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Friday, December 02, 2005

digressions on poetry, elitism and more ...

to drumz and HN and sammi

...elitist...there is that word...no... do not think am an elitist...but wait...perhaps i am...for i do not tolerate the trite and the imbecilic musings...does that make me an elitist?...am i not within my rights to be selective?

...i am not a diamond person...so what do i know of jewels;)...but wait...yes there are diamonds and jewels...some cut and some uncut...some raw and some polished on this site...so what is the point?

[..."My only gripe with poetry is that its soooo elitest...]

--there is that word again!...elitist...poetry?...well i see how it could be construed as elitist because it does not have mass appeal...hmmmmmm...but then so is shoe polishing...other than when it is done professionally we do not see shoe-shining clubs or fraternities...but am sure there are folks out there who love shining shoes...what am saying is appreciating and enjoying a given chore or activity is usually restricted to a few folks... and it is wrong to fault everyone for not following a certain chore or activity...

...past week there was a programme on cbc radio about this alberta or calgary poet who is translating and popularizing Hafiz to english audiences in north america...Gibran has been a perennial favourite of certain readers in the west...

...poetry appeals to the reader's heart and intellect...though am not sure if it does so simultaneously or even ought to do so simultaneously...though must admit to the strong possibility of a cross-over...

...the lovers swaying under full moon could be listening to what others may describe as mumbo-jumbo...and yet the same folks under a different mood and time frame may be knocked off by gibran or rumi or hafiz or ghalib...

...the point is it is all within...it is we...we open the portals within our selves...and make ourselves receptive to shades and meanings of words, lyrics, thoughts to hit us the way they do...i do not know how else to describe how some words hit me one day...or occasion and not so effectively felt on another...

[..."MOST (again MOST) poets don't say things that are too meaningful. Their skill lies in the ability to give an ordinary thing deep meaning - through eloquence and articulation. The people I mentioned take the deep meaning out of the words and put it in you. They cause the words to guide you to a deep and meaningful place. In essense, they are guiding you to your soul...]

--yes...agreed...take this from another pov...most people talk...converse...municate daily...how much of that communication is deeply meaningful?...

...poetry is no different than everyday writing...their range is from the trite and ordinary to eclectic and soul stirring...but the point i shall emphasize is the reception one's inner self gives to those words...which inner portals are left open by us to receive those messages...remember chancey the gardener in being there?...his words of wisdom were ordinary perceptions and words mostly dealing with weather and garden...given an altogether different meaning by his listeners and benefactors...

...this could be the coincidence factor also...

[..."Poets simply masquerade a regular thing in verse. For some odd reason they take pride in being VAGUE AND USING WORDS UNAVAILABLE TO THE COMMON PERSON!!!!!!...]

--not necessarily...though it does happen...

...to properly ascertain we got to see who is saying it...is it a sophomore poet out to impress his date...or a serious poet who mulls over every single comma and word... take the three poems on this board...harish's...suheil hammad's and the cyberlynching one...and tell me about the word usage...which words are vague and not available to the common person?...actually i would say a common poetry reading person!...

...to me one has to be in a certain receptive mood to receive the poem...admittedly these are three different poems and for me they do not appear to use archaic or difficult words...

...hope this helps...


****

more digressions on poetry

...what is poetry...a verbal snapshot of a moment or feeling...this needs elaboration...

...using an automatic, disposable, manual, cheap, semi-professional or professional camera with or without the use of filters, shades, lights and using a fast or slow film any photographer can capture an object or expression, portrait or landscape on that film...

...assuming that the results turn out fine...that snapshot would show an object, or landscape or a portraiture as captured by that photographer at that moment in time...essentially an unalterable fait-accompli of that photographer's perception, imagination, intuition and feeling...to be conveyed to us thus...

...with appropriate substitutions we can say the same of an artist...using different mediums an artist conveys his intuitive imagination and feelings about the subject matter to us in the form of a canvas or sculpture...

...once the creative process is completed in a photograph, painting or sculpture the creative artist moves on and work of the reader or viewer starts...

...if the reader or viewer is moved by the piece and experiences 'nearly' the same or even 'similar' feelings as that felt by the original creative person than the conveyance and transference is achieved…but it seldom happens this way...

...it is difficult to quantify feelings...and i am discussing this in terms of an individual's response to a creative effort...mainly perhaps each individual reacts differently...but we are moved...that cannot be denied...be it a mysterious smile painted or a looming storm over the horizon or battlefield heroics or a still life or a sunset or a crowded bazaar scene...we are moved...and therein perhaps lies the success of the creator...he has succeeded a transference of some of his original magic...

...now back to poetry...a verbal snapshot of a moment or feeling...

...a poet captures his intuitive feelings in words...he may utilize any of the existing forms available...naz'm, ghazal, mathnavi, musaddas, qaseeda, marcia, eulogy, sonnet, ballad, haiku, blank verse, free verse...and having captured his thoughts in words he may sit on it for ever, sell it, send it to a publication or share with his audience...

...(we will leave why or how the creative force strikes for another time...:)...

...if...the poet has shared his work...and even if he hasn't but is long dead and his work surfaces later...the written word enters the public domain...and once there almost anyone can and do express their views on the written work...

...if their poetry has magic...and this is very difficult to describe...but let me give you my interpretation of magic...their intuition, inspirational outburst, word usage and ideas have a certain universalism...that effusive enduring appeal...the original magic has found resonance with the present reader...this magic transcends space and time...(digression: sir muhammad iqbal...see the article on him by zafar anjum elsewhere...wrote saaray jahaaN say achcha hindustaaN humara...it is sung by school kids in india with emotion and fervour but it is ignored by kids and teachers in Pakistan...to give you a perspective, drumz...it would be as if an American or Mexican poet had penned 'O Canada...'...same easily understood words that evoke diametrically different emotions!...)

...the finished work assumes a life of its own...

...time is the most relevant critic of art...

...when a writer creates...the initial catalyst is NOT a betterment of society, human beings or any other noble ideals...he just wants to a capture a passing magical feeling or thought for eternity...if that is possible…this is simplified as art for arts sake!...

...then there are writers with agenda (read conscience, political or social motivation)...they want to create art with a message...(read social or political awareness)...

...around the second quarter of last century in Urdu literature a movement was born...Taraqqi Pasand Tehreek....(progressive writers movement)...in a nut-shell they wanted art/literature to become subservient...to serve a purpose...what is the use of pen if not used to defend the poor and down-trodden...they asked...why write at all if we cannot ameliorate the conditions of the poor...this new movement acted as a catalyst...and naturally had its proponents and opponents...the latter dusted off the old argument of art for arts sake!...

...both the arguments had some merit...

see...extremism is dangerous even in literature!...and consequently 'moderation' should rule...yeah!...

...i agreed and said the same thing in different words...'They all wrote deep, meaningful works which needed introspection to understand...' we got to keep all internal windows open to let deeper meanings in...and when we do that sometimes even the simplest words assume significant meanings...the diamond comment was in response to 'recognise a jewel...'..

...yes...we must find the truth everywhere...but you missed the point of the imbeciles...once you have observed and learned from someone's mistake (not crossing the road when the traffic is flowing)...you have learned and filed away that lesson...you cannot re-learn the same lesson from another careless jay walker...time to move on to other truths...that was my impatience with imbeciles bit...

...and we are all marked bulls in the arena of life...or pebbles on the shore...or pawns in the eternal chess game...or... call this a learning experience!...

...and HN...universal truths...delisting old brahminical values...changed times...agreed with your observations...minor disagreement with personal word-usage...most people do speak and write differently...personally when i write the usage depends on who is being addressed...sort of like in a chess game one's level rises or sinks unconsciously to the level of the opponent...but have the feeling you are deliberately sitting on the fence...understand that...but would appreciate your and other folks views on the magic and universalism in them old bards that transcends time and space...

a related digression...
May 14, 2001

[... I object to your assumption that commentaries are made to order....An opinion may not require imagination yet it can create a "storm in the sea of gray cells". I apply the same standards for poetry as I do for my columns, or vice versa: that is, regurgitate the inner demons, which are invariably lodged in the mind due to external stimuli, overt or covert....A 'deadline' discipline is akin to waking up at night to jot down urgent and persistent thoughts that do not leave us... the fresh gush has a different resonance altogether ...]

...well...have already admitted my admiration for you and others who excel at newspaper deadline work...and while i take nothing away from those efforts...i think we are talking about two different aspects of writing...first off...will agree that resonance at finishing a piece is one of the great rewards of writing...and there is no denying that...but i was alluding to...if i may...that hard to describe literary impact....longevity? freshness? sac's rawness factor?...(and yes, i agree that is not to be taken as the sole test of any literary effort!)...years ago i read an essay The Onion Eater...unfortunately have forgotten the writer's name...but the impact of that essay still resonates...years ago JFK was shot dead...or Armstrong landed on moon...or Dr. Bernard did the aashiqs of the world a grave injustice by actually transplanting somebody's living throbbing heart...just a random mention of three events that perhaps shaped our lives...now...i recall the events vividly in my mind...but...hard pressed as i am...i cannot recall a single newspaper or magazine writer's news report, article or essay from that time...

2 Comments:

Blogger Amrita said...

t - re: the elitism of poetry... i think the term applies to canon, definitely. but there is a lot of contemporary work - the kind that purists might not look at as 'poetry', in our times it would be hip hop and Eminem - that is very accessible. at present poetry is deemed elitist because nobody 'reads' poetry anymore - not in the masses they used to a couple of hundred years ago anyway. i think all art is susceptible to elitism because all art lives in its time [even if you're said to be 'ahead of your time'] but derives from the past and informs the future.

December 04, 2005 2:10 AM  
Blogger temporal said...

i think all art is susceptible to elitism because all art lives in its time [even if you're said to be 'ahead of your time'] but derives from the past and informs the future

…i prefer to use discernism to elitism…the subjective preponderance of art has an edge not to be ignored because art cannot survive in a vacuum…it has to be relevant in a very subjective sense…having said this i feel humble and irrelevant...art encompasses a wide array of media…most of which i feel is beyond my grasp

December 04, 2005 4:22 PM  

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