17 February 2007

and some poetry.

So, I've been challenged by this gentleman, my stilt-walking teacher of years ago, to read 100 poems and see if they won't force me to retract some flip comment I made a blog ago about not liking poetry. In a nutshell, for the ones I do like, I give $1 to my favourite charity, for the ones I don't, he'll cough it up for the same. A philanthropic endeavour, to be sure!
Pondering it further though, I have to say I'm going to have to minimize the project. Any review I could give of the poems I have been sent so far would have me outed for an Absolute Wanker, given that I have Plath, Pound, Roald Dahl, Ginsberg sitting in my inbox to name but a few. All of whom I have read (and enjoyed) much prose by, so WHO ON EARTH would I be to decry their poetry!?!
I will, for those who have not read his comment in the initial posting, re-iterate what dear "clicclic" (072666) wrote, who has known me forever, and has put it both charmingly and accurately: "...I always thought of you more as someone who simply hates bad poets (which are epidemic!) rather than one who dislikes poetry. it seems in the 21st century that artists and poets have been largely trained by artists and poets; the new breed have learned how to 'affect' art and affect poetry just enough to get noticed (it looks & smells like a poem, therefore...). Previously it was people of very diverse backgrounds coming to the table and using common tools/mediums to unify and describe their experiences; suddenly one can understand the positions of both the WW II Field Marshall and the decadent Aesthete."

It's true. I'm going to add to it though. Us art sorts are a self-absorbed lot. I'm no exception. I wouldn't be able to do what I do without a bit of critical selectivity as to what touches me (ahem) and what leaves me cold. Lots of poetry leaves me cold. It's not bad because it does so. But to pledge allegiance to it all Just-because-it's-poetry-and-i'm-an-arty-sort-so-really-I-should-love-it seems just as silly.

Ok, enough. Here is the link to Robert's blog on the subject, since he is doing much research in coming up with these samples of the fairest art our language has to offer:http://bobsyblog.blogspot.com/
Funny bloggy world. How odd to read an acquaintance's account of my "communicativeness" (such a kind word for it), and I'm beginning to think I should be paying Darren O'Donnell royalties for all the traffic that seems to unwittingly end up in my small corner of blog world due to that infamous debate of so long ago.

ANYHOW.

The first poem. From what I understand, these poems will appear on Robert's blog, I am long-winded enough without posting them here. You can click on the title for the link, though.

Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath.

Surprisingly, I wasn't that fond of this one. i Adore Sylvia Plath, that is no secret, I named a series of paintings after her oven, but I found this poem was too wordy. (shrug) SUBJECTIVE, remember. I'm NOT saying it's bad. I'm just saying, on the whole *I* didn't like it. There were a couple of stanzas that Struck me (the way I imagine the whole thing should, for me to quake in my boots and announce "I've just been poetically struck!", but it was only a few stanzas that did it.
...
I've just read it again to be sure. I just think it could have been alot shorter, and blown my mind with the gems, instead of nestling them in unnecessary wordy details.

Prose is for details.

The second poem: The River Merchant's Wife: a Letter by Ezra Pound.

(sigh) Now I have a feeling this is going to turn my blog into some sort of constant public apology, but this poem didn't appeal to me either. Again, I think it is well-written, for that I'll happily set my $1 aside, but I wasn't really drawn in by it. Sorry.

JUST TO BE ASOLUTELY SURE IT'S CLEAR: MY OPINION OF THESE POEMS IS NOT, AND NEVER WILL BE, A STATEMENT OF THEIR QUALITY. I am not a poet or an expert on poetry, and I am in NO position to evaluate or judge critically. I am, however, as close as it gets to an expert on myself, and I seem these days to have some sort of grasp on what I like and don't like, which I'm assuming is what this is about, if I understand correctly.

Lest you think I'm utterly apathetic to the english language, see quote cited two posts down from Lullabyes for little criminals, one of the books I'm reading right now.
Now That threw me across the room (or the laundromat, rather) this morning.

1 comment:

bobsyblog said...

Dear Stef,

I have to admit I'm chuckling from your reactions to my contest.

I wouldn't & hope nobody would take your opinions as absolute statements on a poems quality (that'swhatposterityisfor) but, as far as I'm concerned you have every right to evaluate and judge critically (that'swhatreadersarefor especially intelligent, literate and forthright readers, ie. you.)

Stop apologizing. Shurely, I enjoyed teasing you about your rash statement (notlikingpoetryindeed) but I knew this would happen! I mean 1) The dice were already loaded (poundplathdahlginsbergetc.) and 2) I expect to learn a lot myself from your reactions to the work - your comments on Lady Lazarus are already quite interesting. Not to mention being forced to pick out a whole hundred poems - that'll be an educational experience.

I'm using my blog to - er. I have the ambition to use my blog to - explore a whole bunch of these issues. Waft by from time to time if you like. The poems will trickle in over the next few months (unless I get over-excited), you'll read them as you have leisure, or interest, give me yes's&no's (probably in batches) and comment as how & when you see fit. Readers take warning - anyone who scoffs at Stef's lit'r'cy will get flamed! By me.

I would like to add that I am not and never have been a gentleman, but instead I'll just accept the compliment gracefully.

Robert (ps - don't I get a number? or is that only for roommates? or lovers? sheesh, you're up to five digits - quel libido) F. http://www.bobsyblog.blogspot.com