1. nevari
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    nevari Member

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    Poems..

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by nevari, Jun 28, 2013.

    Thoughts on them. Do they have to make sense to the reader or are they a flowing dance of words and at times the steps and music are only known to the writer? And doesn't this often make them something of an exciting mystery? I don't write much poetry... still.. I feel as if I don't or shouldn't or ought not to try to "fix" poetry as I might with a story.
    Not that poetry is better, stronger etc ... it is somewhat, at least to me, like the difference in art. The art of say a bunch of colors gloriously put together or the art with a thing, person, place etc. It's kind of hard to explain.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Of course you should "fix" a poem the same way you'd fix a story - the ways you fix it will be different because it's a different type of writing and calls for different skills - but that doesn't mean you can slack and justify sloppy writing with, "But it's meant to be a mystery! But it's the genuine emotions of my heart!" (sorry, I don't mean to sound like I'm mocking you)

    But that's the thing - just as the regular prose writer will fail in their quest to get published if they remain too close to their writing, if they hold their writing too precious to actually edit and whip to shape, so the poet will fail too. You can never hold something so precious that you refuse to refine it.

    Unless, of course, you're writing for your own pleasure. I write poetry ONLY to express my emotions, esp if I'm deeply sad or angry about something. None of them are good and I never edit them - but that's ok, they're never meant for public eyes and I never intend in publishing them. I'd die of embarrassment.

    But anything you wish to actually publish must meet a certain standard - comprehension is one of them lol :p Yes, poetry is sometimes difficult to understand and sometimes I find some poems completely incomprehensible - but there're things that just don't make sense, and then there're things that are so deep that you just can't quite grasp it. In both cases, you do not truly understand the words, but in the former case it shows you lack skill, and in the latter case it shows you're a craftsman. And the line between being just confusing and being meaningful and thought-provoking is rather fine - so fine that if you do not "fix" it like you would any other piece of writing that you're just more likely to botch it up altogether.

    Like I say, all depends on the purpose. For personal pleasure, do whatever you like. For publishing, poetry must go through the refining process - perhaps even MORE so than regular prose, not less so, since poetry is, in my opinion anyway, far harder to write and write well!
     
  3. nevari
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    nevari Member

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    aha.. That's what I meant. I guess I didn't see it as how you say. I meant poetry that is basically for yourself.
    Gah. I'd never want to publish the few poems I've written.. simply because I am so close and I am at times the only one that understands em.
    Still.. I don't LIKE trying to "fix" other peoples poetry, probably because I am so close to my own.
    I do see your point. At times I don't get out all I want to say, so far stuck inside.
    Die of embarrassment I do understand.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I feel like if people can understand the poems of Wallace Stevens, they can understand the poems of any writer. :p

    I agree with Mckk. If you want write for yourself, then it doesn't matter if the poem makes sense to anyone or not. But if you're writing for an audience (i.e., publishing), then you definitely want to make sure it makes sense and that it's polished/edited.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    as both a poet and lover of poetry of many decades' standing, i'd have to say 'definitely!'... as does any form of the writer's art, if meant for others to read...

    it makes no sense to me for anyone to write just a series of words that have no discernible meaning... if writing only for oneself, of course one can writing anything at all... but if writing for others to enjoy the work, it needs to have a discernible meaning, even if that meaning can be 'adaptable' to each reader's perception...

    i don't see how something that makes no sense to the readers can be 'exciting' to them...

    that doesn't make sense to me, any more than it would in re prose... seasoned/serious poets take as much care with each poem as do fiction writers with their stories... each word and how it is used/placed is important, so care is taken to make sure the piece is as 'perfect' as possible, before making it accessible to the public...

    most artists [other than those of the jackson pollock school] don't simply fling paint or whatever around with no care to where it goes... like poets and writers of fiction and other writing forms, they also take care to make their pictures as perfect as possible, wanting to present a view of whatever it is they're painting in a way that will be recognizable to the viewers... and even the modernists who don't paint scenes or people or objects will work over [= to editing in writing] a painting of just lines or shapes, till it's exactly what they want it to be...

    i can also agree with all mckk has to say on the subject...

    so, when critiquing, it's perfectly ok to deal with 'meaning' since if the piece was written only for the poster's own enjoyment, it wouldn't have been posted for feedback...
     

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