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Thread: Are Poets Born Not Made?

  1. #196
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    To be frankly, Stukles, she is kind of right about this specific misinterpretation of what she said.

    She did not claimed - otherwise - that she did not need formal skills or anything she may have learnt. Or that any poet needs only this. She just said without her emotions all her formal skills will be not enough for her to write poetry. And she said those emotions are innate.

    The reply of Morpheus is just bad.

  2. #197
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    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    Now, whose logic is faulty?

    I would say it is your logic that is at question... or your fluency in English isn't quite up to the level you think it is.

    The dispute is really not all that complex here. You have stated that your moods, sensitivity, and emotions are inborn. Everyone has moods, sensitivities, and emotions. Moods, sensitivities, and emotions don't create works of art. We all have perceptions as well. We see, hear, smell, touch, taste... But these alone do not create poetry either. Poetry is a form of art and all art forms involve a language and a vocabulary which must be learned. Some individuals have a predisposition for rapidly learning and mastering these skills. Their brain is wired in such a way that language or images or colors or forms or the organization of sound makes rapid sense to them. Others must labor to a greater extent to master the artistic language they love. Some benefit from a structured formal education, while others are "self-taught." Regardless of whether one is born with the seemingly inherent ability to rapidly and fluidly master an artistic idiom ala Mozart, Keats, Rimbaud, or Peter Paul Rubens... or one struggles and only succeeds through hard-labor and trial-and-error ala Cezanne, T.S. Eliot, or Beethoven, no one is a "born artist" and no one achieves anything as an artist without having gained a certain body of knowledge and experience through a degree of discipline and learning. This is all that we have been arguing. I somehow doubt that you would deny that your own poetic abilities did not owe something to what you have read, to practice, and to a degree of self-discipline and not to staring at your navel and waiting for the muses to arrive.
    Emotions, sensitivities, etc. aren't interchangeable. This discussion reminds me of the debate over design in the universe. An atheist physicist once said in a debate that every person was an improbable event. One in eight billion. Another physicist later corrected him that the odds of being one person out of all persons was a bad analogy in that simply being a person "won", and the arguments concerning design were essentially saying that all the other outcomes, besides one, resulted in no persons. No one is suggesting that "any" emotional state will do. But there are certain states that matter.

    Dexter Gordon started out as a promising young tenor sax player. But problems with addiction drove him to squander most of his gifts. Yet he is also recognized as having made some of the most soulful recordings of all time.

    Consider:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2Lx3n10fkc

    No one would argue that the above is technically impressive. But most persons would recognize the extraordinary feeling contained therein.

    Billie Holiday was far from being technically excellent. A former prostitute, she had a horrible voice and no chops to speak of. Almost anyone alive would tell you that Ella was superior in every way--except one. Billie Holiday was capable of a monstrous amount of feeling.

    Consider:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4ZyuULy9zs

    Both of the above examples are fairly unimpressive technically, but emotionally they are outstanding. To listen to those recordings and try to discuss technique is to miss the point. It's about the soul, the duende, brother. Both of those artists had hard, and in some ways disappointing, lives, and their sensitivities and emotions were central to their artistic statements. To suggest other people have emotions too is to miss the point. We're not talking about one in a million in which all the other 999,999 are winners too. We're talking one in a million in which all the other 999,999 fall short of the criteria.

    In literature, of course, there's this one little ditty written by this guy whose only love in life was unrequited and who knew he was going to die early from a family disease. He wrote the following:

    NO, no! go not to Lethe, neither twist
    Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
    Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kist
    By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
    Make not your rosary of yew-berries, 5
    Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
    Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
    A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
    For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
    And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul. 10

    But when the melancholy fit shall fall
    Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
    That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
    And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
    Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose, 15
    Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
    Or on the wealth of globèd peonies;
    Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
    Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
    And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes. 20

    She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;
    And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
    Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
    Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
    Ay, in the very temple of Delight 25
    Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
    Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
    Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
    His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
    And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

    Duende, man, duende.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    The reply of Morpheus is just bad.
    I agree. I think Miyako has been cast in the role of a villain, and everyone feels compelled to interpret everything she says incorrectly.

    P.S. I'm sorry about accusing you of speaking Spanish. I just realized you're from Brazil.

  3. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    Now, whose logic is faulty?

    I would say it is your logic that is at question... or your fluency in English isn't quite up to the level you think it is.

    The dispute is really not all that complex here. You have stated that your moods, sensitivity, and emotions are inborn. Everyone has moods, sensitivities, and emotions. Moods, sensitivities, and emotions don't create works of art. We all have perceptions as well. We see, hear, smell, touch, taste... But these alone do not create poetry either. Poetry is a form of art and all art forms involve a language and a vocabulary which must be learned. Some individuals have a predisposition for rapidly learning and mastering these skills. Their brain is wired in such a way that language or images or colors or forms or the organization of sound makes rapid sense to them. Others must labor to a greater extent to master the artistic language they love. Some benefit from a structured formal education, while others are "self-taught." Regardless of whether one is born with the seemingly inherent ability to rapidly and fluidly master an artistic idiom ala Mozart, Keats, Rimbaud, or Peter Paul Rubens... or one struggles and only succeeds through hard-labor and trial-and-error ala Cezanne, T.S. Eliot, or Beethoven, no one is a "born artist" and no one achieves anything as an artist without having gained a certain body of knowledge and experience through a degree of discipline and learning. This is all that we have been arguing. I somehow doubt that you would deny that your own poetic abilities did not owe something to what you have read, to practice, and to a degree of self-discipline and not to staring at your navel and waiting for the muses to arrive.
    Philo 101?
    "You laugh at me because I'm different, I laugh at you because you're all the same."

    --Jonathan Davis

  4. #199
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    No worries man. Ironically yesterday I was needing a better domain of spanish...

    I know Stlukes dislikes the idea of natural artist, the absence of techniques, etc. Maybe because his pratic goes beyond the theoretical or romantic, so he does not need to remind people they must work beyond "inspirations" or "musings", so I guess he may have gotten on because Miyako has reacted sometimes due to frustation in a eager way, but in this specific post I do not see much confusion with her argument. I suspect we all got in the middle of a more older story between her and Morpheus which is not related to this thread.

    Her quote seems even similar in spirt to Keats " If Poetry comes not as naturally as Leaves to a tree it had better not come at all." . Keats does not say he only thinks like a tree, only use emotion (it is the same guy who seems to understand quite well the artificial role of poetry in the Grecian Urn and Nightingale Odes, and the distance between the inspiration and craft of a poem), only that his sensibility must be aroused naturally to allow the poetic production with watever skills he may have.

  5. #200
    Registered User miyako73's Avatar
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    It seems both of them think that my emotion (that pushes me to write) is the same as everyone's emotion. Hence, they should write too because I write or emotion is not important because not everyone writes even though everyone has it.

    Damn! I can see at least five fallacies in that argument.

    I already said my emotion that pushes me to write is unique and mine alone. It involves what I have felt since my childhood, what my culture makes me feel, and what the society restricts me to feel. I won't even include biology or illness in that equation. That equation is already too complex for simplification (ex. two personalities are the same) to be possible.

    Okay I'll bare myself here. One of the things that really make me feel loved, my bf has to suck my toes. Do you have that idea about love too, St. Luke? You better take care of your feet from athlete's foot. That's just one of the ten things that must happen for me to have a successful relationship. I won't reveal the rest, they might shock you. What may shock you are about love to me and to my senses?

    Can't you tell why there are toes, toenails, soles, heels, ankles, feet in my twisted erotic and love poems?

    Also, I have and have been reading these books:

    An Intro to Literature (Barner, Berman, Burto)
    Literature (DiYanni)
    Living Literature (Brereton)
    Approaching Literature in the 21st century (Schakel, Ridl)
    Discovering Literature (Guth, Rico)
    Literature and Society (Annas, Rosen)
    Literature (Kennedy, Gioia)
    Elements of Literature (Scholes, Comley, Klaus, Silverman)
    Perrine's Literature (Arp, Johnson)
    Literarure and Its Writers (Charters, Charters)
    Literature (Wingard)

    Enough to be called literary education right? Why is it that, for the past three days, I could only write uninspired poetry? The last one I posted was this:

    Sound of Discontent

    eye
    dew
    knot
    here;
    eye
    sea.

    My emotion that pushes me to write is simply not there.
    "You laugh at me because I'm different, I laugh at you because you're all the same."

    --Jonathan Davis

  6. #201
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    Emotions, sensitivities, etc. aren't interchangeable. This discussion reminds me of the debate over design in the universe. An atheist physicist once said in a debate that every person was an improbable event. One in eight billion. Another physicist later corrected him that the odds of being one person out of all persons was a bad analogy in that simply being a person "won", and the arguments concerning design were essentially saying that all the other outcomes, besides one, resulted in no persons. No one is suggesting that "any" emotional state will do. But there are certain states that matter.

    Dexter Gordon started out as a promising young tenor sax player. But problems with addiction drove him to squander most of his gifts. Yet he is also recognized as having made some of the most soulful recordings of all time.

    Consider:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2Lx3n10fkc

    No one would argue that the above is technically impressive. But most persons would recognize the extraordinary feeling contained therein.

    Billie Holiday was far from being technically excellent. A former prostitute, she had a horrible voice and no chops to speak of. Almost anyone alive would tell you that Ella was superior in every way--except one. Billie Holiday was capable of a monstrous amount of feeling.


    But again... Billie or Dexter could feel the most incredible degree of "feeling"... but it would all be irrelevant if they could not communicate this successfully to others. Every adolescent feels the most incredible emotions. At that age they imagine they are the center of the universe. Suzy gets dumped by Johnny and imagines that it is the end of the world. She spews forth her feelings in her journal... but almost none of us would think to suggest that the resulting work is likely to be a poetic masterpiece. All that has been said here is something that should be obvious: whether one is a virtuoso, an academic, or your notion of a "natural" artist, all art demands a degree of study, practice, and discipline.

    Both of the above examples are fairly unimpressive technically, but emotionally they are outstanding. To listen to those recordings and try to discuss technique is to miss the point. It's about the soul, the duende, brother. Both of those artists had hard, and in some ways disappointing, lives, and their sensitivities and emotions were central to their artistic statements. To suggest other people have emotions too is to miss the point. We're not talking about one in a million in which all the other 999,999 are winners too. We're talking one in a million in which all the other 999,999 fall short of the criteria.

    I don't think the notion is to suggest that all art can be broken down or reduced to some collection of elements. It is virtually impossible to offer up a catalog defining just what exactly makes Rembrandt or Miles resonate so. If we could do that, we'd all be capable of producing the same. What is being questioned is the rather juvenile and Romantic notion that all one needs to become a masterful artist in whatever genre you choose, is some degree of strong feeling. How many horrible works of art, music, poetry etc... are produced with the utmost sincerity of a deep feeling? How many artists/poets/musicians had disappointing... even tragic lives... and yet fell far short of producing art of any lasting value?
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
    The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
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  7. #202
    Registered User miyako73's Avatar
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    Since the Chicago exhibit is over, just grab this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Tragic-Mus.../dp/0935573496
    Last edited by miyako73; 05-25-2012 at 03:25 PM.
    "You laugh at me because I'm different, I laugh at you because you're all the same."

    --Jonathan Davis

  8. #203
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    I know Stlukes dislikes the idea of natural artist, the absence of techniques, etc. Maybe because his pratic goes beyond the theoretical or romantic...

    I do not reject the romantic notion of inspiration. Rather I fully agree with Picasso's statement: "Inspiration exists, but it has go to find you working". No one would think to categorize Picasso as an intellectual or an academic artist... but he recognized that the notion of the "natural artist" who never needed to explore the work of his or her predecessors, or put forth any serious effort is a myth. Mozart was undeniably a natural artist. He could churn out the most exquisite music under the most impossible of deadlines... virtually without the least need to go back and edit things. Beethoven, on the other hand, struggled... often for years... to bring a single work to completion. Rubens was clearly a natural, He hardly ever changed a brushstroke... let alone make any major shift in composition. Cezanne, on the other hand, often spent years on a single canvas... building the paint up in layer after layer until it appeared so encrusted one might have thought ikt was the remnant of an ancient fresco. His dealer spoke of visiting him at his estate, only to come upon numerous paintings in the trees. He was only temporarily perplexed, for a moment later he heard the artist bellowing a stream of profanities and then another painting came flying out of his window.

    Miyako has reacted sometimes due to frustation in a eager way, but in this specific post I do not see much confusion with her argument. I suspect we all got in the middle of a more older story between her and Morpheus which is not related to this thread.

    Miyako has a habit of insulting any one with whom she disagrees. Snide comments concerning other's inability to read or their lack of education ("Philo 101?") are par for the course.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
    The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
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  9. #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    Every adolescent feels the most incredible emotions.
    I think that's false. I think adolescents feel exaggerated shallow emotions. For instance, take the song "Strange Fruit" which is about a lynching. The psychological and emotional landscape requisite to write about that come with experience NOT education. It's a fairly banal notion to suggest that children lack a robust emotional palette.

    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    At that age they imagine they are the center of the universe. Suzy gets dumped by Johnny and imagines that it is the end of the world. She spews forth her feelings in her journal
    But that has nothing to do with what we're discussing. What adolescent has come to realize that all beauty must die, must fade, and that our pleasure serves primarily to enhance our sadness? An infant cannot be said to feel deeply merely because he cries loudly.

    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    whether one is a virtuoso, an academic, or your notion of a "natural" artist, all art demands a degree of study, practice, and discipline.
    First, the notion of a natural artist isn't mine; it's not something I generated for the purposes of this discussion. It's a fairly conventional idea. Practice and discipline, sure. "Study" is trickier. If you mean attention to the medium, then fine. If you mean formal learning, then there's sufficient reason to doubt that.

    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    What is being questioned is the rather juvenile and Romantic notion that all one needs to become a masterful artist in whatever genre you choose, is some degree of strong feeling.
    I think this is your straw man. No one is suggesting that one can become, in a cultural vacuum, a great artist simply by having emotions. If someone is truly saying this, then point it out to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    How many horrible works of art, music, poetry etc... are produced with the utmost sincerity of a deep feeling?
    I think such "horrible" works of art confuse sentiment with sentimentality.

    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    How many artists/poets/musicians had disappointing... even tragic lives... and yet fell far short of producing art of any lasting value?
    How many intellectuals fall short in the same way? Producing "art of lasting value" is such a rare occurrence that it might be properly termed a freakish one. I think it is wrong to suggest that because most persons who feel deeply fail to produce lasting art, it means that feeling deeply has nothing to do with art; just as it is wrong to suggest that because most persons who study art fail to produce lasting art, then it must mean that studying art has nothing to do with being an artist. Both statements seem to use the same fallacious reasoning. We could say that most artists fail to produce lasting art; therefore, being an artist has nothing to do with being an artist.

    I AM suggesting that it is possible to be a good artist without any formal training, without any formal education and, in certain cases, with obvious technical deficiencies. I don't see how anyone could argue otherwise, as there are too many examples to support this.
    Last edited by stuntpickle; 05-25-2012 at 03:43 PM.

  10. #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    [COLOR="DarkRed"]
    I do not reject the romantic notion of inspiration. Rather I fully agree with Picasso's statement: "Inspiration exists, but it has go to find you working". No one would think to categorize Picasso as an intellectual or an academic artist... but he recognized that the notion of the "natural artist" who never needed to explore the work of his or her predecessors, or put forth any serious effort is a myth. Mozart was undeniably a natural artist. He could churn out the most exquisite music under the most impossible of deadlines... virtually without the least need to go back and edit things. Beethoven, on the other hand, struggled... often for years... to bring a single work to completion. Rubens was clearly a natural, He hardly ever changed a brushstroke... let alone make any major shift in composition. Cezanne, on the other hand, often spent years on a single canvas... building the paint up in layer after layer until it appeared so encrusted one might have thought ikt was the remnant of an ancient fresco. His dealer spoke of visiting him at his estate, only to come upon numerous paintings in the trees. He was only temporarily perplexed, for a moment later he heard the artist bellowing a stream of profanities and then another painting came flying out of his window.
    I think we all can agree there is not a formula (Chesterton's “There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.”) etc. There is artists (and I am not talking with judgement of vallue, I do not mind of great or not) with formal training, those who go back and analyse their precussors, those who learn by pratice, by copy, those who just follow a hunch, learn by ear, adquire knowledge with experience, with a master, etc. Does not matter much, some are more intuitive, other more analyct. And sometimes, one is both for different momments of artistic production. No formula, no rule.

    Miyako has a habit of insulting any one with whom she disagrees. Snide comments concerning other's inability to read or their lack of education ("Philo 101?") are par for the course.
    Well, yes. But if anything, this is clearly a proof of her emotions, as she does not control it and maybe the negativity that she receives derives more form her answers than her proposition. I would advice her to take a breath before posting because the emotion she feels lacking while writing poetry is being used in those fights.

    And that she should continue her list of 10 things. I am not going to be shocked. Brazilians are not easy to be

  11. #206
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    [COLOR="DarkRed"]To be frankly, Stukles, she is kind of right about this specific misinterpretation of what she said.

    She did not claimed - otherwise - that she did not need formal skills or anything she may have learnt. Or that any poet needs only this. She just said without her emotions all her formal skills will be not enough for her to write poetry.[/COLOR

    Seriously, I don't recall ever questioning this... nor would I. Again, we can all dissect and deconstruct and analyze what makes a work of art, and we can spend endless years mastering the formal skills and techniques and yet never achieve anything of merit. Robert Motherwell... the most intellectual and educated of the great Abstract Expressionist painters used to speak of the fact that he often feared that he lacked the duende.

    You must admit there is a certain prevention... if not arrogance... in essentially proclaiming oneself to have the duende... or genius.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
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  12. #207
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    I agree that Lorca was very arrogant

  13. #208
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I agree that Lorca was very arrogant
    Perfect Riposte. There could be no better rejoinder. Bravo!

  14. #209
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    Having a duende is not being a genius. My god, even a gypsy dancer or a tribal drummer can have a duende today and none tomorrow. It is a spirit that stems from an artist's or a writer's emotion.
    "You laugh at me because I'm different, I laugh at you because you're all the same."

    --Jonathan Davis

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    Quote Originally Posted by miyako73 View Post
    Having a duende is not being a genius.
    She's right about that.

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