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Thread: Poetry is not Prose, and Thus Should Not be Devoured as Such

  1. #31
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    To be honest, a very general teaching could jump by Hugo, Chaucer, Racine and even Baudelaire simple because you can replace them by similar great names or because they are much specific (too freench, too english, too classical, too drunk, etc) but even a general, the most general of all, cannt skip Cervantes. He is like the main name of fictional prose, he is the chapter of fictional prose. And Quixote and Pancho, are like that thread about memorable characters, the real one that should be a greek myth or be in the bible.
    It would be akim of teaching physics without teaching matemathics in the process.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Anyways, any literature teaching who does not mention Cervantes every now and them is just unworth of being called teaching. Perhaps people in Canada know Cervantes.
    Well, I guess I've never had an English teacher, then.

    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    ...any literature teaching (which) does not mention Cervantes every now and them is just unworth(y) of being called teaching.

    I must agree. There are certain figures you cannot avoid: Shakespeare, Dante, Milton, Chaucer, Montaigne, Racine, Moliere, Hugo, Baudelaire, Goethe, Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, the Bible, Tolstoy, Joyce, Cervantes... and a good many more. Skipping over any of these writers is a travesty.
    And, there's only so much time a teacher has in a school year/semester. Good luck getting to all those authors you listed while still sticking to the curriculum.

  3. #33
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    Personally I find poetry to be self-indulgent and silly.

    In the words of Paul Dirac: The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way.

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    Paul Dirac looking at a Schrodinger equation



    and trying to convice me It is more simple than


    GIVE me women, wine, and snuff
    Untill I cry out "hold, enough!"
    You may do so sans objection
    Till the day of resurrection:
    For, bless my beard, they aye shall be
    My beloved Trinity.

    by John Keats.
    Last edited by JCamilo; 01-08-2011 at 01:15 PM.

  5. #35
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    In the words of Paul Dirac: The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way.

    Why would anyone give the least concern as to what a physicist had to say about poetry? It would seem as inane as listening to a poet concerning physics.
    Dirac completely misses the point of poetry... of art in general... which is not to convey the "meaning" as simply and clearly as possible. If that were all art were about then there would be no need for it at all as surely one can convey an idea or a "meaning" far more succinctly without ever resorting to poetry, fiction, painting, music, etc... The point of art lies in the experience of the art itself.

    AS J.L. Borges (who certainly knew far more about poetry than your physicist) suggested in his short fiction, The Yellow Rose:

    Neither that afternoon nor the next did the illustrious Giambattista Marino die, he whom the unanimous mouths of Fame — to use an image dear to him — proclaimed as the new Homer and the new Dante. But still, the noiseless fact that took place then was in reality the last event of his life. Laden with years and with glory, he lay dying in a huge Spanish bed with carved bedposts. It is not hard to imagine a serene balcony a few steps away, facing the west, and, below, marble and laurels and a garden whose various levels are duplicated in a rectangle of water. A woman has placed in a goblet a yellow rose. The man murmurs the inevitable lines that now, to tell the truth, bore even him a little:

    Purple of the garden, pomp of the meadow,
    Gem of the spring, April’s eye . . .


    Then the revelation occurred: Marino saw the rose as Adam might have seen it in Paradise, and he thought that the rose was to be found in its own eternity and not in his words; and that we may mention or allude to a thing, but not express it; and that the tall, proud volumes casting a golden shadow in a corner were not — as his vanity had dreamed — a mirror of the world, but rather one thing more added to the world.

    Marino achieved this illumination on the eve of his death, and Homer and Dante may have achieved it as well.
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  6. #36
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    Well you wouldn't very well expect a poet to denounce poetry would you? Or a physicist to denounce physics? Keats was the one who said Isaac Newton destroyed the beauty of rainbows by explaining them.

    I do enjoy music and prose. I don't like art either, especially abstract art. I have written a couple of lymericks, but those are more humorous and not obtuse.

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    Well, poets are often specialists in uderstanding poetry. If we are not take account on specialists... Who we will?

    But the truth, is that Philosophers would laught at Dirac too. Like I showed, the aim of science is not making anythin simple. It is too understand. And some of the things are complicated and to understand you cann't have simplified ideas.

  8. #38
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    But anyways, does anyone else find poetry harder to digest than prose? Am I the only one? If you, like me, find it difficult do you think it is because we arent exposed to poetry as much as prose?

    The thing with poetry is, that the understanding of it may well grow and develop as you do over time. There are, of course, simpler poems that can be understood with a few readings. More complex poetry needs time to digest - such as Eliot's The Wasteland - without there being a final understanding. Often it's just a deepening of understanding.

    Older poetry often needs a bit of study to accommodate context and the use of language. The idea that you can read a book of poetry and understand most of the nuances - as you usually can a novel - is optimistic unless you are already experienced with the poet/ their poetic genre. The best way forward is often discussion.

    Another thing is that you can dip in and chew over poems over a period of time. It's worth the thinking time.

  9. #39
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    One of the differences between poetry and prose is that prose has a licence to ramble, to be diffuse, to explain the point in different ways....but poetry has to make its effect economically, to make each word work without unnecessary padding. I think that is why it takes more effort.

    For someone who is coming to poetry without much experience I would recommend an anthology rather than the complete works of whoever. Variety of author, subject, time, milieu etc can be a good introduction to the more serious study of poetry as a genre and from there to individual poets.
    Last edited by Seasider; 01-08-2011 at 05:43 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberbob View Post
    Personally I find poetry to be self-indulgent and silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by cyberbob View Post
    I don't like art either, especially abstract art.
    You may have a tough time here, cyberbob.

    One thing I forgot to mention about poetry, also, is it's not always just about finding the meaning in a poem, but just enjoying the words; the sound, the structure, the feeling a poem gives you. That's what I read poetry for mostly.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post

    But the truth, is that Philosophers would laught at Dirac too. Like I showed, the aim of science is not making anythin simple. It is too understand. And some of the things are complicated and to understand you cann't have simplified ideas.
    To be fair to Dirac, the quote was directed at Oppenheimer's tendency to romanticize science in artistic terms. The sentence that follows is "The two are incompatable." I disagree with his assessment of poetry, however depending on how you look at it, science's goal indeed is to make things understandable. The explanation may not be simple, but I think it may indeed be simpler than outright mystery. Also, reaching for the most concise and direct explanation possible is definitely cherished in modern science.

    Dirac was a quirky fellow anyway, he had a tendency to take things literally, likely related to his autism.
    "If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
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  12. #42
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    Yeah, I suppose in the end, all make things simple, the path that takes is always complicated.


    Quote Originally Posted by Seasider View Post
    One of the differences between poetry and prose is that prose has a licence to ramble, to be diffuse, to explain the point in different ways....but poetry has to make its effect economically, to make each word work without unnecessary padding. I think that is why it takes more effort.
    What?

  13. #43
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    Hey I dont like abstract art either. Because I look at it and think to myself "I could do that!" Just give me some paint and i'll splatter it onto the canvas and voila! Abstract art.

  14. #44
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    Hey I dont like abstract art either. Because I look at it and think to myself "I could do that!" Just give me some paint and i'll splatter it onto the canvas and voila! Abstract art.

    Give me a pen and paper and I could copy Shakespeare's plays. Does that make me as good of a writer as Shakespeare? Of course not.

    There is a huge gap between invention and copying. I could copy Shakespeare and you could copy Jackson Pollock... but to what avail? The challenge lies in having come up with what they achieved in the first place.
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  15. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    Hey I dont like abstract art either. Because I look at it and think to myself "I could do that!" Just give me some paint and i'll splatter it onto the canvas and voila! Abstract art.

    Give me a pen and paper and I could copy Shakespeare's plays. Does that make me as good of a writer as Shakespeare? Of course not.

    There is a huge gap between invention and copying. I could copy Shakespeare and you could copy Jackson Pollock... but to what avail? The challenge lies in having come up with what they achieved in the first place.
    I think this misses the thrust of ScribbleScribe's post. I've previously encountered sentiment similar to what he expressed; i.e. abstract art is so easy, so devoid of technical skill, so lacking in meaningful structure, it seems that in order to be a great in the field, you'd merely have to splash some paint randomly on canvas, and you'd achieve star status.

    I sometimes share the same sentiment, when thinking of the painting of pure black, which sold for so much (I forget the specifics), and the hoax where a child's scribbles where submitted to a meaningful abstract art contest, and won.

    I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on modern, abstract art from this perspective.
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