Friday, November 25, 2011

prosody, etc.

after the lovely, large thanksgiving feast, and when everyone went to bed i was up -- the night owl that i am -- fired up the laptop and did my usual thing. which is read blogs, write a little, watch several vids of lush performing live via youtube [great undersung band], and listen to a little internet radio.

but then of my reading i spent some time on a blog i've not clicked on for quite a while, mike snider's formal blog. i found snider's formal rigor a bracing corrective in my own sloppy thinking. after all, how many poets nowadays think of prosody when writing poetry? not that i agree with snider one hundred percent but i think that if you are a free-verse poet the vigor of prosody can set a solid foundation upon the work.

and vice versa. if you are a formal poet then reading someone like ginsberg can be a liberating experience. tho frankly, i think the divisions between formal and free verse might not matter as strongly as they did say 30 years ago. i might be wrong in that regard however i remember reading a survey of contemporary french poetry where the author asked a french poet what is the difference between lineated verse and prose. the poet answered, one is written in lines and the other is not.

i liked that response. ted berrigan told students that there is a little guy inside the office of our heads that took care of things like meter. i liked that too. i don't write for the ear. snider does, i think, so for him meter and rhyme matter a great deal. i'm not bothered by charges that my verse could be chopped up prose. prose-y-ness is what i aspire to.

early in my writing life i counted syllables and tried to get my lines to scan. i'm a bad musician and gave up when i realized that i was reading much translated poetry and that is what i wanted in my own writing, a translatability.

for in my view there is no bad or good. that doesn't mean there are no qualitative measures in my accounting of past, present and even future poetics. there is bad writing and there is incompetent writing. there is a difference between those measures. i don't read with regard for major and minor literatures. i don't write for that regard either.

still my self-proclaimed sloppiness and attempts toward a poetics of the lazy can learn much from poets such as snider. i like his work a lot. my favorite poet, the one i learned the most from, is thom gunn, a writer who lived meter and rhyme. i don't write like gunn. or snider. i don't have to. they don't have to write like me either. poetry is a large universe with room for many persons and styles. i know that. you know that. poetry knows that too.


At 5:39 PM, Blogger Jim K. said...

nice stuff, and
triple amen
you're omniverous too, eh?
bless you

i have some portion of metered...
it happens..

plenty of tools for all..
other artists don't put down
each other's style...our world
could be as rich as all of theirs..

c'mon people, now,
smile on your brother..

At 10:45 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

indeed, jim. let us all smile on our brothers and sisters too.

i've always approached everything in my life, poetry, art, movies, living, sex, as differences informing differences. as thom gunn wrote, 'we are the same in different ways / we are different in the same way'.


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