9 abr. 2010

Good poets tend to think of poetic form as the vibrant core of the art form. Critics who are hermeneutically oriented, oriented toward the question of what poetry means, tend to view that kind of formalism as dull and sterile. I never understood the idea that tropes were central to poetry. I mean, yes, I understand that poetry uses a lot of metaphor, catachresis, metonymy, chiasmus, and other things with fancy Greek names.

Some examples: Coolidge's speakings and writings on Kerouac; Lorca on Spanish lullabies; Rodríguez on children's games.

Coolidge talks about three kinds of creative activities in Kerouac's writing: blowing (like blowing over the chord changes), sketching, and babbleflow. In other words, musical, visual, and verbal improvisations. With much overlap.

11 comentarios:

Joseph Hutchison dijo...

"Good poets tend to think of poetic form as the vibrant core of the art form." I doubt this, but it would be worth a study or a survey. A survey, maybe, of practicing poets. Of course my doubt could be coming from the vagueness of "poetic form" as a term. As if tropes were not part of the form. As if diction, syntax, symbol, allusion, and even the unconscious material that arises in a poem were not aspects of the form. I feel sure Whitman did not sit there and say to himself, "Now for a little parallelism!" Or...?

Jonathan dijo...

I don't think a survey of practicing poets would solve anything. Most poets do not think of things this way, but most poets are not good ones either. I think I'd rather state it this way: "To be a good poet, you have to think of prosody as a the vibrant core of the art form."

Jonathan dijo...

and there's nothing vague about poetic form. It's the most concrete thing possible.

Henry Gould dijo...

Where do you go, then, with Emerson's "metre-making argument"? I lean toward agreeing with Joseph. You can't simply isolate the rhythm or metrical form & elevate it to "vibrant core". Part of the distinctiveness of poetry rests in just this : it's very hard to isolate or abstract the parts from the whole, or set them in a hierarchy.

Jonathan dijo...

I never quite knew what that phrase of Emerson's meant. I guess I'm going to have to reformulate my own phrasing a bit, though, since I didn't intend to isolate it as much as point out the deficiency of approaches that leave so much out. Paul de Man's worrying so much over tropes and rhetoric, while ignoring what telling the dancer from the dance really meant.

mlle dijo...

True that, Jonathan.

Henry Gould dijo...

"Paul de Man's [or many another's]worrying so much over tropes and rhetoric, while ignoring what telling the dancer from the dance really meant."

- with this I certainly agree...

Joseph Hutchison dijo...

""To be a good poet, you have to think of prosody as a the vibrant core of the art form." Again, I doubt this; but at least you've put forward your definition of "poetic form" as "prosody." I completely agree that prosody deserves study along with every other aspect of poetry. I just think you're wrong about attaching a value judgment to it, especially in the form of a pronouncement that can't be proven, unless in some circular way that's worse than useless. "Most poets do not think of things this way, but most poets are not good." Some people would call that intellectually dishonest and ask for some sort of proof. In the real world, I worry that your standard would force us to think of Auden, for example, as a better poet than Whitman, for example. Or Yvor Winters as a better poet than Robinson Jeffers. Or am I misreading you?

Jonathan dijo...

Obviously Whitman, who invented his own prosody and whose prosody was hugely influential on many many other poets, would be far more significant than Auden from my perspective, so I have no idea what you're talking about. I apologize for my dogmatic statement, but I really believe this to be axiomatic. Sometimes I state things in rather stark terms so i wouldn't expect everyone to agree with me. I don't have to prove it, because I have Thomas Campion and Claudio Rodríguez and Robert Duncan on my side, along with Pound, Coolidge, and a whole army of great poets, including both Auden and Whitman.

Joseph Hutchison dijo...

Okey dokey. It's good to know there are propositions that don't need proof and that axioms exist in poetry. You should publish all of them so we're all clear on what the indisputable standards are. My point about Auden is that he gloried in his knowledge of prosody and wrote about it frequently, and everyone acknowledged his prosodic skill; and yet he remains, I think, a very minor poet. I wasn't aware that Whitman ever mentioned prosody, so maybe you can point me toward his opinions on the subject; you know, where he asserts that it's "the vibrant core" of his art.

Vance Maverick dijo...

Like your strictures against "themes", this strikes me as bizarrely dogmatic. Suppose we uncovered a fragment of Sappho, saying, "I think poetry's all about the tropes, and the form and prosody are decoration merely." What would that change? We would still be free to read her for her form and prosody, taking the tropes for granted.

I'm reminded a little of Cage's objections, in Silence passim, to Beethoven. At this distance, it seems clear Cage was reacting to a bogus conception of B's value, as a particularly heroic form of self-expression. He was right enough to reject that, but somehow it didn't occur to him that he was free to hear Beethoven in a new and even Cageian way.