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Old 01-16-2021, 04:11 AM   #1
Uncle Robin
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Poetry that looks like poetry?

In the introduction to Best Canadian Poetry 2019, the guest editor says, in part
Quote:
a reduced emphasis on style (or, alternately, an intentional choice to mute stylistic elements—ear-catching word choices, rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, etc.—in order to direct all attention to the content at hand). The poems published today say far more, but often say it very plainly. You know those people who get all clenched-up, ranting that “free verse is just prose with line breaks”? If they had joined me in my reading for this anthology, they would have succumbed to apoplexy long before the year was out.
The attached images show what he means. To me, pages like this look like prose. They often don't even have the "line breaks" mentioned in the above quote.

I have no issue with free verse, and don't mind trying this sort of poetry, but I'm assuming it is possible to have contentful poetry that still LOOKS like poetry? The attached screenshots are at the "extremely prosaic" end of the formatting spectrum in the book so far, nevertheless many do look a lot more like prose than verse.

Since I only read on electronic devices, I'm not looking for poetry at the extreme visual art end of the spectrum either, but would be interested in recommendations of accessible poets who pack meaning into a more traditional verse form - and that includes free verse.
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Old 01-16-2021, 07:28 PM   #2
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Are you talking about poets in general, or modern poets. You can always go with books with poems by famous poets or books of famous poems. I've got 101 Great American Poems and The Seashell anthology of Great Poetry. Songs for the Open Road is another I like. Frost, Whitman, Elliot, Longfellow. That's more likely to give you the sort of poems you are looking for.
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Old 01-16-2021, 09:12 PM   #3
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Also, Seamus Heaney, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Margaret Atwood, Robert Pinsky, Frank Bidart.
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:03 PM   #4
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Thank you both! I am more familiar with poets of the Whitman/Frost type era, so I'm especially interested in finding poets from this century who still use that sort of traditional verse structure. If only to give the lie to the assumption implicit in the quote from my original post that it's an either/or kind of thing - either write in traditional form OR write contentful poetry. Certainly Urdu poets of the last century have had no trouble keeping the content of their poems current and relevant while using (often much stricter) traditional forms.

Happily, the small anthology I was reading did have some excellent poems of more traditional forms, and at least one of the very prose-like poems was a satisfying read as poetry. As for poetry as visual art, one poem I started had an "A" at the the top left of its first page and "B" at the the top right. It was only when I clicked to the next page I saw why - Not the sort of poem to be read on an e-reader, sadly
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Old 01-18-2021, 07:07 AM   #5
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William Blake! My favorite poet! If I was to describe him in a few words I think this is what comes to mind. Blake was not an orthodox Christian: he was interested in various sects (he was. e.g. a Swedenborgian) and theories (e.g. Jakob Boehme), he joined and broke with them (I must create my own system, or be enslaved by the system of another), he accused God of indifference, he took up for animals (The dog starved at the gate of the Farm/This augurs the fall and ruin of the State; He who mocks the Infant's Faith/Shall be mock'd in Age & Death), attacked the clergy, demanded free love (yet he did not decide to have a second wife when his current wife did not like the idea), affirmed women and female nudity (Nakedness of women is the work of God) - did he lack the courage for male nudity? It is hard to believe since he was not afraid of any nudity in his painting.

In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell the voice of the Devil says that the Bible is the source of 3 errors when it claims that:
1. man consists of body and soul
2. energy is Evil and comes only from the body, while reason is Good and comes only from the soul
3. God will torment man for indulging in Energy

On the other hand, it would be true (and this is also Blake's own conception) that:
1. the soul and the body are one, for the body is part of the soul and the five senses are its windows
2. energy is life and comes from the body, and the reason is the limitation, the fetter of Energy
3. energy is Eternal Joy
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Old 01-21-2021, 10:59 AM   #6
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I cannot pass up this opportunity to post the incredibly inaugural poem from Biden's swearing-in. While it may "look" like prose, hearing her recitation, you hear the poetry, the meter, the rhythm of it.

"The Hill We Climb" by Amanda Gorman

Quote:
When day comes, we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry, a sea we must wade.
We’ve braved the belly of the beast.
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,
and the norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice.
And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it.
Somehow we do it.
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken,
but simply unfinished.
We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.

And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine,
but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge our union with purpose.
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man.
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew.
That even as we hurt, we hoped.
That even as we tired, we tried.
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.
Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid.
If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made.
That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb, if only we dare.
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit.
It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it.
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
This effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith, we trust,
for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption.
We feared it at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour,
but within it, we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.
So while once we asked, ‘How could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?’ now we assert, ‘How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?’

We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be:
A country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.
We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change, our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left.
With every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the golden hills of the west.
We will rise from the wind-swept north-east where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.
We will rise from the sun-baked south.
We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover.
In every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country,
our people, diverse and beautiful, will emerge, battered and beautiful.
When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

Last edited by astrangerhere; 01-22-2021 at 07:16 AM.
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Old 01-21-2021, 11:58 AM   #7
Uncle Robin
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Thank you! VERY contemporary poetry that looks and feels like traditional poetry. The young woman has definitely made a mark with this, and her performance of it today.
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Old 01-21-2021, 06:56 PM   #8
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She is very impressive.
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