1. poempedlar
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    poempedlar Senior Member

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    confused about modern poetry

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by poempedlar, Sep 3, 2007.

    I read several poems intending to offer an opinion but found I was completely at sea. I write poetry for children and all my poetry is humorous, scans, rhymes and tells a story, even if it is nonsense. Poetry today seems to dwell on the miserable, dark and depressing. To compare this with music which is often uplifting, beautiful and moving and can take the soul soaring to great hieghts of emotion. Why can't poetry be all these things? However I shall shortly post one of my poems for children and wait to be slated. Or you could have a look at my website, which many adults have found entertaining. www.youngbookworms.org
     
  2. joschick
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    joschick New Member

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    I live with my teenage daughter and behind me is a
    childrens poetry

    hi i am new to the forum
    i run a private nursery for children aged 2 to 5 years and i have to say it is nice to find poetry for children that is cheerful and witty as small children are not interested in boring long winded drawn out poetry or stories. Keep up the childrens poetry.
    joschick
     
  3. Weaselword
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    Weaselword Banned

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    I find that when I read poetry as well. I simply can't offer an intelligent opinion of it--at all. And I've tried. I understand rhythm and metre, and if asked, I can write pathetic doggerel in perfect trochaic tetrameter or iambic pentameter or even nordic drott-kvaett if you like.

    But it isn't poetry and I know it, because I'm an insensitive clod firmly stuck in my prose rut.

    That's by way of preamble, though; the meat of my post relates this:

    That struck a chord with me, because it describes my prose perfectly. I write what I suppose a Victorian would have called "penny dreadfuls"--my computerised virtual pen loves to dwell fulsomely on the grotesque and the macabre.

    Oh, certainly, I can (eventually) produce little passages that are relatively tranquil. With an enormous amount of effort, I can even manage to avoid sounding trite when I do it, but by golly it's hard work for me.

    Give me a chance to write of dark skies and desperation and the depths a man can sink to, and the words just flow.

    I think it's because writing is so therapeutic for me. It's a healing experience. When I'm cheerful, I don't want to sit alone at my desk, and there's nothing to heal; so I share that time with my wife and my son. But when something disturbs me or makes me angry, I'm bad company. So I retreat to my desk by the window and the keys clatter away late into the night, sucking at the poison and spitting it onto the page.

    There's anger and revulsion in what I write, and I don't see that as entirely negative, because the world's full of things that any decent person finds outrageous and disgusting, and I think it's a mistake to be blind to them.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Poempedlar, I too have had some of the same concerns and questions. I'm not enamoured with rhyme for rhyme's sake, but I find that many of what are presented as poems are raw emotions piled on paper, without much effort to structure the verses or to make the best use of words and imagery.

    Certainly the darker side of life is ripe for expression as poetry. But there are other emotions as well that aren't as popular anymore. Peace, wonder, joy, laughter, love, all these are as worthy as fear, pain, death, and despair.

    I, for one, would love to see your kind of poetry offered for review. And by all means, do express these views in reviewing other people's work. Subject matter is the poet's choice, but if you can suggest other ways the author can express the subject matter, that is valuable!
     
  5. wordwizard
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    wordwizard Contributing Member

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    I find there are a lot of poetry these days about sadness and despair and pain...but if you look hard enough there is poetry on here that is happy and uplifting. Most of us are beginners on the site, so I think we are all trying to write with emotion...and that usually is easiest when writing about something a bit darker. No idea why this is the case, but I find it is easiest to write about the darker things because you can be more startling and it is easier to capture the readers attention. Fluffy bunnies, on the other hand, make people cringe (as I have found out lol) Hopefully your children poems and happeier poems will set a trend.
    cheers
    ww
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Fluffy bunnies, and clowns and grinning rocking horses make for great nightmare imagery.

    Throw in a Jack-in-the-box for waking up in a quaking cold sweat.
     
  7. ILTBY
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    ILTBY Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that poetry is often used as a release for writers when they are feeling particularly negative or depressed. I generally only write poetry when I'm feeling very down and feel that I need to express my pain.

    Poetry is an excellent way of releasing your emotions and I think it is often more effective if the writing is depressed. I also think it's more difficult to express happiness or excitement in a poem, for some reason it just seems harder to me.
     
  8. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Wow. That sounds utterly terrifying.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Poetry is a structured form of writing. There are several optional components to it, such as rhyme, but there needs to be some structure. Poetry is not just prose without complete sentences, which is what is sometimes offered up as poetry.

    Poetry is generally more concise than prose, but that is because more thought goes into every word and phrase, to make it conform to the chosen structure for the piece, and to distill it down to its essence, like a $700 bottle of perfume. It's not an easier form of writing than prose - quite the opposite.

    Writing should not be classified as poetry by default.
     
  10. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Good God, poetry is definitely harder than prose. There are less limitations on poetry, which rather than making it easier, makes it much harder. I have always found that writing prose is easy, within the limitations, I know technically what is right and wrong. Whereas for poetry, the perameters are less defined, and it is harder to know what is right or wrong as a result.


    Just my (rather confused) opinion on the matter.
     
  11. ILTBY
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    ILTBY Contributing Member Contributor

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    I thought about this topic further this morning and I'm starting to see where you're coming from. As I said earlier, it does seem to be easier to write something depressing via poetry rather than something joyous, but why? Poems are usually filled with emotions, but they shouldn't necessarily be negative ones.

    I guess poetry is just more popular amongst the darker groups of society and therefore, the majority of it is depressing.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Well, I think it's also a bit of a fad, combined with a popular misconception of what constitutes poetry.

    Angst has become a badge of honor; the greater the pain you can express, the deeper you are, so much of what gets written, whether it be poetry, prose, or a list of sentence fragments, is more likely to be dark and depressing than uplifting.

    Besides, pain and horror and depression have always been easier to describe than bliss. How many depictions of Hell have you seen and read? How vivid are the details? Now think of how many depictions of Heaven you have seen. Of those few, do any of them seem clear or detailed to you?
     
  13. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    I actually find that my poetry derives from conversations of late.

    I don't find poetry that is happy and so forth harder to write. It is just trying to find something happy to write about in such a way it will draw the readers attention. A lot of people like to read about how messed up someone is rather than how happy they are that they learnt to tie their own shoe lace.

    I know that was a bad way of saying it but most of the time that is what you will find. I have written a lot of poetry and not all of it is posted up here. I try to write about very unusual thing like the bubbles in soft drink and a leaf falling to the ground. I even wrote a poem about a rocks feelings. It was interesting to say the least.

    One thing that I have noticed about modern poetry is that it tends to be more about hiding the message then allowing it to be seen. We as writers are covering up everything raw about the emotions in the poetry and filling it with amzaing imagery but losing the the rawness within it. Sometimes it is nice to read a piece just based on raw emotion rather than seeing metaphors and so forth.

    Enough of me ranting now. :p:p
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Poetry and prose from members of society in which free speech was not guaranteed is one model for hidden meaning. As an example, Mother Goose rhymes were supposedly chock full of political criticism, although I have never analyzed them from that perspective. But hiding the message is not, in my opinion, the best idea. Good poetry, or good prose, illuminates any message it is trying to convey, by adding layers that the readers can appreciate on more than one level.

    The purpose of writing is to communicate, even if the objective is to entertain. Some mystery or challenge is beneficial, but only to the degree that it involves the reader in actively seeking the message. If the reader walks away puzzled and frustrated, the communication has failed.
     
  15. ILTBY
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    ILTBY Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yep, that's exactly my point. Amongst the Gothic and Emo cultures it has become very popular to write dark, depressing poetry and is almost an icon for those cultures.

    And as I said my first post, I agree, it's a lot easier to write about pain and negativity than to write about something uplifting.
     
  16. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    My poetry is dark and depressing, because, when I do write poetry it is precisely to get rid of those emotions so I can get to my "real" writing.

    That being said, my poetry absolutely goes no further than my own journal. I am not enough of a sadist to inflict it on other people.

    Just my tuppence,
    Rosalinda
     
  17. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    Poetry for many people is an outlet for thigns that are bottling up inside. I do the same thing when I need to get things off my chest. I find it hard to talk so I write it out in poetry.

    But I also enjoy writing about other things that really hold no personal meaning at all to me. I can write about almost anything at all. But it depends on the state of mind I am in and all the usual things like writers block and so forth.

    I think that people find derpressing things easier as they are most certainly easier to describe.
     
  18. Isis
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    Isis Senior Member

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    Poetry online is more often depressing than not, because of all the reasons listed above; it's a release, it's emotional, it's not always meant to be edited or polished but just there as some expression of feeling. I think you'll get more variety if you seek out poets who write and polish their work, because they'll write about anything and everything [I'm not saying as a rule, but in general] rather than just spilling out negative emotions every time they need a release.
     
  19. Frost
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    Frost Contributing Member

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    Old discussion, but Im going to contribute. It's sad, very sad, that poetry now days is all dark, doomy and gloomy. Based around pain and sadness. The problem is not because of the base of these emotions, the problem is the sheer amount of writers based around these emotions. Reading poems about the same things over and over again(as I've found myself doing here) is tiring. Im not the most patient of people, and needless to say, it wears thin very quickly, hence the occassional nasty comments I leave. Im not one to base around these emotions. With that said, I rarely base my poetry around emotions full stop. They may contain emotion, but rarely are they based around it.

    I am yet to see a piece of this nature that has truely satisfied me. Sorry. The ones I have seen tend to be simple techincally (just revamped with a depressing vocabularly), boring, and filled with pathetic undertones of self-pity. To be frank, whenever I see poems of this kind, I either exit the thread or slate it. Writers need to understand, in my opinion, that telling the world of how sad you are without any attempt at making it mildly interesting, without any attempt of a metaphor or simile just isn't done anymore.

    In regards to PP's particular style of poetry, well I see nothing wrong with it. The way she writes is clever, witty and humorous. She writes for children, and she writes well for children. There is no doubt about that.

    I wish these sub-cultures never came to pass. The internet would be far better of poetry wise. In this post, Cogito explains that it's a fad - I agree completely.

    Personally, as I said, I write poems around concepts, not emotions. Thats just how I write. My last couple of pieces, nobody on this forum has understood too clearly, but plenty of people on another forum I post on have. To an extent, it's very much the style of writing you grow up around. I first learnt to write poetry on the other forum, and the writers there have very different styles, but rarely do any of them base around emotions(thats the elite ones Im talking about there, the really, really good writers. The ones who taught me.) Those writers I learnt from understand what I'm writing because they taught me to write in the first place, and I've just added my own style. A member here, Myst (who's regrettfully disappeared) had a similair style to me and usually understood everything I wrote. So upbringing contributes.

    Anyway, Ill shut up now.
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Thank you for speaking up, Frost, and please don't "shut up now."

    I would not want people to stop writing poems that package emotional pain. Poetry is well suited for packaging emotion in a way that lets the reader explore it and see inside the writer. But do, in fact, package it. Poetry is a complex form of writing, far more difficult than prose. It takes work to shape it in such a way that it truly delivers the message in depth.

    It is the difference between a shapshot taken impulsively with a disposable camera and an artistic photograph that the photographer has planned every element of composition, and lighting, and exposure, choice of shutter speed, focal length, and depth of field to produce exactly the vision he or she conceived.

    But there really is more than one emotion. And if depression is all you try to convey to the reader, well success is its own curse. Readers will walk away when they have been sufficiently depressed.

    How about blending emotions? If you are depressed, are you not perhaps also a bit relieved? Or defiant? Show the blend! Show that there is some depth. If you are head over heels in love, what about the fear of inadequacy, or of betrayal, that you may also feel? Or the lingering feelings you still have for someone else?

    Just show us something different, or tell it in your own unique way.
     
  21. ILTBY
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    ILTBY Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree :) I think it's sad that dark poems are only ever related to or associated with those two cultures these days. A person can't write a depressing poem without having some stereotype placed on them.
     
  22. Isis
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    Isis Senior Member

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    I think part of the problem with the culture of 'depressed' or 'emotional' poetry and all the backpatting and sympathy and so forth is that many of these poems tend to dwell in abstraction. It's really easy to go "my life is pain" but hard to put any of this into a concrete, relatable, evocative piece of writing ... and so praise for this stuff builds up around the "I know how you feel" aspect of it, and not craft, feeding the mill.
     
  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    too sadly true!... angsty 'poor me' stuff next to never [if not, never ever!] qualifies as 'poetry'... it's the sort of stuff the word 'doggerel' was coined for...

    good poetry deals with universal issues that readers can relate to, but seldom has any 'me' in it... writing about one's own trials and tribulations and pouring out stuff most would be embarrassed to say out loud to strangers is not being a 'poet'... and, as isis wisely notes, will 99% of the time not be critiqued by others [who aren't serious poets] for its craft, but only lauded for its emotional strings-pulling...

    as a lifelong reader and lover of the works of our species' finest poets since words were first set down, and a more or less full time poet of many decades standing myself, i find even reading such stuff embarrassing to the point of pain... like when you see a hokey sex scene on the screen, and have to look away, as if that will help the participants keep some semblance of dignity... so, i skip over it all... i can probably count on the fingers of one hand, the times i've seen a 'real' piece of 'poetry' on the many writer's sites i've monitored over the years...

    writing the stuff i see the most of may be a good catharsis for the suffering [or recovering] writers of same but if one really wants to be a poet, it's necessary to study the art and to perfect the requisite skills... sad to say, i rarely see any signs of that being done...
     
  24. poempedlar
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    poempedlar Senior Member

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    Better out than in, as they say. Once put into words, you can forget it, hopefully.
     
  25. poempedlar
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    poempedlar Senior Member

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    Hi there Weaselword, I don't sit down and write a poem... I struggle and cross out, I start again, I throw the whole lot in the bin. Next day I get it out the bin and move the first verse down to the third, I scratch out the fourth alltogether, I change all the words in the first line, I pinch a verse from another poem. After weeks and sometimes months of work and even sometimes over a year, I produce what appears to be a simple poem only to wake up in the night pouring over a verse that came to me while asleep. In other words, I sleep eat and dream poetry in order to produce something that appears to be easy.
     

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