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I'm afraid I see your point, but:
1. Since in the process of acquiring literacy and reading for pleasure lie
much of the training for a poet in any culture in no culture does it
require as much formal (as opposed to casual) training to produce a poem as
to produce a symphony. No matter how much I listen to Beethoven for
pleasure I'm not in  that act going to learn either notation or formal
counterpoint.

2. Any idiot if he tries long enough can turn out a tolerable sonnet (a
great one is another matter), because there are prescribed rules and a
defined meter. That's why for so many centuries poetry could be a parlor
game for amateurs as well as a medium for poets. Open form is much more
mysterious and can only be learned, by the talented few, through years of
practice. The music of one's own language must become so internalized that
one develops an inner standard to match one's words to. No easy discipline
if each poem is a unique formal invention. In effect, the poet dances each
dance with the grace of Fred Astaire, and although each dance has never
been danced before there's nothing random about it.
Either you've only been exposed to the prating of amateurs or, as I
suspect, you've failed to apply yourself sufficiently. As if I were to
complain that all formal poetry was banal because advertizing jingles and
pop songs were all I listened to.  


At 01:55 PM 7/5/98 PDT, you wrote:
>
>>From: "Roger Day" <[log in to unmask]>
>
>>But the cab drivers and the libraries have one thing in common: 
>language.
>>It might not be a common language, but it's language none the less.
>>
>
>   Yes, this obviously was the point of the original quote.  Any English 
>speaker can by virtue of speaking English create an utterance which will 
>be accepted as a poem, but only people with appropriate formal training 
>can create something which will be accepted as a symphony or a piano 
>performance or an aria.
>
>   But it needs to be added that this is true only in our culture in its 
>present state.  There have been all kinds of cultures in which the 
>production even of a line of poetry requires just as much formal 
>knowledge and training as the production of music.  In such cultures, 
>presenting any random though meaningful statement as a poem would be as 
>absurd as if I were to bang away at random on a piano and call it a 
>composition.
>
>   I don't see that this lack of formal standards in poetry has done us 
>much good.
>
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