1. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2016
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    245

    Modern Day Epic Poetry

    Discussion in 'Poetry' started by Arcadeus, Feb 13, 2017.

    I was wondering if anyone knows of any modern day Epic Poetry. By modern I mean that it was recently published, and not published years upon years ago.

    I am looking for something that doesn't speak in Shakespearian.

    Also, do you think it's possible to do it really well or are there too many barriers in our current century?
     
  2. Youssef Salameh

    Youssef Salameh Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    84
    Who am i to talk. But, I believe that great poets like Shakespeare are considered as the corner stones of poetry itself, whether in general or in English specifically; nothing can move their GREAT works.
    Poetry is not confined by earthly languages, its beyond that.
    It communicates the soul and heart.
    So, yes, we all strive for perfection. Yes, new things may evolve in terms poetry, but, as I said nothing can change the power of Shakespeare or Tagore, or any other well known poet's words even to the end of time.:)
     
  3. SethLoki

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Messages:
    1,163
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    I think a lot of latter day poetry is ensconced in/soaked up by songs. Lyrics. The urge, I figure, is still present and wanting to be realised, but the talent's drawn to where the demand lies. What with it being way more fashionable nowadays to be a songsmith/popstar than a poet. Stuff like Waterboys' 'Whole of the Moon, Velv. Underground's 'Venus in Furs' and James's 'Say Something — they're poetry to me — they can stand alone and look epic without music. < Albeit *cough* my examples are from the last-century.
     
    Shadowfax likes this.
  4. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2016
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    245
    Your opinion is your own, and you are free to have it. None of that "who am I to talk." It could simply be that storytelling with rhythm is dead. A lot of old epics come from stories that were passed down century after century. What stories do we have in our modern society? Our society is skeptic, and so many stories are lost.



    "An epic poem is a long, narrative poem that is usually about heroic deeds and events that are significant to the culture of the poet. Many ancient writers used epic poetry to tell tales of intense adventures and heroic feats."- Study.com

    Sadly songs would not be able to fit the criteria of a true epic poem. I was thinking more akin to Odyssey, or The Divine Comedy (Dante's Inferno, etc.).

    Yet wording that many could understand, instead of having such a specific audience.
     
  5. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2016
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    245
    Speaking of the divine comedy. I feel like I miss out so much for not knowing the language. The true beauty of the story is lost on me due to it's rough English translation.
    12 years it took him to write it.
    14,233 lines, hendecasyllabic, and the pioneer of Terza Rima.

    This is personally the sort of thing I wish to do with my writing career. However, English would be the language of choice.

    So quick discussion on why I believe English is the best choice.

    The English Language has the most secondary language speakers of any language. Approximately 603 million.

    Granted, it only has 339 million who were taught English as a first language.

    China has a greater amount by 67 million total speakers. Yet they only have Approximately 190 million who know it as a secondary language.

    So in order to spread poetry to the most areas without changing it's meaning due to language structures... English is the obvious modern choice.

    Mmmkay, random tangent done.
     
  6. Youssef Salameh

    Youssef Salameh Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    84
    Actually, as to why stories are not told as they were originally told is because human beings are apt translate things according to their own understanding. ITS NOT MY OPINION. Its generally believed that nothing remains as it is as time goes by, unfortunately, There are people who distort meanings on purpose for personal reasons, to me, this is a sin.
    As to the great poets Gibran, Shakespeare, Tagore, They are considered the cornerstones of poetry, their talents stand the test of time. NOTHING CAN MOVE THEM.
    Now to answer your question, people nowadays are not much concerned about literature as people that came decades ago and backwards. The former poets are extremely much better.
    Many scholars nowadays, tend to turn away towards gaining material rewards rather than doing what should be done pertaining literature!
    Trust me, my words are true and not just opinions.
    Respects,
    Joe.
     
  7. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    10,883
    Likes Received:
    11,448
    Location:
    Scotland
    I think what has changed, as regards epic poetry, is the audience for it.

    Poets, playwrights and authors held a lot of sway in centuries past because there were so few of them, and because it's through them that history got transmitted to ordinary folks who didn't have access to books or maybe couldn't even read. (There were also anonymous folk songs as well.) These accomplished poets, playwrights and authors were the next step along a pathway that began with bards and storytellers, whose talents were universally revered and their company sought.

    Now? Well we have news. Constant, streaming news from umpteen sources, complete with still and moving pictures. Wikipedia. Social media. Historians. BBC and PBS educational broadcasts. Magazines, books, TV, newspapers.

    There isn't any 'need' for a bard or a poet to compose long pieces about our culture today. They may compose long pieces regarding their view of certain aspects of culture and events, but their function has changed. They are now producing art, instead of news or history, and art means they don't need to stick to facts. They can employ artistic license ...and their audiences understand this is what is happening.

    Even by Shakespeare's day (and he was a playwright who wrote plays for people to watch ...he wasn't an author whom people read, back in the day) the function of transmitting information had changed—to the extent that Shakespeare's history plays are riddled with deliberate innaccuracies for the sake of art.

    I think heroic epic poetry is, unfortunately, a thing of the past. Any attempt to re-create it will be pure art, not necessity. Knowledge won't die out, just because poets don't write about particular events any more.

    If that makes any sense?
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
    Arcadeus and minstrel like this.
  8. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,436
    Likes Received:
    1,986
    Spot on.

    Homer's poetry was intended to be performed, not read. He was a pop-star of his day.

    Leonard Cohen got into song-writing from a poetry background.
     
    SethLoki likes this.
  9. SethLoki

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Messages:
    1,163
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    Yeah, his Ballad of The Absent Mare—done without refrain—kinda epic in style. Bob Dylan's got the knack as well.
     
  10. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,293
    Likes Received:
    1,135
    Location:
    Chicago, IL.
    @Arcadeus

    While I have yet to read it, though it is sitting my library, Omeros by Derek Walcott (written in the 90s I believe.) I don't know of anything more recent in terms of epic poetry.

    This is actually what differs Poetry from Prose. Since poetry can use meter and literary musical devices (Alliteration, assonance, Consonance, etc.), even today, poetry should still be read out loud.

    Three things about Shakespeare.

    Shakespeare is great; however, he used the language and words of his time, not times from thousand years passed. I've never understood why people new to poetry bitterly fight against the idea of using contemporary language when the very people they praise and admire used the contemporary language of their time (ah, the irony.)

    Second, and this is the really important one, Shakespeare wrote plays (and poems, but let's just look at the plays for now). His plays had actors who gave the words context and meaning. So if someone wants to become the next Shakespeare they need to an acting troupe together.

    Third, Shakespeare was a master craftsman in Terms of Iambic pentameter (Which most people who try to emulate his style are ignorantly unaware of what Iambic pentameter even is). If people really want to write like him, then they need to spend 8 months learning how to write in blank verse (and trust me, that is no easy task.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
    Arcadeus likes this.
  11. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,293
    Likes Received:
    1,135
    Location:
    Chicago, IL.
    Shame on you.

    There are contemporary poets that are/have written just as breathtaking poems as poets from the past. The fact you think only people from the past can only write great poetry is insulting to everyone on this forum who is trying to learn and taking the painstaking strive to improve their writing.
     
    deadrats likes this.
  12. Youssef Salameh

    Youssef Salameh Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    84
    At least there should be a nicer way when members of the same forum talk to each other Using tough words won't return but to the one who he said it, yet i heartily forgive you.
    By the way have not you watched how people of same group talk together respectfully; even on television?!
    Actually I have nothing against you. You come in an anonymous name talking to me so disrespectfully! Am talking plain English.
    By the way, I never meant that contemporary poets don't write great or very very great poems; If i ever said so then it would be going against my belief.
    what i said, in other words, and in general, that former poets are cornerstones or symbols to modern ones. I respects former and latter poets; But everyone one has his own level or degree.
    Again, who am I talk. am a human being like you.
    Bye bye.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  13. Lew

    Lew Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    1,348
    Likes Received:
    1,087
    My vote for the best, if not the most recent, epic poet, is Rudyard Kipling, with his ability to tell a riveting story about everyday events. One of my favorites is "The Rhyme of the Three Sealers" first two stanzas below

    AWAY by the lands of the Japanee
    Where the paper lanterns glow
    And the crews of all the shipping drink
    In the house of Blood Street Joe,
    At twilight, when the landward breeze 5
    Brings up the harbour noise,
    And ebb of Yokohama Bay
    Swigs chattering through the buoys,
    In Cisco’s Dewdrop Dining Rooms
    They tell the tale anew 10
    Of a hidden sea and a hidden fight,
    When the Baltic ran from the Northern Light
    And the Stralsund fought the two.

    Now this is the Law of the Muscovite, that he proves with shot and steel,
    When you come by his isles in the Smoky Sea you must not take the seal, 15
    Where the grey sea goes nakedly between the weed-hung shelves,
    And the little blue fox he is bred for his skin and the seal they breed for themselves.
    For when the matkas1 seek the shore to drop their pups aland,
    The great man-seal haul out of the sea, aroaring, band by band.
    And when the first September gales have slaked their rutting-wrath, 20
    The great man-seal haul back to the sea and no man knows their path.
    Then dark they lie and stark they lie—rookery, dune, and floe,
    And the Northern Lights come down o’ nights to dance with the houseless snow;
    And God Who clears the grounding berg and steers the grinding floe,
    He hears the cry of the little kit-fox and the wind along the snow. 25
    But since our women must walk gay and money buys their gear,
    The sealing-boats they filch that way at hazard year by year.
    English they be and Japanee that hang on the Brown Bear’s flank,
    And some be Scot, but the worst of the lot, and the boldest thieves, be Yank!
     
  14. Lew

    Lew Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    1,348
    Likes Received:
    1,087
    Yes, Leonard Cohen is quite the balladeer. And to that list, I would add Kris Kristofferson, though his appeal is more to C&W set.

    Well, I woke up Sunday morning,
    With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt
    And the beer I had for breakfast
    Wasn't bad - so I had one more for dessert

    And concur with @Youssef Salameh , difference in taste is neither an insult to one who doesn't share that taste, nor cause for one. Let's be nice here!
     
  15. NoGoodNobu

    NoGoodNobu Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,127
    Likes Received:
    1,310
    Isn't T.S. Elliot's "The Waste Land" a modern epic poem?

    Or are we using modern as meaning contemporary and not the literary school?
     
  16. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    7,200
    Likes Received:
    9,339
    Location:
    London, UK
    Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy follows a lot of the conventions of epic poems. Key difference being it isn't written in verse...
     
  17. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2016
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    245
    I completely agree about contemporary language. If you don't speak Italian, the true beauty of The Divine Comedy is lost on you. If I'd been born in the era of Homer, and was privileged enough to know how to read, I'm sure his words would be that much more beautiful.

    Also, a lot of the writing I think was inspirational. It was meant to move people towards a way of thinking. Whether that be national pride or religious views.

    Roughly 11 years was spent writing The Divine Comedy.
    The amount of life experience, pain, love, and belief that went into The Divine Comedy is astounding.

    So I can see from both points of view.
     
  18. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2016
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    245
    No, it definitely is. Thank you for the suggestion. I was thinking longer epics I suppose.
     
  19. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,552
    Likes Received:
    3,043
    Location:
    Boston
    Wikipedia has a nice list of modern epic poems. I assume twentieth century is modern enough?

    Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an audience for this sort of thing, so it has dwindled in popularity. Actually, poetry in general has become less popular, which is a shame.
     
  20. D.J. LeMarr

    D.J. LeMarr New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2018
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    I writing an epic poem in free verse that is called The Epic of Lucifer. It is going to be a six part series, and the first two books (The Keys of Death and Hades & The Fiery Lake of Burning Sulfur) are available now. Hoping to get the other out into the world by the end of this year.
     
Tags:

Share This Page