems, but when you do... it's uncanny how precisely things you deemed incommunicable can be put on a page when you give free reign to form. There's also no particular literary school or theory associated with the magazine, so it's impossible to predict what you'll find when you turn the page to the next poem. All issues can be read on the website.

...though I will occasionaly encounter the full-blown type of subjectivism which claims that an artwork is an artwork because the author said so (the advice is this work is mostly good, by the way).

Either way, here are some modern poems to kick-start this thread (which I'm sure will break the OO.com servers due to the massive influx of comments from modern poetry enthusiasts). I don't necessarily condone the values contained inside, only the interesting execution. Some have audio as well (use the play button near the titles)

Peripheral (Hannah Emerson)
I'm not a religious person but (Chen Chen)
New Rooms (Kay Ryan)
End of Side A (Adrian Matejka) (an inspiration for this thread, though I like this one of his better, awesome reader)

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5 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

...though I will occasionaly encounter the full-blown type of subjectivism which claims that an artwork is an artwork because the author said so (the advice is this work is mostly good, by the way).

Setting a little context around the end of this snippet:

Betty: Art isn't art until someone says it is.
Katherine: It's art!
Betty: The right people.
Katherine: Who are they?
 
5 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

We all know that rhyme and meter are artificial, but check this out, if I write the next words

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there is a special kind of emphasis which would not be achieved by conventional prose. 

The effect reminded me of The Holstee Manifesto and ties back with "(the advice in this work is mostly good, by the way.)" from the first citation referenced in this response.

holstee_manifesto_poster_18x24_e8bd741d-

5 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

My newest addiction is looking for gems in Poetry magazine. You have to plough through the 98% of questionable stuff in order to find the 2% of gems, but when you do... it's uncanny how precisely things you deemed incommunicable can be put on a page when you give free reign to form.

I found myself scrolling through your collection of masks, and reflecting on several of them. Your choice of the word "addiction" above, doesn't capture the intensity you displayed via the scope of what had been included there. Addiction lacks a degree of what came across as more passionate in the related gallery.

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Robert Frost used to say that writing poetry without rhyme and meter was like playing tennis without the net.

However, I think a poem can succeed well without rhyme and meter -- if, on other measures, it excels enough to make up for it.

I used to love poetry when I was in high school -- reading it and writing it -- and I liked some poems that had rhyme and meter, and some poems that did not have it. But I drifted away from it because I didn't really know where to find new poetry. There were only the textbooks, and you could find books by those authors in the library, but nothing else. I didn't know about Poetry magazine so thanks for that. Maybe I can rediscover poetry...

Do they allow rhymed and metered poetry, or do they dismiss it without further consideration? ... I think it should be allowed, but I suppose there's also a possible dispute about whether a poem that has to bend grammar rules, and give up on the ideal choice of words, in order to achieve rhyme and meter, is still a good poem. I mean, should it get "points" for achieving rhyme and meter, or is there a judgment that the cost to meaning isn't "worth it"?

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6 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

collection of masks

You might be referring to Tenderlysharp's post from a while back.

5 hours ago, necrovore said:

Do they allow rhymed and metered poetry

From the founder's mission statement:

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the editors hope to keep free from entangling alliances with any single class or school. They desire to print the best English verse which is being written today, regardless of where, by whom, or under what theory of art it is written. Nor will the magazine promise to limit its editorial comments to one set of opinions."

They do publish every style under the sun, so it's mostly of interest to those that want to keep up with what's going on in the poetry world.

There's far more rhymed poetry in the older issues (1912 onwards).

Like The New Yorker, the magazine has an 'open door' policy where they publish poems even if you're not famous. They receive about 90.000 submissions/year, with a publication rate below 1%, making it one of the hardest literary magazines to get published in. They even reject submissions from Pulitzer prize winners (and sometimes publish the resulting hate-mail as well).

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6 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

You might be referring to Tenderlysharp's post from a while back.

Yes. I was going to reference it with a link, and had I done so, would have realized the erroneous thought and not have committed the faux pas.

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KyaryPamyu, I think there are many enticing schemes for rhymes to occur and many more affecting rythyms than the conventionally established rhythm-patterns we learn in high school. And there is much fun to have with sounds and ways not usual of making meaning from words. Thank you for your observations on this topic you brought forth. And thank you for the links to the poems from Poetry Foundation. In Chicago, I worked for some years at a printing and mailing firm. One of our customers was Poetry magazine. It would come onto the dock as one great skid stacked about five feet high with the entirety wrapped together in a single cardboard surround covered with a strong plastic, as I recall. We mailed them out to the subscribers. The management at our firm would make sure to snatch a copy for me, because they knew I loved it. Some of my gems there were "The Giant Who Took the World for a Pill" by Patti-Ann Rogers and "Potpourri" by Gerald Stern. There was another—by poet I don't recall name just now—titled "Two Deer". I have the issues still, on a shelf in the basement. I may not remember always the name of the poet, but the feeling for the land the poet made can yet remain.

I don't know if you have seen any of my poems here. They are not for everyone. I have learned, however, that at least here and there there is a poem of mine that grabs a reader and it is of terrible importance to them. Mine have quite a bit of difference between each other, and that is something I have enjoyed exploring. Yet, there is something elusive that is common to them, I don't know what, and that is about my only evidence that Rand might be right about a person having a sense of life, I mean for real, a real person. Topically, I can't imagine me ever writing a poem about public life, only the personal, for whatever reason that might be. Those are collected here to enjoy or not.

Edited by Boydstun
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