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BRITISH-IRISH-POETS  1998

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS 1998

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Subject:

Re: Fred Beake's cogitations on feet

From:

Douglas Clark <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Douglas Clark <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 12 Mar 98 16:44:43 GMT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (47 lines)

Seeing the Great Beake doesnt seem to be coming to collect his print
of the postings today this gives me (at Ric CAddel's prompting) the
opportunity to let loose my own thoughts.

I trust my ear entirely when it comes to writing poetry. The first
six months when I started In Edinburgh in 1967 I used to count
meticulously (as Fred does to this day). But, to me, this was
just apprenticeship and by the time I got to the two poems I
posted this morning I had thrown away the instruction kit and
launched myself in free fall.

Over the years, accompanied by numerous nervous breakdowns, my
ability at rhythm and rhyme has seriously declined. I can hardly
do it at all nowadays. I experimented 18 months ago and forced
myself to write one but I think it best forgotten about. (It is in
`poems96' on my WEbspace, I forget the title).

But what I am leading up to, and I see it in Fred, is that complicated
or even simple verse structures detract from the poetry by taking weight
away from the poetry in the words. I have the same feeling about
`performance' where the poetry never reaches me and all I receive
is the egotism of the poet. I prefer to avoid `performance', unless
I want to hear the voice of the poet to assist my own private
reading, which takes place in the quiet of my house.

In the same way that `performance' detracts from poetry I feel
that conscious attempts at rhythm/rhyme have a similar effect.
This is why Fred thinks WCW a `great poet' whereas I only see
him as a `great little poet' of the ilk of Hardy.

In this modern age I feel that the combustion engine and its
rhythms have removed us from the rhyme and rhythm of our forefathers
and that we respond to emotion in a less formal way.
What matters is the poet's ear and you either have it or you
havent. William Oxley has just sent me an essay for my
Internet magazine (which I will print) deploring Pound's
breaking of the iambus. What he cant see is that Pound
had a perfect ear and so could do it. If you havent got
the ear it is very doubtful if you should be writing poetry
in the first place.

So ends a little rant against `prosody and performace'.
Twin evils in my opinion but they may be what gets bums on seats.


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