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46960.  Sat Jan 21, 2006 6:37 am Reply with quote

Thanks Samivel, I am a muppet.

47112.  Sun Jan 22, 2006 8:14 am Reply with quote

Hi Gray

Which is an argument that simply promotes opinion as fact.

Well, I think at best it promotes it to 'theory'. And not my theory, I hasten to add.

In your opening paragraph you said:
Gray wrote:
Actually reading the book reveals that he makes a clear argument very early on that imposed restriction and limitation, in the form of metre, are one of the main factors in good poetry. All art, in fact.

So you say, fact. I accept that you consider it a theory; I would suggest that it is an opinion.

The point I am making is not that the book is illiterate or that Stephen Fry is illiterate, or even that the term, 'arse-dribble', is illiterate.

If I said, or implied, that, "All modern poetry is rubbish", ( or "all verse is rubbish"), then I would expect any educated person to say that my statement was an illiterate statement, or the statement of an illiterate man. Or, put another way, the way I said it in fact, is that it is an illiterate thing for a literate person to say. (Note that I am not suggesting Stephen said that. This is simply an example to illustrate the point).

That would not be true in the event that I had read every single modern poem, of course. Note, also, that I have identified Stephen as a literate man. Only a fool would suggest otherwise.

I did suggest that what people would take away from this article are the more spicy remarks and would miss out on the interesting things he says. For example:
'You can set yourself new rules or you can write with no structure for a particular poem and it can be very wonderful; I just think it's so much harder and so much less fun than using existing forms,' he said.
which is a fascinating point.

Regardless, all this is only my opinion, and I would not elevate it to theory or fact.

However, if such remarks send people rushing to buy the book, then that is no bad thing, especially for Stephen. If they actually read it and learn something about verse, then that is better.

I agree that it is a good thing to know the rules. I have spent much time learning them and I still am. But I would not prescribe it. I have no preference for free verse over verse. At the moment I am reading more about the history of free verse. I have read much about the history of versification. Indeed, I have learnt a little Ancient Greek, and a little Anglo Saxon, so that I may begin to understand the nuances of poetry in those languages. Next on my list is French. (I refer to the language. :) )

The proposition made is that all art is governed by rules (restrictions and constraints). That is what I refute. All science is governed by rules ... that's a different story and, given that prosody is a science, ipso facto, any versified poem is an exercise, an experiment indeed, in the science of versification. How you then decide what is, and isn't, art is another issue.

Technique is the Greek for art. Poetry is the Greek for creation.

Versification has produced some great poetry, some great art, but so has the absence of it.

Now, on the issue of learning about prosody before we venture forth as poets. It would be a poor English person who has not been inculcated with an understanding of versification from the moment they were born: Black Sheep and Spiders, Wheels on Buses and Wild Things; then in teenage years: 'Yeah, yeah, yeah', (Stephen recently hosted a radio program on nonsense verse), "Do ah diddy", "Hey, hey we're the Monkeys". Nowadays I suspect that children would most likely quote the Arctic Monkeys.

The point is that we have an ingrained inclination to verse, encouraged by the nature of our language, which bursts forth at weddings, funerals and on Valentine's day, usually as doggerel (here I must admit guilty as charged, albeit many years ago).

Knowing and using language and grammar qualifies you to write poetry. Whether it is good, or bad, poetry is the issue (perish that little rubber thought,we could be bouncing that around for many moons). However, that, as I mentioned before, is just my opinion.

Sebastian flyte
252861.  Sat Jan 05, 2008 1:28 pm Reply with quote

I got that book for Christmas :) have wanted it for ages to wean me off my crap adolescent and pre adolescent arse dribble poetry :D

252880.  Sat Jan 05, 2008 1:53 pm Reply with quote

I want to buy that one for myself.

Sebastian flyte
252905.  Sat Jan 05, 2008 2:24 pm Reply with quote

:) I haven't started it yet though.

252906.  Sat Jan 05, 2008 2:26 pm Reply with quote

I enjoyed it. It was interesting. I wouldn't say it drastically altered the way I write poetry (a pity, some might add), but it made me think more about different forms and styles, and I reckon it made me more open to reading "old" poetry.


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