1. katina

    katina Contributor Contributor

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    when does poetry draw the line with a story?

    Discussion in 'By Writing Form' started by katina, Aug 7, 2018.

    There comes a point where a poem reads like a story.
    One does start to lose what poetry is about if they start to resemble a story.

    Preservation of any kind means restriction for the sake of keeping something for longer and forever of course.
    Any comments most welcome :)
     
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  2. ReproveTheCurlew

    ReproveTheCurlew Active Member

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    Not sure I understand... what, exactly, IS poetry about, and how is it lost if it starts to resemble a story? What about ballads? What about idylls, lays, epics? Is Paradise Lost not a poem? Is the Iliad not a poem? Beowulf? Or, to go even further back in time, Gilgamesh? Or, more recently, some of Pound's Cantos, or some of Bishop's poetry? What about certain verse dramas, which are borderline between poetry and drama, such as Samson Agonistes, Peer Gynt, Murder in the Cathedral?
     
  3. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    As @ReproveTheCurlew alludes to, poetry is not defined by length.

    But then you have prose poetry, just to muddy the waters, which is poetry formatted as prose.
     
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  4. katina

    katina Contributor Contributor

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    Well poetry starts to feel more like a story when it goes over board with amounts of lines.
    I get that with lots of poetry it feels like I am starting to read a short story so I immediately switch off.
     
  5. katina

    katina Contributor Contributor

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    I don't agree I think it should otherwise there is no point in saying it is poetry.
    Length is what define literature. That is my opinion :)
     
  6. ReproveTheCurlew

    ReproveTheCurlew Active Member

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    Well, you're free to have your own opinion, but if it goes against what everyone (incl. experts in the field) says, it doesn't mean it is valid! I didn't even realise we were talking length - I thought you were referring to plots within a poem!

    But the length argument is easy to refute, just by citing the ones I cited above. Or, to take examples from prose, what about flash fiction? Most flash fiction is shorter than many, many, many poems. Defining poetry is no easy feat, but considering the history of poetry, the length cannot play a role - unless you want to strip some of the world's greatest and most beloved poems from their status as poetry.
     
  7. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    Okay, but in that case you also need to realise and accept that you're forming an opinion about poetry which is so unique, it's highly unlikely to be shared by a single other person who has even a passing interest in the field.
     
  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Here's a link to "Girl" a piece that has been long debated if it falls under poetry or short story. It's short and worth the read. I can see both poetry and fiction able to claim this. What do you guys think?

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1978/06/26/girl
     
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  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    A definition that is respected by you and only you is not a terribly useful definition.
     
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  10. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    You are misunderstanding WHAT poetry is.

    First, one of the branches of poetry is NARRATIVE: meaning a story poem (Idylls of the king, The Divine comedy, Paradise Lost, The Illiad, The Task etc.)

    -
    Poetry is a form of writing that has a structure layered over it besides the bounds of normal Sentence structure. (Examples: Meter, chaining sounds, Image repetition, etc.) It is not bound by subject matter or length. Example: I write story-poems about BDSM sex, seduction, self-improvement, and life as a man with an Erotic-horror-like spin. Just like some people write poem about being a farmer. :)
     
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  11. fjm3eyes

    fjm3eyes Member

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    There comes a point where a poem reads like a story. Can you tell me what/where that point is? Maybe give an example or two. I'm having trouble with this.
     
  12. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    What about famous long poems (almost novella length) like Howl or Tender Buttons. They are long, but there is no doubt that these are poems. Sorry, but length is NOT what defines literature. Read more.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
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  13. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    Not to self promote or anything, but this is both a poem and a story. So if there comes a time when a poem reads like a story, as in, it has a plot and a progression and an end, then it can clearly still be a poem even containing those elements.
     
  14. katina

    katina Contributor Contributor

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    I am not a fan of long poems. I switch off completely. I have a very short concentration span. :)
     
  15. katina

    katina Contributor Contributor

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    However to answer my own post if I may I would like to say that one can make a movie
    out of a story but one cannot make one out of a poem.
     
  16. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Of course you can.
     
  17. katina

    katina Contributor Contributor

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    You can?
    How? Which?
     
  18. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    You're the one who made the assertion, without, as far as I can tell, any justification. Why is it that a set of events written in prose can be made into a movie, but as soon as you write them into a poem, it's suddenly impossible to make that movie? I think you need to justify your assertion.
     
  19. katina

    katina Contributor Contributor

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    I am not sure I understand what you are trying to say.
    A poem is a concept and a story is character based.
    I know that others have taken it into their stride to write poetry into a story to try and
    reinforce or perhaps push out the idea of poetry. I mean one has to question why Paradise Lost is a poem and not a story.
    Normally one writes poetry to express a concept an idea an image a feeling.
    A movie could not capture that.
    However a story is entirely based on characters.
    I am just speculating.
     
  20. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    That's your definition. It's not remotely universal.

    You may question it. I don't.

    By your definition.

    Entirely? No.

    So you're saying that a poem that can be made into a movie is not a poem--by your personal definition.

    That's not at all the same as "a poem can't be made into a movie."
     
  21. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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  22. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Um.. Howl. The poem I mentioned upstream is a movie.
     
  23. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Active Member

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    Casey at the Bat!
     
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  24. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Contributor Contributor

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    I'm not even sure what her definitions are, but I'm sympathetic to her point of view. When speaking off the cuff I've stated that I greatly prefer stories (meaning short stories and novels) over poetry. I'll be the first to admit, I wasn't considering works like Beowulf in my of usage of poetry whenever I've said that.

    For me, there is an important distinction between a proper story and things like songs, sonnets, and a significant portion of "narrative" poetry. I doubt I could clearly articulate the boundaries of that distinction tonight, but that doesn't mean it's not there. I couldn't define where art ends and pornography begins, but that's also an important distinction for me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
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  25. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    And I have zero issue with what you say above. I still have an issue with ungrounded, unqualified assertions like "you cannot make (a movie) out of a poem". Maybe that person's assertion was intended to account for the matter-of-opinion and skipped-over-nuances that you're explicitly acknowledging. But when an assertion doesn't give any hint of being aware of those things, and is instead phrased as a bald statement of fact, I get cranky.
     
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