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Subject:

Re: Something I've been thinking about

From:

Roger Day <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Poetryetc provides a venue for a dialogue relating to poetry and poetics <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 27 Nov 2005 23:07:37 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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Sometimes I wish I could summon up the poetry ninjas and sweep away
all the stuff I dislike but hey it's just a bunch of people doing
something they like.  It might end in tears, you might end up buying a
book or other outcomes.


> If a poem deserves respect as a moral statement, does it therefore deserve
> respect as poetic art?

no.

> Is it possible to write a bad poem deploring the Holocaust?  If the answer is
> no, what are the implications for aesthetics of the claim that a poem's
> quality can be assured by its choice of subject matter?  If the answer is yes,
> then if someone showed you a bad poem deploring the Holocaust and asked what
> you thought of it, how honestly would you answer?

yes and yes. Although, being English, I'd probably couch it in the
cuddliest terms possible.

> A member of a poetry workshop reads a poem about the damaging effects of
> sexism.  The poem is a deeply felt expression of a personal experience which
> clearly deserves compassion and respect.  The group immediately starts talking
> about the problem of sexism, about other poems on the theme, about how writing
> poems about it can contribute to a solution.  But nobody raises the issue of
> whether the poem is good as poetry or not. There is apparently a general tacit
> agreement that it is not appropriate to judge such a poem by the same critical
> standards as a poem about flowers or sunrise or rivers.  Is this something to
> worry about or not?

That's their problem not yours. At some point in the future, if the
poem has the, umm, balls to make it further, someone will shine the
harsh light of objectivity upon it.

> At more than one open mike reading I have been to, someone reading a poem they
> had written was so moved by it that they broke down in tears.  The audience
> response (myself included) was to applaud particularly loudly in sympathetic
> support.  Would a folk singer who was moved to tears while performing one of
> their own songs be given a similar audience response?     Would a pianist?
> Would an artist standing sobbing before one of their own paintings?

As a doodler attempting to draw big, you've cried a lot *before* it's
got that far, usually from frustration.

> A poet at a reading delivers several impassioned poems denouncing the Iraq
> war, then goes into the parking lot, climbs into their car, and drives alone
> home.  Is there anything wrong with this scenario?  Is there anything wrong
> with the fact that it would almost never occur to anyone to wonder if there is
> anything wrong with it?


Pass. You write your stuff, you read your stuff, you go home. You
could of course, not go home, but what would that get you?

Roger


--
http://www.badstep.net/
http://www.cb1poetry.org.uk/

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