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Thread: When Does Poetic Inspiration Change to Calculation?

  1. #16
    Registered User Jassy Melson's Avatar
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    I want to thank all of you for commenting. The OP stated what I, and only I, had experienced. I requested feedback and I received it. Thank you.
    Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. - Albert Einstein

  2. #17
    I hope you're writing again!

  3. #18
    Registered User Jassy Melson's Avatar
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    I will write till the day I die.
    Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. - Albert Einstein

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    When I write poetry, I have to wait for inspiration- something to pop into my head. I cannot just sit down and write a poem. However, when the inspiration does strike, I have to write it down there and then before it goes again.
    Once it is written, I don't edit or revise it because then it becomes calculated. By sticking to what I wrote in the moment, I feel I more accurately capture what was in my mind at the time. But i have very long periods of no poem writing purely because I have to wait for the inspiration. This is of course, just my own personal experience- everyone is different

  5. #20
    Registered User Jassy Melson's Avatar
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    When I was in my twenties and thirties, I composed poetry in a red heat; it gushed out of me. As I grew older--on into my forties and fifties, I gradually slowed down in composing poetry because inspiration in general had left me, and I was left with calculation, experience and memory. Now that I'm sixty-five I still compose poetry--perhaps a poem every few months. I am much more objective about my poetry, and it takes me sometimes months to revise a poem. But I have to say, the poetry I compose now is better, because of the revisions I make.
    Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. - Albert Einstein

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Jassy Melson View Post
    When I was in my twenties and thirties, I composed poetry in a red heat; it gushed out of me. As I grew older--on into my forties and fifties, I gradually slowed down in composing poetry because inspiration in general had left me, and I was left with calculation, experience and memory. Now that I'm sixty-five I still compose poetry--perhaps a poem every few months. I am much more objective about my poetry, and it takes me sometimes months to revise a poem. But I have to say, the poetry I compose now is better, because of the revisions I make.
    I think I understand your point and I'm glad you are still writing. I'm not sure that "inspiration" ever really "leaves" a writer. Inspiration is hard to define. It does seem that it depends on the ability to personally experience strong emotions along with a sense of wonder and even astonishment at whatever triggers these emotions and a desire to express in words the experience so that the experience can be shared publicly. Almost all of us (there may be exceptions for what psychiatry calls "psychopaths") are capable of feeling strong sharable emotions that could serve as poetic inspiration. And I can even imagine that a psychopath might be able to write good poetry. In Cold Blood, though not written by the psychopathic killers, still seems to describe psychopathic behavior and perception quite well...and makes fascinating literature.

    There is a Romantic notion that great poetry is written when the poet is under the overwhelming control of strong emotions that come from outside influences...e.g. the muses, mental illness, or intoxicating drugs, and that the poem needs to be written while under that "inspiration." The classic example is Kublai Khan, which Coleridge left "unfinished" because his narcotic high wore off before he could "finish" the poem.

    There's another way of looking at this, which allows for both the "classic" inspiration and refinement of the poem while the poet is more "in-control" of his brain. I remember reading somewhere that Alexander the Great and his Generals used to review battle strategies while they were drunk and while sober. If the plan looked good while they were drunk and sober, they adopted the plan with a very high degree of confidence. This approach ought to work for poets as well as generals...The "sober" part for poets would refer to the "uninspired" revision of the poem.

  7. #22
    Registered User Jassy Melson's Avatar
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    Thank you all for commenting. You have given me much to ponder.
    Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. - Albert Einstein

  8. #23
    Calculation has a lot going for it. More brainpower for a start. My closest friend is a poet. For over forty years she has been frequently inspired, often by church sermons, to compose, sometimes three or four poems at a time. The muse hits her randomly however and might leave for a period of weeks. She does little by way of redrafting though she does take advice . I scrawl the occasional rabht myself and sometimes tear at a verse until any original inspiration is covered in drifts of calculation.

  9. #24
    Registered User Jassy Melson's Avatar
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    I really believe that the longer one writes, the better one gets (unless one is, to put it bluntly, an idiot); so I must say now that I've been writing and composing for about fifty years, I am a better writer than I was, say, thirty years ago. But I now write without "inspiration." What I do now is give a lot of thought to what I want to write about, and how I'm going to write it. Where does inspiration fit in to my writing now? It doesn't. Of course I have to be interested in something enough to write about it, but I no longer feel about composing and writing as I did thirty years ago. It's not something that I feel compelled to do--which I did feel thirty years ago.
    Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. - Albert Einstein

  10. #25
    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jassy Melson View Post
    I will write till the day I die.
    To write is to grasp the meanings of life. If it is not then we are not on the right track or so I believe and so yes keep on writing until you do.
    And writing has no age and that is the ultimate beauty of literature it is boundless and until we achieve that then we are tied to our old ways ie growing old to it and not with it.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

  11. #26
    Registered User Jassy Melson's Avatar
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    You got it.
    Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. - Albert Einstein

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