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SERIOUS POETRY - Sidney Beck's Blog

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Blog Posted:7/2/2012 1:41:00 AM
Serious poetry

This is something I am interested in, and plenty of other members of the Soup also share my concern. For example Debbie says every time she takes a stance on serious poetry someone says they are sick of all this serious stuff, and let’s write something stupid for a change. Trouble is, in my view, there are already enough stupid poems to fill a bathtub. There are many good poets writing on our electro-pages, especially about ten or twenty whom everyone recognizes as being outstandingly excellent. And there is an awful lot of good poetry on the Soup. But there is also a lot of bad stuff……God knows I’ve written some dreadful drivel myself.

We surely must all agree that poetry needs a poetic vehicle, otherwise we are writing doggerel. So why do writers insist that they “do not know’ the form of their work. It’s like entering the Olympics, but not knowing what event you are in - high jump or discus or swimming? How can anyone judge such an entrant? Just put your work down as free verse and we may be able to see what you intended.

Apart from not knowing the form of a poem, it bugs the hell out of me when I see

( a) Bad spelling where good spelling is intended. Oh sure, sometimes a poem deals in a humorous way with bad spelling, or maybe uses “errors” as puns, etc. But where the poet obviously sets out to be well-spelled, and clearly fails, this is unacceptable.   Holy mackerel ! Ever heard of Spellcheck?

( b) Sloppy grammar where good grammar is intended….if you’re not sure, check your stuff with a textbook on grammar or ask someone who knows grammar

( c ) Non-rhyme where rhyme is intended……”flea” rhymes with “sea” and “see”, but obviously not with “idea”. If you can’t rhyme properly, then don’t use rhyme. Try using Soup’s rhyme facility

( d ) Poetry which looks like this

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

            Wants              an

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Oh sure, people can argue all day long about why the word “icecream” is capitalized and vertical; or the deeper meaning of why the word “wants” has an initial capital, whereas the word “an” has none. And so on. To me, it resembles the situation in art galleries where an exhibit is simply a canvas with black paint slopped on and ridden over with a bicycle tyre, or another exhibit is just a green line drawn horizontally across an old newspaper. I’m sorry but I call a spade a spade, and this is nonsense, pretentious nonsense. It simply is not poetry. Perhaps for such poems we should have another poetry category below “I do not know” - there should be a category of “Garbage”

That’s my ten cents.

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  1. Date: 7/10/2012 2:02:00 AM
    near rhyme is a MUCH more sophisticated writing tool and far less boring than the sing songing end rhyme...and for me shows an advance in the poets skill

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  1. Date: 7/10/2012 2:00:00 AM
    lol ohhhh my Syd you gonna git urself in BIG trouble man's garbage is another man's son won't let go of his holey clothes because he says they hold his memories!!!

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  1. Date: 7/3/2012 1:44:00 PM
    oops, that was- experience

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  1. Date: 7/3/2012 1:43:00 PM
    Good spelling and grammar is what should be strived for. People do make mistakes and not everyone has the same level of education. That does not mean they do not have the ability to be poetic. Rather than admonish those, why not offer a helping hand. If a poem is marked "I don't know" and perhaps you "do know" be kind and send them a message. Negativity begets negativity, Try being positive. I think the soup is a wonderful place where people from all levels of expericene and all walks of life can share in their love of poetry. And that is my two cents worth.

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  1. Date: 7/3/2012 8:23:00 AM
    i don't really understand when someone says "don't know" for the type of poem, but it doesn't bother me as much as when people claim a poem is a limerick or haiku and it isn't. i'm also a stickler for rhyme and to me, near-rhyme just doesn't cut it (although i know that even famous writers often use words that are close to rhyming but really aren't). as far as spelling and grammar, i'm with you - it isn't that hard to check if you're not sure of something. although content is more important than spelling or grammar, when i'm buying clothes, i expect the seams to be sewn correctly, just as i expect a poem to be written correctly. i guess that's what comes from being an english teacher!

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  1. Date: 7/3/2012 2:49:00 AM
    When I first joined the soup, I could only write one form of poetry. Now I am able to write six and someone had to help me out with one. I get your point but not everyone understands the different forms and not everyone is a native speaker of English. And some poets are just teens! And many are beginners. We all started somewhere and for some that place is 'I do not know". Live and let live.

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  1. Date: 7/3/2012 12:31:00 AM
    One thing I think worth leaning on the soup about is putting a maximum daily limit of say 8 or 10 poems on the soup in any 24 hour period. Does anyone see a downside to this? It seems there has always been two or three who will post 25 to 30 poems daily in a heartbeat. We could have soup give the newbie a bye for say the first month in order to get all their poems on. What do you think?

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  1. Date: 7/3/2012 12:20:00 AM
    There is one person on the soup who puts on maybe 20 or so poems when I happen to be scanning down the page. I have stopped several times to see what kind of writes he is making and I tell you it is shocking. Most poems are short -5 or 6 words to a line and maybe 7 or 8 lines. I couldn't even decifer them until they got down to 5 or 6 spelling or grammar mistakes. At times I felt he has to be ultra stupid or intentionally doing this. I very gently suggested that he may get more response to his writes if he simply would use a spell checker. After maybe six months I checked back and the same old thing. But, then I got to thinking maybe there IS a reason why he has to write this way. Maybe he doesn't relate to a spell checker. So, I just pass it off as something this guy loves to do for whatever reason, and he didn't make me read his stuff. Obviously he is getting atta boys from somewhere. So, now I just say 'have at it fella' and wish my poem had stayed up just a little longer

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  1. Date: 7/2/2012 11:46:00 AM
    I love you, Frank! : )

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  1. Date: 7/2/2012 11:42:00 AM
    I agree with some of this. As poets I think we should respect our own art. On the other we should also respect others by leaving constructive comments or none at all. I miss Lulu there poets would point out how I could improve my work by giving alternative ideas or better words. On PS people seem afraid to do this.

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  1. Date: 7/2/2012 11:28:00 AM
    What about constructive criticism? : ) The easy insult leaves us in the same place. What is this? A contest on rudeness? Intolerance on both sides? We must respect contrary opinions. Me dont like it. : )

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  1. Date: 7/2/2012 11:05:00 AM
    Frank, blogs are for stating opinions, are they not? If that makes me an asshole, so be it. But by your own definition, it makes you one too ;)

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  1. Date: 7/2/2012 10:03:00 AM
    Perhaps, since you are so unhappy with this site, you should start your own site or find one more suited to you. No one is making you stay here or read bad poetry.

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  1. Date: 7/2/2012 9:48:00 AM
    Yes and No! : ) Although I keep checking my "spelling" I dont really care about mispellings when I'm reading a poem, it's not a big can be fixed! Now, if the poem is a complete nonsense(I've written very good examples!) ... there IS a problem. However... who cares?... we can roll our eyes and leave THAT poem where we found it. We also can learn from their mistakes... (or what we think is a mistake)... I dont understand the "I dont know" form...but perhaps these writers want to state that they "dont care about forms"...Live and let them live...Write and let them write...Peace and Love. Ruben.

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  1. Date: 7/2/2012 8:22:00 AM
    I'm not giving you back any change for your ten cents worth... lol....PD

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  1. Date: 7/2/2012 7:57:00 AM
    Rude and NOT very WELCOMING blogg, Sidney. - Anne-Lise

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  1. Date: 7/2/2012 7:52:00 AM
    Arlid, I'm with you... My poetry has grown here on the soup... To tell you the truth I'm still growing with the soup.. If it was not for the good the bad and the ugly... this place would have no balance... It is one thing to be bad at poetry and another to have a bad perception about half the poets here... get my drift... xox~PD

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  1. Date: 7/2/2012 6:52:00 AM
    In my opinion,using the "I Don`t Know" form,in a way invites other writers/members to give their advices,accistance etc.After all this should be a learning place for newbies,as well as for veterans.I also know a few members,(included in my own family) which are dyslexic.Folks who has a really hard time with puzzling words together.Most of us learn a little here and there everyday on the Soup,about forms,spellings and this and that there`s to it.If I registered on the Soup today,and saw a blog like this,I`ld be out of here before I even had posted a single word/poem.Hopefully,there`s not too many bad spellings in this comment.Who knows,it might end up in the garbage..Live and let live,if you don`t like what you read,move to next one.

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  1. Date: 7/2/2012 6:37:00 AM
    Hi Sidney, interesting blog, direct and honest, which I always appreciate. I do believe it is important to realize that the soup poets are all ages and are at various stages of their writing development. Some have only begun their poetic journey, and it is understandable that perhaps they choose to keep their poetry 'lite', free of deeper meaning or heavy thoughts. I see nothing wrong with a poet using I do not know... perhaps it doesn't easily fit into a category. Perhaps, the poet wants to know what he/she has written and perhaps they do not care, sense it has no relevance to what he/she has created. About, rhyme, there is rhyme, near rhyme, feminine rhyme, masculine rhyme, assonance and "EYE" rhyme (as well as a hundred other nuances) and many poets have used these devices well--- take Emily Dickenson, who was ridiculed in her time for doing so, but is held in high esteem now for her innovative, fresh approach to poetry. I plan on writing a device blog on rhyme... as there seems to be some confusion on the subject here on soup. PERFECT rhyme can be dull, expected and show a poetic immaturity. The sophisticated poet uses all forms of rhyme, in my opinion. Now, I LOVE your poetry. I also appreciate many of the styles of poetry here on soup and have experimented with them. I enjoy reading poetry now published in journals, their individuality and freedom from constraint. They are created for enjoyment, thought, emotional pathway and do not exist for the mere purpose of being able to be simply identified as a form. HUGS!

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  1. Date: 7/2/2012 2:13:00 AM
    Sidney, oh how I agree with you, particularly about form, One of my writing groups has a handful of 'poets' who have absolutely no idea of form..and I love your art analogy with how some poems are 'set' out, but each to his own, I do struggle to read some poems that are set out as you describe....

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My Past Blog Posts

Date Posted: 7/2/2012 1:41:00 AM
no soupmail possible with some poets...why?
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Date Posted: 12/29/2011 10:12:00 AM
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Date Posted: 12/28/2011 2:29:00 PM
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Date Posted: 12/27/2011 10:36:00 AM
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Date Posted: 12/26/2011 10:58:00 AM
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Date Posted: 12/25/2011 5:57:00 AM
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Date Posted: 12/24/2011 1:43:00 PM
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Date Posted: 12/11/2011 10:55:00 AM
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