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Poetry Forum. A poetry forum dedicated strictly to poetry. Poets can use this poetry forum for poetry workshops, sharing poetic techniques, discussing aspects of poetry, poetry publishing, and the poetry industry. Poetry forum members can enter poetry contests, post poems, and participate in the #1 poetry community on the internet.

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Recent posts
3/28/2015 4:17:20 PM
New here, so, Hello

Florin Andronic
Posts: 1
Hello everyone!
3/27/2015 11:04:33 AM
Im new here. Small poem.

Posts: 1
Well there's music to to this, but it works just as well without.
I hope you enjoy it. Any feedback would be most welcome.

One Small Victory

Living the dream with bouts of insomnia
Struggling with unfair demands of good faith
Strength of the absurd I've heard they're on to you
And with the intrinsic value of clay

White flags waving over your winter chimneys
Accepting defeat with no loss of face
Don't waste breath on speech, you know what the truth is
And carry yourself with auspicious grace

With both of us wrong were I to agree
You'll grant me this one, this one small victory

Wake up a stranger in the land of promise
Y'get back n'find that not so much has changed
Mornings glory was anything but honest
Tidy trap in a decorative frame

Living the dream with bouts of insomnia
Struggling with unfair demands of good faith
With both of us wrong were I to agree
You'll grant me this one small, small victory
3/26/2015 8:23:06 AM

Jae Arlique
Posts: 1
My name is Jae and I hadn't written any poetry since I was in elementary. The most I would write was in my journal, but it wasn't as cathartic as it used to be. I actually came across this site by accident. It has been a great way to express myself and I look forward to logging in. (And I'm usually sad, so having something to look forward to is good). The other writers are so nice and insightful. I still don't believe I'm a poet or anything but I feel like I'm amongst kindred spirits. So thankyou
3/24/2015 8:03:54 PM
Let me know what you think.

Ron Price
Posts: 3
I have had to deal with bipolar disorder all my life. I am now 70 and I use poetry as a coping device and simply to express what I want to do in writing. That is what you are doing and try not to worry about the details of your writing. Let the thoughts flow into print as you have done. If you find you want to express whatever it is better then write the poem again. Here is a piece I wrote about another poet. You may find this useful.-Ron Price, Australia


Part 1:

Laura (Riding) Jackson(1901-1991) was an American poet, critic, novelist, essayist and short story writer whom I came to know about in the first years of myretirement after a 50 year student-and-paid-employment life: 1949 to 1999. In 1938 W.H. Auden called her "the only livingphilosophical poet, and in 1939 another American poet, Robert Fitzgerald,expressed the hope that with the 1938 publication of her Collected Poems, "theauthority and the dignity of truth-telling, lost by poetry to science, maygradually be regained."1

For the last two days I have spent manyhours reading about this most philosophical of poets who has come onto theradar of many writers and poets since the early 1990s, partly due to theextensive publicationof her work which has continued since her death in 1991. I began reading and writing poetry seriously, myself, in theearly 1990s. I first heard of Laura Riding back in the 1990s, but time andcircumstance, responsibilities and health issues, prevented me from taking aserious look at her life and work.

Part 1.1:

Jack Blackmore, in a paper given at The Laura (Riding) Jackson Conference in 2010 expressed the view that: "There are affinities between Riding,Coleridge, and William Blake. There is a common optimism and conviction: that one’s self, one self, through the most intense scrutiny of and engagement with language and life, can take the measure of the universe."2Blackmore included the following quotation from Coleridge to support that poet's affinity with Riding: "The Poet is not only the man who is made to solve the riddle of the Universe, but he is also the man who feels where it is not solved and this continually awakens his feelings …"-Coleridge, Lecture on Poetry, 12 December 1811.

Blackmore went on to say that "more than any poet in recent times Laura Riding conceived of her poems as a whole work, a universe."2 And so,too, do I in relation to what has become a vast corpus, a very large personal oeuvre. There are many aspects of Riding's philosophy of poetry, her view of writing, literature and life that provide parallels with my own way of goingabout my literary enterprise. It is for this reason that I write this prose-poetic piece.

Part 2:

Even in her earliest days as a poet inthe 1920s, she felt that literature offered opportunity for the interpretationof individual experience as a contribution to the realisation of the highestaspirations of human existence.2 Herlifelong quest was for a way of right living, based on right speaking.

Thoughserious in her dedication to finding solutions to the problems of humanexistence, she refused to be aligned with any 'isms,' insisting that humanbeings should abjure what is divisive and temporal and concentrate theirefforts toward communicating to one another the innate spiritual knowledge thatis their human legacy.1

To put this another way, "for thispoet nothing but heart-felt meaning finally matters.’3 I came to anappreciation of literature in a much different way than Riding. The socialsciences took my attention until my 30s; literature, both prose and poetry,made intellectual inroads into my life-narrative by degrees in my 30s and 40s.By my 50s my academic and literary agenda was packed-to-the-rafters in amultidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, headset and mindscape, panorama andprospect.

In the 1920s Riding wrote about what shecalled "a new race of poets...rough-edged and stalwart beings, pioneersequipped for both static ecstasy and the ability to progress into unexploredterritory, possessing an extreme idealism,the belief in organic growth and an inner core of necessary meaning."4She saw the poetic enterprise, at least for most of the years in the 1920s and1930s, as a collaborative and pleasurable activity requiring fellow poets toadjust their interests to central themes and a unity of values, to sacrificetheir individuality to a pervasive and unifying totality of poetic meaning.
These words had particular resonance forme since it was in the 1920s and 1930s that the first pioneers arose inresponse to Abdul-Baha's teaching Plan as outlined in His Tablets of the Divine Plan written during the Great War. This was a Plan I have come to be associatedwith for more than 60 years of my life. The entredeux guerres generation, sometimes known as the silent generation from themid-20s to the early 1940s, was the first generation of pioneers to take partin that Plan. In the 1960s I became part of what was the third generation ofpioneers. These words of Riding's were more than a little apt as a descriptor of"the new race of men" called forth in the Baha'i community to putthat Plan into action. In the 1990s, after the death of Riding, I became one ofthat "new race of poets." Or so I liked to think. I thank Riding forhelping me gain a helpful, a quite personally meaningful perspective onliterature in general, poetry in particular, and especially the literaryhistory of the last century.

Part 2.1:

Riding felt that poets were, byconstitution and inclination, fragmented in a multitude of contrasting selves whopresent at any one time only a temporary approximation of meaning, and only atemporary but often, if not always, an unstable coordination of selves.5 The older I have got, and particularlyas I got into my 60s and 70s, the more I became aware of the nature of theconstitution that has carried me through life and the inclinations that havedetermined so much of what has happened to me; these contrasting, thesefractured, and only partly coordinated selves have certainly been characterizedby the temporary in relation to all sorts of activities and an evolving meaningstructure in my life.

From the late 1920s to 1940 Ridingworked closely in a fertile but volatile relationship with the prolific English poet, novelist,critic, and classicist RobertGraves(1895-1985). He had his own views of writing prose and poetry. He saw the writing of poetry, among otherthings, as "a complex experience in which the poet must always drag aboutthe dead load of sense with him."5 These two poets collaboratedin varying degrees of intensity and success for two decades.

Part 3:

There was what Ridingcalled in her Collected Poems of 1938: “an uncovering of truth in writingpoetry, a truth of so fundamental and general a kind that no other name besidespoetry is adequate except truth?”5 In that same 1938 preface to her Collected Poems she wrote,“One reads to uncover to oneself something that would otherwise remainunknown—something that one feels it is important to know”5

"The goal of poetry to Riding," wroteAndrea Rexilius in her analysis of Riding's work, "is to reach the edge ofour capacity to know ourselves, to lean as far outside of the body as ispossible without collapsing in on the self. Poetry is a telescope, or amicroscope, that focuses awareness of the body, and through the body focuses anawareness on self, not an individual self, but the 'self-ness of being',perhaps even a selflessness, a nothingness."6

Part 3:

There had developed inthe 20th century, Riding observed, a distinction between audiences which on theone hand wanted their poetry real and grounded in the vernacular, so to speak,and on the other audiences which wanted poetry to be a transcendent practice oftruth-telling, but in a different, a more elevated and unreal musical register.Riding came to the view before WW2 that both poetic registers or styles wereexamples of truth-telling. Keeping poetry colloquially real and grounded in thevernacular was one type of truth-telling. This type involved ordinary men and women writing ordinary messages tothe world. Words defined the essence of poetry, and its subject matter was justordinary life; the emphasis was on meaning rather than a poetic artifice oflanguage.

Part 3.1:

When just 61, in April1962, Laura did a reading for the BBC. The reading involved her first formaland public statement of her reasons for renouncing poetry. She rejected, orrenounced, poetry for many reasons; she came to see most of it as artifice, andartifice compromised truth-telling which she had previously seen as the majorfunction of poetry. I was but 18, whenRiding made this statement on the BBC. I was in the last months of my high schoollife, the last months of my adolescent baseball, hockey and football careers,and the first months of my romantic-erotic life. This was just before I left my home town and beforeI began my travelling-pioneering days for and in the Canadian Baha'i community;it was also just before the first signs of bipolar I disorder were apparent inmy psycho-social life. Theroller-coaster of my emotional life gradually settled-down by degrees and, bymy 50s and 60s, it had settled-down sufficiently for me to engage in aliterary-writing life. As I look back from the perspective of my 70s, I see theimproved treatments for my mental-health issues, as an important factor inhelping me develop my poetic, my literary, sensibility.

Part 4:

Riding came to seetruth-telling as essentially a biographical process involving the finding andrefining of her “real voice.” This realvoice was found in her Brooklyn background; she came to feel by degreesthroughout the 1940s and 1950s that, when she had previously written poetry, shehad been putting-on an exaggerated voice; this voice was a substitution for whatshe came to see as her real voice, a voice expressed in her bio-social,bio-psychological, life and in her Polish-Jewish Brooklynese.
Riding continuedthroughout her life to explore what she regarded as the truth-potential oflanguage, free from any of the artificial restrictions of poetic art. "Myfaith in poetry was at heart, and in the long run, a faith in language as theelementary wisdom", she wrote in 1976.5 I was just starting my three year stint at theUniversity of Ballarat as a lecturer in the social sciences, and in theBallarat Baha'i community as its chairman and secretary. My only son was alsoborn during this time. I was, then, in my early 30s, and still battling withepisodes of BPD. I knew nothing of Riding in the 1970s. I had not really begunto seriously engage in either studying poetry or writing it.

Part 4.1:

Riding came to feelthat poetry disappoints its readers because “all is suffused with the light of drabpoetic secularity.” She also questioned poetryas a craft because it was nearly always rooted in individualism’s “claim toself-sufficiency." "Is that all there is?", she asks. "Poetsare just like Santa’s helpers tinkering with their toy-poems and constantlytalking about 'process' as the 'natural and legitimate' concern of the poet.” Her final apprehension of the flawed nature of poetic utterancecame as the result of an arduous intellectual journey that spanned at least twodecades,1 the two decades that were my life, from the time myparents met in about 1940, until the early '60s when I began mytravelling-and-pioneering for the Canadian Baha'i community.

In the 1960s and 1970sRiding's poetry became too abstract, too intellectual, too based in ideas formany poets and critics. “If your centralmotive as a writer is to put across ideas,” the American short story writer and essayist Steve Almond(1966-) stated, “write an essay.” The novelistand critic Stephen Koch warned that poets should not be too intellectual. The result of these views among themany views of others, Riding thought, was that knowledge had been prettymuch removed from poetry. Poetry wassidelined into creative writing departments at universities. Stickingpoetry into creative writing departments was part of Riding’s critique of muchof modern poetry. Poets who focus heavilyon craft-making, and who court verbal sensuosity at the expense of truth-telling,these are the poets in the creative writing departments.3

Part 5:

In 1995, four years after her passing, andfours year before my early retirement, my sea-change, after a student-and-paid-employment-lifeof 50 years: 1949 to 1999, the followingwords of Riding's were found in the London Review of Books:7

"Another way of describing my pointof view is to say that I am trying to function in the field of human criticismrather than in that of literary criticism......During my career as a poet Ibecame increasingly an advocate of poetry." In the final stages of herpoetic career which had ended by the 1940s, she claimed and she believed that "poetrywas the way of truth, and to truth, the ‘of’ and the ‘to’ being mingled in mymind in a fond hope that somewhere along the way approach would turn intoarrival."

"Lest my use of ‘truth’ in the precedingsentence throws a religious mist over my meaning, let me recast my phrasing: Ibelieved that poetry was the way of speaking true and the way to speaking true,both a path of the ideal in language and a place of its realisation. Thisdouble focus was the result of my not having a categorically literaryconception of poetry."

Riding came eventually to believe,certainly by the 1960s if not well before, that "there was somethingineradicably wrong with the activity of poetry, and that this was reflected inpoetry, the matter, as I call it. I arrived at this belief not from disapprovalof the cultivation of extraordinary linguistic powers to which poets areprofessionally dedicated, not with any priggish bias towards the plain-ordinaryverbal level, but in the persuasion that poetry involves a distortion of anatural human ambition of linguistic self-fulfilment, and that poets deludethemselves into feeling that they attain a verbal serene above the murk ofcommonplace articulateness, and that they obstruct the general vision of humanlinguistic potentialities with the appearance of doing so."8

Part 5.1:

"As a poet,"wrote Riding, "I am a participant in a worldly epic in which significancecan be found in living and dying, together with everything and everyoneelse. My higher self deals with thisepic. Everyday language and discourse was just so much social rhythmicclutter." "Poetry," she wrote in 1962, "is not the naturalspiritual speech of human beings....she called this kind of speech in poetry"linguistically freakish."

"In the ordinary way of speaking,and the ordinary way of writing, called ‘prose’, which is modelled on thisordinariness, there is an obvious murkiness; the ‘good’ speaker or prose-writeris one who is able to keep this murkiness minimal. In the poetic way of writing, which is at oncea non-ordinary way of speaking, there is no escape from murkiness, but suchmurkiness is concealable; the ‘good’ poet is one who keeps this murkiness soinconspicuous that it makes no overt problem for his or her or anybody else’sintelligence."

Part 6:

Riding wrote that herconcern above all was to “the conduct of life itself.” The poet is called upon toremind people what the universe really looks and feels like. This is thefunction of the language of the poet; this is what language means: the poet mustuse language in a fresh way or even invent new language. As the poet reads orwrites, the audience-readers, ideally, become the poet, and the poet theaudience. They are all suddenly one. Here the reader touchesthe poet and vice versa.9
"Much of the magical effect thatpoetry gives of rendering everything it touches pellucid comes from thenecessity of compression that it imposes. The impossibility of pausing inpoetry, except in order to make sense and clarity, causes many a set of wordsactually deficient in linguistic workmanship to pass for an eloquent brevity.-RonPrice with thanks to:1Elizabeth Friedmann in the preface of A Mannered Grace: The Lifeof Laura (Riding) Jackson, Persea Books, Inc., 2005; 2Jack Blackmore in apaper given at The Laura (Riding) Jackson Conference in 2010; 3 Introductionto A Selection of the Poems of Laura Riding, 1994, p3; 4Carla Billitteri, "Riding-Graves: The Meaning of Collaboration", internetsite; 5Laura Riding, Collected Works, 1938, Preface; 6Andrea Rexilius, "Laura (Riding) Jackson: Against theCommodity of the Poem (part 1), essays, features', Nottingham Trent University, 22/2/'14; 7Laura Riding, "The Road To, In, And Away From,Poetry", Reader, p. 251; 8Laura Riding "ThePromise of Words" in the London Review of Books(Vol. 17, No. 17, 7September 1995), and 9Benjamin Hollander, "Looking for (Mrs) Laura (Riding) Jackson, the anti-socialpeople’s poet, from Jamaica (Queens) to Woodruff Avenue (Brooklyn)" inThe Brooklyn Rail: Critical Perspectiveson Arts, Politics and Culture, 14/7/'15.

Part 6.1::

Making everything I touch
pellucid, clear, bright, plain,
simple, luminous, explicit;
comprehensible, transparent,
pure, limpid, translucent, and
can but try as one engages in
in the act of compression, and
a so very eloquent brevity!!!!1

1In ASurvey of Modernist Poetry, 1927, p.84, co-authored by Robert Graves,she/they write: "The quarrel now is between the reading public and themodernist poet over the definition of clearness. Both agree that perfectclearness is the end of poetry, but the reading public insists that no poetryis clear except what it can understand at a glance; the modernist poet insiststhat the clearness of which the poetic mind is capable demands thought andlanguage of a far greater sensitiveness and complexity than the enlarged readingpublic will permit it to use. To remain true to his conception of what poetryis, he has therefore to run the risk of seeming obscure or freakish, of havingno reading public; even of writing what the reading public refuses to callpoetry, in order to be a poet.

I have become aware of this problem, theproblem of the reading public, in the last three decades, 1985 to 2015, whenmost of my poetry has been written. Oneof my responses has been to remove as much of the obscurity from my work aspossible, but still maintaining a certain academic, serious, somewhat elite-and-exclusive,elevated style and content.

Ron Price
2/2/'15 to 6 /2/'15.
edited by RonPrice on 3/24/2015
3/24/2015 2:04:11 AM

nizam uddin
Posts: 2
3/24/2015 2:02:29 AM
Urdu iqtibas

nizam uddin
Posts: 2
3/23/2015 9:49:01 AM
poetry contest winners

Liya Gonzalez
Posts: 1
hello, i just recently joined poetry soup and one of my poems won a contest. What does that mean?? What happens next?? I am truly happy that I won, but I'm also confused. My poem has a little badge beside it, and i noticed others have the words "Honorable Mention" beside them, which is why I'm asking this question. Any info is greatly appreciated, thanks Wiggle PS- i submitted and won in "Your favorite poem contest" sponsored by: Carol Eastman, a great thanks to her for choosing me as one of the winners, you have motivated me to write even more, THANK YOU!!
3/22/2015 7:22:26 PM
Let me know what you think.

Kiya Kandar
Posts: 1
Trying new things to treat depression and my therapist suggested poetry. Here's my latest one, sorry i dont have a clue!

They come for me,

they come for me,

The thought police and the angels be.

My soul is theirs,

My spirit shared,

For control and hypocrisy.

Save me now,

From life itself,

Give me freedom,

Give me air.

Take my life,

and end my mind,

For justice and mere liberty.

3/20/2015 3:43:43 PM
find a poet of poetrysoup by name

Team PoetrySoup
Posts: 17
depaz.mario wrote:
It is terribly difficult to find poets on poetrysoup. If the name is put in the search case no answer related to petrysoup comes out. In no place except for lifetime members there is a list in alphabetical order of poetrysoup members. Maybe I am wrong, but this is a defect of this site. If i am wrong, please tell me how I can manage this problem I face frequently

Are you using the search field at the TOP of the page? Just type a poet's name in that field.
3/19/2015 1:05:01 PM
find a poet of poetrysoup by name

Mario DE PAZ
Posts: 1
It is terribly difficult to find poets on poetrysoup. If the name is put in the search case no answer related to petrysoup comes out. In no place except for lifetime members there is a list in alphabetical order of poetrysoup members. Maybe I am wrong, but this is a defect of this site. If i am wrong, please tell me how I can manage this problem I face frequently
3/19/2015 10:19:54 AM
Tribute to the Boxer - by Bob Atkinson

Bob Atkinson
Posts: 76
A tribute to Paul Simon's "Homeward Bound"

Home in a Dark Box

- by Bob Atkinson

overarching adventure

grabbed me by an ear

dragging me 'cross a new world

from home to staggered fears

not fears of dissolution

as a being here on earth

merely reduced my shadow to

some small patch of footprint's dirt

made me one of many

who set out to survive

absorbing trust of community

an idea for which we strive

found myself not with good skills

in some situations prearranged

following footsteps of men adept

got lost in life's shell game

endowed with luck of fortune

needed to persevere

or, if you will, continue life

for another year

worked well for me, though always

saw success beyond my grasp

did as well as could have done

based on skills learned in years past

through a time of detachment

fighting hard to make the grade

found survival's cost excessive

in grabbing onto victory's parade

settled then with open arms

a miracle made of stages

thought things could substitute

for my need to propagate creation

traded sense of order

for that time of sad reflection

until my open ended dreams

came back to full fruition

sense of duty well defined

create something that might last

no matter if found useful

do as others did in years past

and now, to that real question

does life penetrate this facade?

or will my time of luxury

end in my grave's dark box?
3/18/2015 12:55:37 PM
The First Kiss

Edmund Linton
Posts: 14
Thank you for the excellent feedback.
3/18/2015 11:16:26 AM
A Poem For The Girl Across The Street

kevin sheltra
Posts: 11
Yeah, good ol' Bukowski. I usually try not to cramp on other peoples styles, everyonce in a while it's fun to try your hand at something you usually don't do. Yeah I'm self published. I tend to write very fast {this poem took all of 5 minutes, no edits}. I've published 3 books of poetry ranging from 175-250 pages each. I've published one novel, and three books of short stories {all at about 300 pages each}. If you look up Kevin Sheltra on Amazon {as well as other places like that} you can see all of my books and whatnot. Last year I actually published 3 books that came out as a sort of trilogy. This year I will have at least two published. My friends joke that by the time I'm 30 {29 now} I'll have written everything that I could ever possibly write and I'll have nothing else to say. I kind of fear that might be the case, lol-K.M
3/18/2015 11:15:35 AM
New here, so, Hello

Ashley Anne Griffey
Posts: 3
me 2
3/18/2015 11:15:27 AM
New here, so, Hello

Ashley Anne Griffey
Posts: 3
Riss Ryker wrote:
fingers crossed Hi everyone! I'm Riss Ryker. Been looking around the site a little bit and I'm really liking it! It's really loaded with stuff! Looking forward to hearing from new writers and hoping for input on my own writing. I believe that a good writing site has equal amounts give and take.
3/18/2015 11:13:51 AM

Ashley Anne Griffey
Posts: 3
17 here any 1 ther?
3/17/2015 7:28:29 PM
A Poem For The Girl Across The Street

Graphite Drug
Posts: 27
No problem. It was a fun read. Bukowski explains it. The first person will turn people off or confuse them if it gets judgmental or opinionated. 250 pages!? Are you self published? Your friends must be prolific readers.
3/17/2015 7:00:07 PM
A Poem For The Girl Across The Street

kevin sheltra
Posts: 11
Hey, thanks for the critique man. Not a confessional, I was just writing and it kind of came out. I can get the sexist part, mostly rather than it being sexiest I used it as a piece where the guy only wants what he doesn't have and then once he has it he's done with it. I tend to have a problem like this {not with women, but in general}. And also I was kind of on a Bukowski kick over that weekend and just felt like writing something I could see him writing. It was a challenge from my wife to write something like that. Thanks so much. Also, I don't really have my friends read my stuff until I publish a book and hand it to them like "here's 250 pages, go crazy"
3/17/2015 5:42:07 AM
Soup Mail

Terry Reeves
Posts: 3
How can I read Soup Mail I have sent to someone after it's sent? I can read mail I've received but not sent. What am I missing? Confusing.
Terry Reeves
3/16/2015 8:18:51 PM
Wired: Feb. 2015 – p. 24 (sonnet)

Graphite Drug
Posts: 27
Wired: Feb. 2015 - p. 24

Rare earth materials in cars and phones
help us hear and travel and stay in touch.
Much of human capital is in loans,
funding needs like a societal crutch.

Every device turns over in a year
to support immediate stock deadlines.
Endless mining is what we have to fear.
Endless growth is feeding our fat felines.

Greenland is our next source of rare earth stock.
When Greenland is depleted, where to go?
Antarctic continent at six-o-clock
is next place to mine for capital flow.

Like retired folks, it will not be long
when new generations find it all gone.

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