Songs and poems

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Postby Killiney » Sun Jun 22, 2008 3:19 pm

Hmmm. I see what you mean Phantas. But we all have different styles that we like, and I guess I'm 'stuck in a rut' :D
Behind the innocent,
the last, the least and the lost
will be found in the storm

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Postby Phantas » Sun Jun 22, 2008 7:41 pm

ehehe :lol: No offence meant ofcourse, it wasn't meant as a critique on your poetry as that would be offensive! :shock: ;)

I just figured it might help people who do poetry...I have had moments where my poetry was also lacking in depth and elegance...just one of those things really :P

Also, something I forgot to mention in my previous post, is that different words can alter a sentence or poem completely (in a good way). I know this probably sounds like utter patronizing from a non-native english speaker but it's one of those things that ppl commented me on at times or I stumbled on during my 'poetry-career' :lol:

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Postby Killiney » Sun Jun 22, 2008 7:46 pm

I wasn't taking offence, Phantas :)

I'm not very good at writing poetry, but some of the stuff I do write is good in my eyes, and I've written a few that I've not put on here, but I can't remember what ones they are :oops:

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Behind the innocent,
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will be found in the storm

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Postby A_S » Mon Jun 23, 2008 2:57 pm

Can I just add in here as well?

I definitely agree with Phantas that it is important to choose words wisely, especially in poetry, and that they can have a huge impact on the tone. To use the word light as an example, consider how "brilliance" has a completely different connotation from "gleam", for example. It would be a waste not to utilise vocabulary that was charged with meaning, like those two examples are, and to always stick with the simple word, like "light" in this example.

However, in the context of Killiney's poem, the repeptition he uses I think serves a purpose. It links all of the stanzas and keeps the poem direct. And I think that in this case it is ok to use a simple word like "light" rather than a more elaborate synonym because the poem itself seems to be meant to read in a simple, straight-forward way. That is not to say that there are not spots where a different word would bring some welcome variety, only that the repetition was used with a purpose.

So, basically, I'd just like to point out that there is so much to consider with language, and that sometimes, in a specific instance it is better to use a simple word than a rich one. It all depends. There is just so much to consider with poetry, and it is deceptively simple when you read it. :lol:

Oh, and I do not mean to criticise either of you with these comments, only to continue the discussion of poetry and technique and all. Although I'm sure that both of you already knew that. 8)

And Phantas, reading your poetry one can hardly tell that you are not a native English speaker. Honestly, you put someone like me to shame! :lol:
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Postby Killiney » Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:06 pm

certain words develop sertain textures in poems, and some poems need not use complex wording as it would give the wrong feeling to the poem, others are written with repetition, like a lot of the poems I studied for my GCSEs in English, the poems had the same image repeated over and over again, and some that we weren't studying that I read were beautiful with the repetition of words, it created a lovely texture, like 'Search My Tongue', I forget by which poet it was by, but she created a beautiful mindscape with her imagery, and the subtle repetition :)
Behind the innocent,
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Postby Phantas » Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:58 pm

I'm probably bad for saying this, but I was never good at reading poetry (still ain't) and the workings behind it. As my native language is Dutch, it just didn't interest me at the time, and to be fairly honest, it still doesn't. My own poetry comes from how I feel, what I think of, images, words, music, sounds...all these inspire me to write. In whatever form or style.

That said, I am always reluctant to say anything on poems as they are usually and mostly personal, meaning, that everyone puts so much of themselves into it regardless of anything else.

Nevertheless I thought I'd bring it up because on various forums I visit I have witnessed poetry, especially with (presumably) younger folk (read: teens most likely) that just went on and on, in dreadful language and without any form or style that was worth reading IMHO.

It could have a lot of feeling and meaning to that particular person, but the poems were dreadful to read - no rhyme mostly, lots of choppy sentences, like reading prose instead of poetry with regards to the amount of 'tell vs show' / explaining they did.

I try not to explain too much in a poem - just let something be unsaid, which makes a poem stronger IMHO, though some poems tend to be simple in setup, and need no vagueness, although I do like my poems vaguer than most :mrgreen:

And thanks A_S! I have often noticed, also in my work environment, that native english speakers don't seem to care about their own language in normal writing....it's ghastly to see :shock: I probably do the same in Dutch but I try to correct myself most of the time :P

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Postby Killiney » Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:01 pm

Phantas, you're not bad for saying that. In some ways, I agree with what you've said.
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Postby A_S » Wed Jun 25, 2008 12:08 pm

It's interesting to me that you don't read a ton of poetry, Phantas. I guess I would have expected that you would have since you seem to like to write it and really care about writing quality poems. So you prefer to learn by writing yourself, rather than looking at how the "greats" have done it?

About vagueness. Any tips on keeping things a little vague but not so much that when you yourself can't tell what the poem is about when you look back on it? That has happened to me a few times. I had no idea what I had been trying to write about!
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Postby Phantas » Wed Jun 25, 2008 3:29 pm

A_S wrote:It's interesting to me that you don't read a ton of poetry, Phantas. I guess I would have expected that you would have since you seem to like to write it and really care about writing quality poems. So you prefer to learn by writing yourself, rather than looking at how the "greats" have done it?

About vagueness. Any tips on keeping things a little vague but not so much that when you yourself can't tell what the poem is about when you look back on it? That has happened to me a few times. I had no idea what I had been trying to write about!


Yeah - I don't understand it myself - though I think it's more about taking the time to actually sit down and read - I just don't do that for some reason :P Call me nuts if you will LOL!

About vagueness - it happened to me only once or twice, that I had written a poem, loved it completely, then when I read it again later I couldn't really grasp what it was exactly about. I guess, that you have to keep some key elements in the poem which stand out at a later reading...it can vary with each poem I think, and also, if you can capture the emotion completely, it won't be vague when you read it again.
Did that make sense? Even if you don't know the key elements beforehand, it can work. You just have to focus completely on the poem, on the emotion you want to convey but not making it blatantly visible for everyone to see...it's hard to explain vagueness LOL!

There are always some words, or particularly phrased sentences that will trigger - I guess it's that which makes even a seemingly vague poem a good one. One that has some key phrases/sentences in it which will capture the emotion in words that do not give the clue away so to say.

Like writing about love, simply writing 'I Love You' would seem too easy, but writing something more along the lines of 'You and I/bonded together/forever enchanted/by each other's hearts' already sounds much better and still conveys the same emotion IMHO. Ofcourse this one is a simple one, and you can take it further, deeper or embroider it more. :)

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Postby Garbo » Sun Jun 29, 2008 4:27 pm

:lol: You guys act like you're little poetry scholars. Sometimes using the same word over and over again is a really good literary device (i.e. redundancy, tautology, or pleonasm). Unless your name is John Donne or Andrew Marvel or John Milton or Vergil, maybe keep the criticism to yourself and just not read something if you don't like it.

Everyone has their voice and we should respect that, shouldn't we? Sometimes it's a little hard to find your voice (or you fight finding it), but constantly being told something is wrong is not going to help.

And since I AM the author of this thread, I won't allow it. Post your poetry and compliment each other for doing a job well done, but the constant harping just because of your own personal bias will result in me requesting this thread to be shut down. We're not in a graduate seminar on poetic function and form.

As far as vagueness, it is something to be developed as you develop as a writer. Of course, some people find that it is not congruent with their style and that ends up fine.

Talk about vague...


Thrice around and thrice behold
The lovers scantily clad in the throes
Diadems and seraphims
O lovers mourn life's death
They sing 'round, they sing below
The earth swallows them whole
And spews out forth her wretched guts
As the bodies mangled be

Elfin dreams and elfin fantasies
Lovers are caught in the throngs
Of hasty love making
They sing their tunes, they sing their songs
'round and below
And the earth gathers them whole
And their blood is the streams
And their livers may be
And the godless souls eat their flesh
As the earth swallows them whole
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Postby A_S » Mon Jun 30, 2008 1:47 pm

I don't think any of the "criticism" in this thread is meant to be taken as an insult to one's abilities or anything. It is merely a genuine attempt to respond to the poetry people have posted and offer feedback in the most helpful way possible. By saying that it might be good to look at word choice, for example, one is not implying that they do not like your poem as it is, only that in some cases thinking about different language might help. It's all about getting new perspectives on the poems that people have written, not about finding fault with them. And it seems that every comment here has been written with respect for the author of the poem and is not meant to be taken as criticism. So, quite honestly, I don't see the issue with commenting on someone's poem and offering a suggestion. Isn't that more helpful than blindly offering compliments? If someone doesn't like a poem at all, he won't bother to offer feedback. The gesture of repsonding alone shows respect for the author and confidence that the author can handle feedback that goes beyond the simple compliments. I had a teacher who once said that if he offered criticism, it meant that you were a strong enough person and writer to handle it, whereas if he only responded with compliments he had his doubts about that. So everyone in that class was clamoring to get some constructive feedback from him! :lol: So, anyway, I definitely understand that there is a difference between this thread and an English class, but I still think that we shouldn't leave our abilities to respond to and think critically about literature behind in academia. As long as feedback is given kindly and with respect for the author (since everything is ultimately their decision and the poem is often very personal), it can be helpful if only because it offers another perspective on the poems posted here.

I do see how that can get out of hand, though. It's probably best to create a balance between constructive feedback and positive comments, because otherwise it can get too heavy. Like, this post so far I think is a bit heavy... :lol: So, you know, take it for what it is and don't take anything personally. :)

I liked that poem you wrote, Garbo. It was indeed vague, but I think that you used enough specific terms (swallows, etc.) that it was easier to follow than, say, the one I wrote that I couldn't decipher any meaning in a few months later. It reminded me of that painting that is in some castle in France about what would befall people who were taken in by lust. It showed three panels (I think), one of the guilty parties on earth and two with them suffering in Hell. It was medieval. Fantastic description, I know. Am I getting it at all?

Also, question for non-native English speakers. Phantas was saying that Dutch "didn't interest him." So, I was wondering if most of you write in your native language or if you write in English, and if English is a comparatively good language for poetry (which I've wondered since it's the only language I am fluent in).

I think I'm probably outstaying my welcome with this lengthy post, so I'll stop now! :lol:
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Postby Garbo » Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:12 pm

Your reply is lovely. :) So don't think you're outstaying your welcome.

This isn't a constructive criticism thread; we don't post poetry to have others say "Oh that's wrong" because technically anymore today there is no right and wrong in poetry. This is a place to post our poetry or songs and to have others enjoy them. And no, not everyone is going to like everyone's poetry, but not everyone likes John Donne (who I'm studying).

I think if someone wants feedback than they can ask and only if they ask. Although I would prefer to see actual scholars giving feedback, but whatever. I only give feedback to students and those who hire me to give feedback- sorry. I'm only willing to enjoy this thread and those attempting to write (myself included).

By the way, I should point out that I am not angry or upset (just in case anyone infers that), but I study all of the time and many of my professors can sit down and read and not critique and just enjoy- that's kind of what this thread was supposed to be.

Like reading poetry, drinking brandy, and smoking a pipe. ;) Yes, a little lounge of sorts- that was my intention. :D

As far as "vagueness"; most of what I write refers to other literary works, authors, etc.
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Postby A_S » Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:14 pm

Yes, Garbo, I have noticed that a lot of your poems do have literary references in them, or totally revolve around literary works. I think that's really cool, since I tend to prefer that sort of stuff myself and if you look at classic works or mythology you find such a rich body of work in which there seems to be a perfect reference for every situation. And it ties in really well with your studies/career goals, doesn't it. Quite cool.

About constructive feedback, I think that you are right about offering it only when it's requested, and yeah, I should have mentioned that in my response. As for scholars being the best for giving feedback, perhaps, but, you know, they're in short supply and responses from average people can also be useful, especially since average people make up a typical audience for poetry.

My main point is that it might not be in the right spirit to have this thread be totally free of any feedback besides praise, since that really can be valuable. As for there being no right way, obviously that's correct, and so all feedback should be read and written with that in mind. I think most people here know that anyway. But then I do see whay you are saying when you say that the whole point is to enjoy poetry, not to pick it apart. That's what classes are for.

Perhaps the right avenue by which to marry the two is simply to respond to what's written (This poem makes me think of..., I think this is about..., etc.). This lets the author know how well their message is interpreted while not making anyone feel like their work is being looked down upon. What do you think of that route?
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Postby Phantas » Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:24 pm

hmmm...good point Garbo - seems like we'll need a seperate thread then for anything to do with writing poetry , like trying out new ideas and such and for others to offer constructive feedback, be the scholars or no.

I have been reluctant to say something about the poems written, and when I did it was still hesitant. I do find it hard to say anything about poems, as it is often, as A_S said, personal, and that person has a certain idea or thought or vision behind it.

Then again, sometimes I can be as blunt as a rock, so you'll have to excuse me if I do :P It's probably to do with the inability of myself to explain.

Please - post away! :) Maybe sometime in the next few days that second thread will pop up - I don't know if I'll have the time to do it myself, but anyone who's willing and able can take the honours for it. I do nto often lounge, and then hardly with poetry. I'd like my words, my sentences, my rhymes, to actually stir something in someone and for that person to speak freely, also about things they don't like or perhaps can improve!

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Postby Garbo » Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:30 pm

A_S wrote:Yes, Garbo, I have noticed that a lot of your poems do have literary references in them, or totally revolve around literary works. I think that's really cool, since I tend to prefer that sort of stuff myself and if you look at classic works or mythology you find such a rich body of work in which there seems to be a perfect reference for every situation. And it ties in really well with your studies/career goals, doesn't it. Quite cool.

About constructive feedback, I think that you are right about offering it only when it's requested, and yeah, I should have mentioned that in my response. As for scholars being the best for giving feedback, perhaps, but, you know, they're in short supply and responses from average people can also be useful, especially since average people make up a typical audience for poetry.

My main point is that it might not be in the right spirit to have this thread be totally free of any feedback besides praise, since that really can be valuable. As for there being no right way, obviously that's correct, and so all feedback should be read and written with that in mind. I think most people here know that anyway. But then I do see whay you are saying when you say that the whole point is to enjoy poetry, not to pick it apart. That's what classes are for.

Perhaps the right avenue by which to marry the two is simply to respond to what's written (This poem makes me think of..., I think this is about..., etc.). This lets the author know how well their message is interpreted while not making anyone feel like their work is being looked down upon. What do you think of that route?


Make it Poetry 101. ;)

I'm not against the criticism, but ONLY if someone requests it.

Should that be the rule?
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