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Cultivating Poetry and Poetic Criticism

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Weekly Critiquing Prompt [May. 16th, 2005|04:48 pm]
Cultivating Poetry and Poetic Criticism

pachamama
This week it is a poem by Edna St Vincent Millay, a poet who is perhaps best known for writing rather arch sonnets about sexual politics. This poems displays a foray away from form, edging possibly as close as Millay ever came to prose poetry. Does it work? Is she just taking the piss? Why/why not?

Modern DeclarationCollapse )
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Spotlight on Charles Simic [May. 15th, 2005|10:57 pm]
Cultivating Poetry and Poetic Criticism

blue_lightning
Charles Simic, born in Belgrade in 1938, grew up first under Hitler's rule, then Stalin's. In 1953 he left for Paris for a few months, and then for the States. In 1959 some of the poems he'd written during his time in Chicago appeared in The Chicago Review. He spent two years in the army, and his time there gave him time to reassess the 'character of his writing'. His assessment led him to destroy all of his early poems; he'd come to feel they were 'no more than literary vomit'.

In 1966 he graduated from NYU, and a year after that What the Grass Says, his first book of poetry, was published. Since then he's written sixty volumes, and has won a spate of awards for his efforts. Since 1973, he's taught in the English Department at the University of New Hampshire.

And what of his poetry? Hard to pin down! Many call his work surrealistic, while others assert there is too much familiarity in the strangeness of his writing for this to be truly otherworldy, and label him a realist, perhaps even a romantic poet. What is certain is that his work is often morbid, always haunting, sparse, clean, and of a fantastic quality. Though his writing may seem very dream-like, what's most gripping about it is how much of the waking world seeps in. That said, Simic himself believes that poetry is not meant to be fully explained, so I leave you with three of his poems (four, actually, but White is too long for me to post here - I still fully recommend it!), for you to decide on your own just what manner of beast Simic truly is.

Three PoemsCollapse )

More on Simic here, here, and here.

More works by Simic here.
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Future Community Exercises [May. 15th, 2005|09:43 pm]
Cultivating Poetry and Poetic Criticism

blue_lightning
Okay, guys. Thanks for all your feedback to my last post. The following is a list of those projects we're going forward with:

1) Weekly Spotlight Post: Once a week three poems by a different, single poet will be posted, along with a short bio about said poet and his or her impact on whatever areas are deemed pertinent. This will be run by me.

2) Weekly Published Poem / New Poem Prompt: Once a week a prompt will be issued, with the requirement being that members post both a published poem and a new poem (of their own) that meets the requirements. pachamama has kindly offered to take this on herself. Thank you!

3) Weekly Critiquing Prompt: Once a week a published poem will be posted for everyone to practice their critiquing skills on. The point is to come to a better understanding of why certain devices are used, where they succeed, and where they fail. pachamama has also offered to take this project on. Thanks again!

4) Monthly Project Cult Crit: Once a month an article about some style, period, or trend in poetry will be posted. The aim of this project is to broaden our understanding as a community of the history and breadth of poetry. elenuial has most kindly offered to take up this assignment. Thank you!

Not scheduled, but more than welcome from all members, are the following:

1) Reviews of books of poetry, or on poetry.

2) Posts offering tips on writing, editing, and submitting one's work.

3) Posts offering us a glimpse into each of the members here. These posts are an opportunity for members to share their personal experiences with poetry - successes, failures, aims, inspirations.

And for those wondering about the poetry news links idea, the poetry news journal choriamb will be recommended to all members on the community info page. All comments and criticism (and participation!) welcome!

That said, thanks so much for your efforts and interest, guys. The community is nothing without it. Peace and happy writing!
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The Writer's Almanac [May. 13th, 2005|10:37 am]
Cultivating Poetry and Poetic Criticism

artricia
Do folks here know about The Writer's Alamanac?  It's a daily, 5-minute spot on NPR, hosted by Garrison Keillor, with information about writers and a daily poem.  You can get it by email and read it or listen to it through RealAudio.  See http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/.

Keillor's also hosting a new series, Literary Friendships, which I've just found out about while trying to get the URL for the Writer's Almanachttp://literaryfriendships.publicradio.org/.
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Community Building - Call for Assistance!! [May. 13th, 2005|12:05 am]
Cultivating Poetry and Poetic Criticism

blue_lightning
Hi guys! I owe a few people here some comments and criticism, so apologies in advance. My computer freezes quite frequently, and when it's done so in the middle of an LJ response I get in a foul mood and need some time before I'm ready to write it again.

That said, I need your help. I need your expertise and your assorted hobbies. I need you.

This community was founded on sharing the importance of research and criticism (especially the ability to give it). I think it's fair to say you're all here because you support this idea. But this is an aim no one person can achieve on his or her own. This is something I need help with - your help. Please, if you can spare even a moment to read this post in full, I'd be much obliged.

First and foremost, I need your input on the following ideas for future staples that would help emphasize research and critique. Tell me which ideas you like, which ones you don't, and which you feel need to be reworked a little. If you can think of others that would also be good, please please please inform.

Possible Community StaplesCollapse )

Remember, if you can think of any other ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Next comes the most important part. Next comes me asking if any of you could take responsibility for some of these features, with their running times dependent on your schedules and opinions of their importance. I make this request to help strengthen this community as a whole. All who'd be willing to take responsibility of a community staple would, of course, be given mod status as well (to make it easier for you to do your exercises!).

So, please, I know it might sound like a lot, but even just responding will be of great benefit to me, and I'm certain this community could benefit from the experience and input of most everyone here. Furthermore, a weekly post may seem like a bit of a commitment, but not only do I appreciate the need for flexibility, I also know that a weekly post doesn't require as much effort as it might seem. If you have any time at your disposal, that would be wonderful.

I want this place to be strong. I want it to be able to serve its members effectively, and allow them in turn to grow and participate. And I really intend to put in what time and effort I can. But not only do I recognise this cannot be done by just one member, I also feel it's to the detriment of the community for only one member to be running everything.

That said, thanks for reading so far! Hope your evening is well, happy writing, and peace all!
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(no subject) [May. 7th, 2005|02:08 am]
Cultivating Poetry and Poetic Criticism

artricia
I'm posting a link to Kenneth Koch's "Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams."  It seems to fit in well with our poem-a-day prompt from April.  I had thought, until I looked at the poem again, that it actually began with Williams's first line, "This is just to say," but no -- the line simply lurks in the background.
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My remix [May. 7th, 2005|01:58 am]
Cultivating Poetry and Poetic Criticism

artricia
The first line is from Ezra Pound's "In a Station of the Metro"; I recognized it when I wrote my poem.  I don't think mine is much of a poem, really, and I'm not invested in it.  It's more of a gag or an exercise.  I'm glad I was able to dash something off from these prompts -- I tried more than once and just didn't know where to go with it. 

I used Pound's second line as well.

Pound talks about the poem here.  The poem itself is here.

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
petals on a wet, black bough --
both, like seeing bunnies in the clouds.
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Project CultCrit Exercise #4 [May. 6th, 2005|06:09 pm]
Cultivating Poetry and Poetic Criticism

blue_lightning
Found poetry take two!

Okay, here's the deal this time: I want you to think of a poet whose work bores you, whose work you hate. Think of a poet who fills you with the desire to roll your eyes and spork things.

Now find some of that poet's poems and mix'em up to make something good. Mix and match your phrases, your sentences, whatever. Just find some way to make this poet appeal to you - try to make this poet sound good to you.

A challenge? Oh yes! Don't forget to state the name of the poet in the subject line. List all the poems used at the bottom. And, remember, you can't add words of your own! You must work solely with your chosen poet's tripe. Have fun!
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My remix: "My Man in Black" [May. 3rd, 2005|06:50 pm]
Cultivating Poetry and Poetic Criticism

tacky_tramp
You do not do, you do not do
the steps you did before.
Your sharp black shoe, one-two, one-two,
whirlwinds me no more

on marble tiles, in Frisco styles --
now only memory,
from dusty files across miles and miles,
will roughly valse with me.

I should seek strands in Gypsy lands
to, like cards, connect
my heart and hands, once man's demands,
which strain to recollect

your bright blue eye, your bright blue eye,
the deep cleft of your chin --
so deep you'd try (but why? why? why?)
to fit my red heart in.

My man in black, whose sweet attack
drew my most treasured tears
through sting and slack -- come back! come back! --
is gone these seven years.

------

I recognized the first line as Plath's "Daddy", and decided fairly early in my tinkering to root my poem in the original, playing with some of the same images but taking them in another direction. I like restrictive forms, so I adopted a rather frustrating meter and rhyme scheme -- which, of course, led to disclarity and awkwardness. That could be cleared up, I suppose, by changing the first line so it doesn't have that singsong repetition I extended throughout. The only thing I'm really attached to is the idea, in the fourth stanza, of her heart going into his chin-cleft -- anything else is up for alteration.

(Incidentally, when I x-posted this in my LJ, a close friend of mine thought this was "obviously" about one of my exes. We had a bit of a row when I took offense to having my poetry called "obvious" -- especially when he was so far off base!)
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Famous Poem Remix: jenni_powell's favorite! [May. 3rd, 2005|09:24 am]
Cultivating Poetry and Poetic Criticism

jenni_powell
I don't know if this would be considered my "strongest" piece of the month, at least technique-wise, but it is certainly grabbing me as my favorite. Something about the imagery oddly fascinates me. Any critique, especially ideas on how to change up the first line (which may be easier said then done, considering at this point, it's pretty pivotal to the piece) is greatly appreciated!

After I had cut off my hands
I fed them to the dog
because I could see his ribs.
You let out a giggle
and exclaimed, "hey dummy!
There's kibble in the cupboard!"
I ruffled your hair with my stub
and replied, "hey silly!
I knew that!"

The first line of this poem is from Diane Levertov's Intrusion. I had no idea that this was the case when I wrote the piece and actually just searched the poem out about half an hour ago. I actually tried NOT to recognize the lines when I was working on this exercise all month, I didn't want it to influence me too much. I did such a good job of this that I didn't even recognize the first line of Sylvia Plath's Daddy, which is disturbing considering how much I enjoy Plath's work. Incidentally, I think the piece based off that line was probably one of my weakest...and I mean really, really horrific...

Thanks in advance for your critiques and I hope everyone had a lovely National Poetry Month!
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