I can't like what I don't understand - John Anderson's Blog

About John Anderson
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I was born under the star sign 'Pisces' and as the saying goes "You can't get over that". I have life-long interests in water, fish, the sea, sailing and everything wet and aquatic. I have a scientific background in the environment and fisheries. I have written extensively on many topics. I have created and manage a gaggle of websites. I have now retired and live in the 'Shark Shack' by the sea near Jervis Bay, on the South Eastern coast of Australia. I sail, fish, walk, dive and swim as much as I can with the motto: 'Diving for Pearls'. My main focus is on didactic poems. I love the poems of Dylan Thomas and my favorite movie is 'Under Milk Wood' (a radio play, made into a film). I also like Les Murray. My website is Poetry Community http://www.poetrycommunity.com.  Cheers! 

I can't like what I don't understand

Blog Posted:8/12/2017 3:08:00 PM

This raises a lot of issues about writing poetry:
=> to be clear and transparent exposes the writer, revealing inner self
=> who is the audience and do they have the background to understand
=> should the poet pose questions rather than providing answers
=> Is the aim to rattle an emotion from the reader
=> like a who-done-it the murderer should never be revealed till the very end, if ever
=> the obvious deserves to be under-stated.
=> poetry is more obscure than prose, that is the way it is meant to be, a puzzle?
What do you think? Cheers!

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Date: 8/16/2017 8:51:00 AM
I believe poetry is largely an expression and a poet should allow his/her audience into his/her thoughts
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Date: 8/15/2017 4:05:00 PM
I frequently like what I don't fully understand. I may like how it makes me feel or how it exudes an emotion, whether it be opera, dance, visual art, sculpture or literature. I can like hyper-realism, too, whether it is poetry or a painting, but I allow myself the freedom to just appreciate art in its various forms. Poets can explore a variety of school/styles and find what works for them. I personally follow the school of thought that poetry should have a degree of ambiguity, not confuse, but INTRIGUE the reader. I enjoy work that stirs the imagination, reworks language. Even journals allow endnotes to clue a reader into the subject or allusions. Titles can be road maps... easy peasy.
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Date: 8/15/2017 9:43:00 AM
nice question John, I suppose there is no right or wrong answer, mostly opinions, a reasoned answer would come from the poem itself, is it a poem written to convey emotion or one that is written to provoke thought, is it written as a description of a scene or memory, maybe written to put a smile on the reader's face, could be the writer had something to say and just needed someone to listen, but like I said no right or wrong answer.
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Date: 8/14/2017 12:26:00 PM
Good conversation John....and tip-o-hat to contributors....for some reason this dialogue brought up a wonderful memory of one of our fallen, here at the soup...Chan H....rip...remarkable mind-stretching art in multiple mediums...a personal inspiration with numerous amazingly artistic tributes here at soup
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James Marshall Goff
Date: 8/14/2017 10:19:00 PM
Hi Rob...Chan passed almost 3yrs ago now...amazingly original artist beloved by long time soupers for his loving heart & multi media genius...his work is still here, "Just That Archaic Poet"
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rob carmack
Date: 8/14/2017 8:32:00 PM
James, I am not sure when Chan passed away, but I have seen that many are fond of him.
Date: 8/13/2017 10:59:00 PM
Andrea - See, that is the beauty of abstracts, you can get such divergent interpretations from them. Yes, they can be weird or off base from the author’s reality, but that is a benefit. It is like clay, I find concrete poems to be clay that has been shaped, carved and dried, we are given it almost complete, all we do is to subjectively paint it. But with abstracts, the clay is only roughly shaped, it is still wet, and subjectively we can shape it, define it, and then paint it. I am not saying abstracts are superior to concrete, only different, more flexible.
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Andrea Dietrich
Date: 8/14/2017 5:18:00 PM
So sweet you always are, Rob. Maslow is one of the great men with whom I would have loved having a conversation on psychology, the field I was going to major in before I realized how difficult it would be!!!
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rob carmack
Date: 8/14/2017 8:41:00 AM
You're welcome, and thank you for being a great friend to me. Your emotional maturity has always impressed me. I think Maslow would have been impressed as well.
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Andrea Dietrich
Date: 8/14/2017 12:47:00 AM
I like realistic art even in paintings. I don't get Picasso fans. Anyway, the world is more interesting for us having our differing views. And some of my best friends , like you, think differently than me! Thanks for being such a great friend!
Date: 8/13/2017 12:15:00 PM
I think telling the obvious is boring..."a beautiful rose-tinged sunset" ...showing...the many paths available..."sundown wakened dreams only shadows dare reflect".. .. the reader may enjoy discovering, is what stays with me...often...what I write, usually upon meditative clearing of distraction...is not even understood by me 'till much later...for me, thats cool man! jimbo
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John lawless
Date: 8/14/2017 7:56:00 AM
James, I often tell people who ask me "what does that poem mean"....."how the hell should I know....you're the one that read it!"
Date: 8/13/2017 10:58:00 AM
one can be clear with imagery such that it makes the mind flash with incredible pictures, yet not reveal a thing / writing for an audience=short sell / I tend to like the questions remaining open for thought / yeah, sometimes the aim is to just get on someone's nerve! lol but I like to have all my senses stirred / who-done-its where the murderer is not revealed are sort of defeating the purpose but if you read a poem that makes you wish to throttle someone, then it's a great write! / understatement leaves more to think about but hyperbole works for certain situations / puzzling is good for thought, with hints. I like variety, so if all poetry ended up looking the same...yawn! :)
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Date: 8/13/2017 10:42:00 AM
what's the point of reading poems that only the poet understands. I switch off immediately no matter how 'intellectual' a poet may think their poem is it is likely to be unfathomable to many people - just my humble opinion of course John:-) hugs jan xx
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Keith Trestrail
Date: 8/15/2017 7:44:00 PM
Sounds like paradise - if they are all mute! lol
Date: 8/15/2017 3:00:00 AM
Yes there's an Isle of women "Just off the coast of Mexico, and only a 20-minute ferry ride from Cancun, is the serene Island of Women — otherwise known as Isla Mujeres." quoted from wiki:-) hugs jan xx
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Keith Trestrail
Date: 8/14/2017 7:33:00 PM
I agree, Jan. There's a fine line between pretentiousness and ambiguity. By the way, is there an Isle of Woman? Jus' asking!
Date: 8/13/2017 3:23:00 AM
Enigmatic poetry is the only type of poetry worth reading... The others are tosh.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 8/15/2017 9:05:00 PM
Maybe, Julia. Who knows? Sometimes, good stuff hits you over the head, obvious though it is.
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John lawless
Date: 8/14/2017 7:48:00 AM
Oh Julia, I beg to disagree. If it had not been for those poems that "haunted" me, those lines that kept trickling through my consciousness awakening new meaning, those thoughts that made me delve into the "enigma" that I am we wouldn't be "conversing" now. I do agree with you that poetry should not be the daily "blue plate special". Always appreciate your input and observations.
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Julia Ward
Date: 8/13/2017 2:23:00 PM
John Lawless - Poetry shouldn't be handed on a plate, but give us something to think about. That is what is meant by enigmatic in the context of poetry. It doesn't mean "haunting" at all!
lawless Avatar
John lawless
Date: 8/13/2017 6:21:00 AM
mysterious, inscrutable, puzzling, mystifying, baffling, perplexing, impenetrable, unfathomable, sphinxlike, Delphic, oracular; cryptic, elliptical, ambiguous, equivocal, paradoxical, obscure, oblique, secret. OK so poetry should be haunting....
Date: 8/12/2017 11:23:00 PM
I prefer abstract over concrete, almost always. It gives a piece, no matter the medium, multi-dimensions. Even if the terminology used, is that of a small audience, the abstract can still appeal to masses. It may result in the piece taking the masses somewhere else from where the author was, but that is ok. I like the freedoms in abstracts.
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Andrea Dietrich
Date: 8/13/2017 6:39:00 PM
Rob, when I think of those who enjoy mysterious poetry, I always think of you! I find it humorous to come across a too mysterious poem at Soup and see the weird comments people are making. It's obvious they don't get it and I am searching for the one who DOES, so that I will know how to comment to the poet. Like Jan says above, I believe most people are turned off by abstract poetry. However, there are those who really love it! And that is fine, Rob. I think you can find publications who would love your work. There are different strokes for different folks all over this world. I like publications such as the magazine "Lucidity" I used to subscribe to.
Date: 8/12/2017 8:51:00 PM
If I do not understand it, I don't like it very much. I hate puzzles. Except for crossword puzzles, I just really hate puzzles,and so for me, that is why I steer clear of poetry that eludes me. Sometimes I will see a poem with very beautiful words or very elegantly written. I can see that a great deal of thought was put into it, but because the writer was overly enigmatic, I can't like the poem. That's just me. I know others with a totally opposite point of view!
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Andrea Dietrich
Date: 8/12/2017 8:53:00 PM
I do enjoy metaphor and personification and the poem does not have to be super obvious. But I think most people can understand what I mean by overly enigmatic.

My Past Blog Posts

I can't like what I don't understand
Date Posted: 8/12/2017 3:08:00 PM
Phrase vs Line as Poem's Quanta
Date Posted: 8/10/2017 5:20:00 PM
Does Poetry Soup Need a SPOON?
Date Posted: 7/29/2017 1:18:00 AM
Grook Poems Worth a Try!
Date Posted: 7/28/2017 7:32:00 PM
Two-Voice Tanka, Thrice Contest Judged
Date Posted: 7/28/2017 5:13:00 PM
New Experimental Form - Tree Poems for Counterpoints
Date Posted: 7/26/2017 12:44:00 AM
What is the Difference Beween Poetry and Prose?
Date Posted: 7/24/2017 6:25:00 PM
Short Poetry Online
Date Posted: 7/14/2017 1:22:00 AM
New Contest Idea - Two-Voice Tanka, Thrice
Date Posted: 6/28/2017 2:25:00 PM
New Form - The BELL
Date Posted: 6/3/2017 2:32:00 PM
Cinquain Express Train Contest Finalized, Toot Toot!
Date Posted: 5/31/2017 1:03:00 AM
Thoughts on Contemporary Poetry, Free Verse Debate
Date Posted: 5/25/2017 4:18:00 PM
Give The Cinquain Form a Try!
Date Posted: 5/24/2017 4:03:00 PM
Be Didactic - Contest Completed
Date Posted: 4/24/2017 9:35:00 PM

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