I confess to being the Philistine here.
I was left cold and confused, wondering what stories, old or new, tree shadows could possibly tell.
Give me a good article or novel any day.
Robert Frost, even though he couldn't rhyme, still told stories I (think I) understood.
I'm sorry that you have read so little of Robert Frost, for not only could he rhyme, but he did it very well and often.
In landscape architecture, one of the considerations in planting in areas with deciduous trees is to anticipate the stories their shadows will tell when they are bereft of their leaves. The poem in question is a loose American haiku and the stories are those the sun tells from dawn to dusk.
No need to be sorry.
I'm sure I have read everything of his that has been published.
Rhymes are not just in the mind of the writer, but in the ear of the reader.
I only wanted to comment because I DID read every word of your piece.
And I was, as I said left cold and confused.
This being a public presentation of work, I wanted to share that honest reaction.
I tried, but just didn't "get it".
I confess to being one of those who "just don't get it",
who expect poetry to rhyme and to do it in ways readily recognizable.
If you are not addressing your poetry to us, that's OK.
But I don't think it's fair to assume that, Philistines though we may be, we are not well-read.
I rather thought it a compliment that I did read it all, and meant you to understand that.
It is always good to have different perspectives from readers, I think. For example, Hemingway and I do not see eye to eye, yet I have read at one time or another every word he ever wrote. The thing is, I wanted to see what he would say, and how I would feel about it. Never did a thing he wrote make me feel a bit better.
Yet I adore Harper Lee, and though she only wrote one novel, I still search for any sign of any word she ever wrote or said. I love what she does with words. The same can be said for poetry, we love it and we dislike it, but we continue to read it.
The world would be a boring place if we all agreed on everything.
Words are fun to play with, and are powerful tools. It is interesting to see the results of written words. And I find it very interesting when someone dislikes something that I have written or something that I find enjoyable. I always want to know why, why they disliked, or why they disagreed, and what they do enjoy.
Words are meant to evoke feelings and reactions, good or bad.
Kathleen's poems, if I had read them at a different time, would have given me a different reaction. But having just survived an ice storm and nearly 10 days without heat or electricity, and losing trees and having damage, made me look at her photos and cringe. In the weeks ahead when I dig myself out of this mess, I will read them again, and I think I will smile my way through them.
In any case, readers and readers words are good for us, just as writers and their words are good for us as well.
I wish I could say it as well as you have done.
Words DO evoke the most quintessential emotions in us; or they leave us with nothing at all.
I struggled for years to get an appreciation of Hemingway (I mean, his work is so supposed to be, like, seminal). I even once did a statistical analysis of his sentence word count because of his reputation for using short sentences as an essential part of his style. Turned out, he doesn't, really. Use short sentences, that is. I still find Steinbeck much more compatible.
I am now just finishing Paul Auster's "New York Trilogy". Despite his facility with words, I am again left cold and feeling cheated, recalling the money I paid for Brautigan's Willard and His Bowling Trophies years ago.
think that one can be facile with words, but devoid of meaning; or incapable of evoking meaning; or deliberately defrauding readers.
Of course, it is equally possible to read but not hear.
I enjoyed your words, Sharran. They spoke to me in a way I can understand.
I have read your Winter Sonnet many times. This time I was visited by an image of a woman who ate several times her own weight in food and quickly grew to many hundreds of pounds! What a funny expression 'eating like a bird' is - it makes no sense.
I always enjoy your poetry for many reasons and on many levels. I cannot wait for the spring edition! Thank you.
I, too, feel that Sharon said a great deal, and I am not off put by your comments. Believe me, every comment is good in allowing me to see what others see. I grew up on Frost and Sandburg and Sir Walter Scott, all recited to me by my grandfather, all as spoken word as well as written word. Publishing poetry is always a tricky business and I am very happy that you read them, every word. Winter often leaves us cold and confused.
Carrie, you are one of the few to see that side of the poem, and it is exactly what I meant to say.
Sharon: I love To Kill a Mockingbird, the book and the movie, and I think part of the spell that the movie casts is the sound of Harper Lee's voice narrating it. That soft Southern drawl is something that simply cannot be copied, no matter how one tries or how many voice/diction lessons one takes. You either have it or you don't. I'm glad I have it.
There is also a book about Harper Lee out now, called Mockingbird. Great Book...among the best biographies I think. You should read it, but I can't for the life of me remember the author. Maybe Shields or something, but you should be able to find it from the title alone. Lots of her words, quotes, etc in the book.
Having been raised on a dairy farm near the shores of Lake Ontario, I feel your pictures and the lovely words in your poems capture the essence of winter in the area. There is so much beauty in the calms AND in the midst of harshness. Memories. Thank you!
Potagree, it sounds like you and Kathleen have come to an understanding, but I just wanted to chime in with a few comments of my own.
One of the things I love about poetry is that not every thought is readily available. That makes the discovery of what is hidden in the poem all the more wonderful. To me, a line about "the calligraphy" of tree shadows on the snow telling stories old and new is an evocative way to convey the juxtaposition of the trees' current state (leafless, barren (like old fingers), snow-covered) and all that those things symbolize with the remembered and yearned-for state of being found in the summer (green (new), full, sun-drenched) and all that those things symbolize. That line will mean something completely different to someone else - or it might mean nothing at all to someone else, but it does say something. I like the thought of trees practically writing their own stories, with the help of the morning sun and a blank canvas of snow. But then, I've been accused of too much anthropomorphizing in my own writing before.
You are right that the published writer is obligated to say something and to do so with an audience in mind, but the reader has an equal obligation to bring their own effort to the table. I think that in this case, both of you have done what you were supposed to do and I'm glad to see that there are still people that can discuss different opinions in a civil manner.
I know I should; and that by admitting my ignorance, I am failing some test;
but all I knowis about lawyers is what we used to say a million years back in Seattle :
Q : "What's a thousand lawyers at the bottom of Lake Washington"?
A : A good beginning
I spent the best parts of my life as a librarian and as a teacher.
There are few remarks about librarians : but many about teachers.
One of the Henry's: "First thing, let's kill all the lawyers!" I think maybe H III? I really shouldn't try to show off, my knowledge of Shakespeare is horrible.
A librarian and teacher - all good. I have taught workshops in schools and at Chautauqua Institution and learned much, but first and foremost that I am not a teacher. My eldest teaches fourth grade and I am in absolute awe of what she and her husband (who teaches junior high math!) do. I don't play well with others, and I do run with scissors so it's just as well that I have given the teaching profession a wide berth.
GardenSox, I like the way you thought about that poem. I'm afraid that somewhere in the back of my head when I wrote it was Pound's "Make it new" I will not quote more than that of his infernal body of work. The poem works for many and those for whom is doesn't have at least (well, in this case) given it some thought. That's all that I ask. If it was too easy, it wouldn't be worth writing.
I beg to differ on only your last point! Some of my best music has just poured out of me with no apparent effort. Of course, most of that music remains unused because I could never hear the words or the harmonies clearly! I guess I proved your point. Ok, you're right.
I'm once again going to call "Beulah the Buzzer" on both GardenSox and (sorry!) carrie.
If a poem is written in a vacuum, does its metre, rhyme, imagery or lack of it matter?
If a piece of music is written and played by a deaf person in a desolate forest, is it music?
If a painting is done on a boulder which is then buried in a pit, is it art?
I'd say no.
I'd say that any piece of literature, music, visual art that does not communicate with a recipient
is not art.
I'd further claim that the point of ALL "art" is to communicate.
That further places no more obligation upon the listener/reader/viewer than an obligation to listen/read/view "in good faith"; as the "undirected"/optional "directive object" of this communication. The listener/reader/viewer of a piece of art (not directly communicated to him/her personally as a direct personal communication of the "artist") is under NO artistic or communicative OBLIGATION whatsoever.
The requirements of a grade-school or university curriculum may obligate a person to become an interactive listener/reader/viewer of a piece of art, requiring some effort on his or her part, but the mere existence of the piece of art or its public presentation places no obligation upon those exposed to it to bring any "effort to the table" at all.
A publicly presented piece of "art" offers itself to "the public", to all of "the public's" expectations, criteria. tastes, critiques, etc. The "public" is "obligated" to say nothing more than if this publicly presented "work of art" speaks to it, or not.
"Artists" "speak"'; "the public" "listens". It really is up to the "artists" whether or not the rest of us "hear".
Art and Jesus' admonition in the Gospel of St Mark (8:18) really have little in common.
No matter how much (usually poor) artists might wish it; if "the public" don't like it, it ain't art!
Potagere, then there is no art, because there is nothing that "the public", as a whole, likes.
As I said in my earlier post the "published writer" does need to communicate and it is the artist's obligation to communicate in a way that can be understood by the public. But if the public is unwilling to actively listen that is the public's choice and not the fault of the artist. A great artist might inspire the otherwise unwilling to listen, but not always. I know a lot of people that can't get through a single act of Shakespeare. By your definition, that means Willie's work "ain't art."
To say that my admitted unwillingness to actively listen to rap music negates rap as an art form would be both ethnocentric and ignorant. While I can argue all day long that it isn't art because I am part of the public and "I don't like it," someone else could justly argue that it's got rhyme, metre, and imagery and is, therefore, art. But I don't like it and I'm part of the publc so it can't be art?
I think I know where you're coming from, but your narrow definition of art doesn't make sense to me. From what you've written it seems like "art" is something you'd pack in a bag to take the beach and use as escapism only. Maybe I'm misinterpreting what you've written, but I don't understand how a reader of literature, for example, can expect to experience art or to have art communicated to them if they are unwilling to do anything beyond just reading the words on the page.
I'm going to ask you to go a bit further with that - does all of the public have to like it for it to be art? Are we making the decision of whether or not a piece is art democratic here? Or, if say, with our idyllic population of Potagere, Carrie, GardenSox, Sharran and me (and anyone else brave or foolish enough to jump in), all but one of us finds it not to our liking, is that one wrong in thinking it art?
Good art is good art. It is made in full view. P. is right when he says that it must be allowed to be viewed without obligation on the part of the viewer other than to view. When I present my essays and poems, it is with full knowledge that not all who read them will "get it". However, it is with the full knowledge that I have created a work to the best of my ability and am setting it in full view of the public. I don't 'consider' myself a poet. I am a poet, and with that knowledge, I present my poems so that even those who don't get them, have the opportunity to read them, and to comment or not to comment. Think of how much fun we would have missed out on if Potagere has simply read through and shrugged his shoulders and gone on to something else!
Er, um, Jim, not to put to fine a point on it, but take Beethoven's 9th symphony, the Ode to Joy one. It is generally considered to be one of the crowning achievements of Western Civilization, but Beethoven was stone deaf when he wrote it. Beethoven himself said something along the lines of "my music is not for this generation; it is for the future." Does it only become "art" when we later generations understand it?
I respectfully disagree. (And continue to work on my art in my garret.)
I think I'm on Potagere's side of the table.
I don't think a piece has to speak to All viewers to be valid, but that it is valid for those that find meaning, and it's not for those that don't. I think each work exists on some level for what it means to each recipient. Ode to Joy would have to be one chosen as meaningful or enjoyable to many Western listeners, but China for example, must have classic pieces which don't 'make sense' to me. I won't condemn it since I know I am lacking in understanding, . Still, must I call it art when I don't appreciate it, and must I become educated in everything in the world? I have no formal visual art training but some pieces appeal to me right away and others don't.
I apologize if I've just restated what someone else said, but I'm treading water in this 'what is art ' discussion, and trying to speak my part helps me stay afloat.
Oh well. I already stepped in this deep circle, so I might as well go for it.
I am trained in art, with a few degrees stuck back in my hall closet somewhere. In teaching, I always told my students that art is only art when it touches a soul, and it might not be art to anyone else. But it is art to that one. There are many pieces of art that do not touch my soul, and in my eons of living, I have seen a lotta art. I do a lot of commissioned pieces, for a lot of money. Sometimes to please a patron, I paint something that does not touch my soul, but the one who commissioned it loves it, and has a party where folks stand around and oooooh and ahhhhhh while I stand in a corner with my pockets full.
Doesn't really matter, does it? I made someone happy, though it was not something that I particularly liked. I enjoyed that they were happy, and delighted with a piece of "art". On the other hand, I do some things for myself, that I like. And I collect works of others that I also like. Again it boils down to diversity, which makes every heart beat a little faster.
Here's one that I do like. Doesn't matter to me if anyone else does. It still hangs on my wall. I am going to do another to hang with it, but in reverse colors. So who's to say? It's like Carrie's music, and Kathleen's poetry. It comes from the soul, and sometimes, two souls will meet and join, while two others meet and clash. Makes the world go around and spices up our lives.
My 2 cents: Art is in the eyes of the beholder! Like that guy that likes to pain 3 "boobies" (or more) on a woman with 3 eyes...his name escapes me...as does his "art"...but some like it...Give me a nice landscape where a tree is a tree!! Jo
Not to worry, carrie. I don't feel at all ganged up on. I am learning an awful lot here, as I do almost everywhere on DG! I think it has been really great to hear the voices of some of DG's authors and those of many readers/viewers of art, and to hear them together, listening and responding to one another. See what happens when you leave the garret! (Joke!)
I had a fabric piece that sold because it matched all of the paint colors the woman's daughter was putting in her new house. She didn't take it for months, waiting for the house to be finished, and finally I told the gallery owner that perhaps I needed to put it in a show that I might have elsewhere. It was out the door the next day. She tried to haggle the price a bit early on in the purchase, but when it seemed to be slipping out of her fingers she paid full price and was glad to get it. It was silk flowers and hand painted fabric quilted together with chiffon. I would have hung it in my house if it hadn't sold. It matched all my paint colors, too.
Art has always been a tricky proposition. Some you would think was known as classic in an instant, but consider Mona Lisa. DaVinci did the painting and the client refused it, saying it was too sad. DaVinci carried her with him for the rest of his life, and now, people are standing in droves to see her.
And then there are the Campbell's Soup cans of - there's a head jerker.
Potagere, you will be able to purchase cards of Sharran's work shortly after it joins the Met's collection. They put out a lovely catalog twice a year.
I know, and I'm waiting! I am a big purchaser of postcards and greeting cards at the Met and the Musee d'Orsay. So long as the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna thinks they own my Bruegels , and neither they nor the Louvre will let me "check out" the Arcimboldos, I have to rely on cards and calendars!
My favorite art, however, remains the cave paintings of Lascaux. They, of course, were never really "public", and it may be debated whether, in fact, they even had an intended audience or, if they did, whether or not that audience ever existed. I consider them, however, beautiful both in colour and in line. But those, too, I can only have on cards.
Jim, you have just become my new absolutely best friend if your favorite art is the Lascaux cave paintings. I am still trying to barter a mixed media piece from Melody...she is after all one of my former students, and I taught her all she knows.
Kathleen: Yes, you have truly done it. The longest ongoing comment thread ever made for an article. You will be praised on the pages of history. Maybe in the Smithsonian or even traveling to the Louvre.
Can we please not mention Warhol's name on a thread about art and poetry?
My opinion on art is considered "up scale" meaning that I hang my little Great Grand kids art up high on the refrigerator so I can see it!! Sometimes I can ever figure out what is is supposed to be. Jo