Poetic Motivations:76

Poetic Motivations_76

48 Comments

I’m assuming you mean people in general not our circle. Intriguing Davy, at what point does somebody become a Poet. Even folk of limited emotion & intellect can still wake to a sunny morn and smile. They may not be able to articulate that feeling into verse, yet they still feel. Perhaps we are all poets, perhaps not ? Maybe most folk are ‘latent’ poets, which begs the question at the start, what is a poet ? This could be expanded to ‘can you teach someone to be a poet ?’, ‘or release someone’s inner poet ?’
For me you need to have the bricks, cement and a trowel before you even attempt to build a wall, nobody would ever be able to teach me to paint for example, I don’t have the dexterity (even pre-PD) and my mind just doesn’t work that way.
Great start to the week Davy, apologies if I’ve entered unintended territory for a Monday, my comment is more of a Thursday gig I guess.

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    Thank you Nigel and your thoughts fit into any gig. The quote is always at the forefront of my mind and I suppose the root of it is to suggest that anyone can write poetry and it is not just the sole domain of a few. Your thoughts raise the questions about the soul of poetry and the poet. I meet so many people who have a fear of poetry due to its sometimes snobbish image and this prevents them from ever getting their creativity out into the open. Thank you for raising some excellent points Nigel and a few we can bring into Thursday Thoughts.

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Couldn’t agree more, Davy. There’s poetry in us that paper can’t even handle sometimes, as someone said.

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    Thank you Nandita. I loved the way you phrased this and it brings to mind how sometimes it is difficult to put into words our emotions and how we feel. Sometimes the poetry we write can only be a vague reflection of our thoughts and feelings.

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Everybody has a soul & I imagine all souls to be poetic. Granted not everyone is in touch with their poetic soul…but the poet lives there nonetheless. Just some philosophical thoughts for a philosophical poem.๐Ÿ˜€

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    I agree wholeheartedly Gilda and sometimes the poetry can be in art, music, movement. I wonder what would happen if we took all the labels off these things.

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      And there is poetry in the mere beauty of our God connection. Labels do limit us for sure…

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      That is so true Gilda ๐Ÿ™‚

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      I’ve pondered this all morning and the last click to open the lock has come from Gilda’s post & Davy’s reply. I’d simply change ” poetry can be…..” to “art can be in painting, music, movement”. In other words there is an artist in everyone but not necessarily a poet. I take Davy’s point about snobbery in poetry, I personally abhor any form of elitism, but snobbery is rife through all the arts and, not just poetry and is a manifestation of peoples insecurities that is best ignored. I think the perception of poetry as snobbish is a way for people to hit back at something that perhaps makes them feel lacking, a bit like calling the clever and unconventional kids at school Swots, Nerds and Geeks. The difference between the arts is the way our minds work. If we step back from ‘poet’ and replace that with ‘appreciation of poetry’ we find that the number of people who ‘get’ poetry is still very small compared to music, painting and non-poetic literature. Why ? because it, like other arts, requires certain type of brain function to be able to access. And nothing is more specific in it’s brain function requirements than language. Or perhaps a simpler analogy is that whatever combination of neural networks and influence (nature & nurture) we have determines our likes and dislikes. You can’t teach someone to like heavy metal or Dali or Henry Moore anymore than you can teach someone to like poetry, and if you don’t like/get poetry you are unlikely to be able to write it.

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      You raise some excellent points Nigel and ones which will have me pondering for most of the week. The most popular post on my blog is the one asking, what is poetry? and it is still one that has not reached any conclusion. I think from the responses poetry can mean different things to different people and at different times. Thoughts going through my head also include when does poetry become prose and vice versa. And in response to Gina’s thoughts, is poetry an art / science or both. This should keep Thursday Thoughts for some time to come. One of my favourite poetry writing books is one called poemcrazy by Susan Goldridge Wooldridge. She is of the view you can’t teach anyone to write poetry you can only provide the circumstances in which it is likely to occur. I agree that if someone doesn’t like poetry it will be unlikely they will write it.

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      Bit of entanglement Davy, I’ve just got a copy of John Berger’s book ‘ways of seeing’ which is about how think about painting, in essence he says ‘when we see, we are not just looking – we are reading the language of images’ this struck me as very familiar to my own take on art, applying it to poetry, we have an added element of words, letters, sentences, in other words code. On reading poetry we have to decode the words first to get the image to be able to see. I’ll get back on this when I’ve finished it.

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      Would be interested in your thoughts on the book Nigel. Part of my development this year is to explore my motivations for writing and studying poetry. These conversations are helping in a big way. So thank you.

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love the photo you have placed for today’s post, it tells me of travel and adventure and I think that’s what happens when we allow the poetry in us to flow freely, we go on an adventure through words and emotions and creativity knows no bounds. being in a poetry club here I have come across the most unlikely souls to have such deep love and passion for poetry, people who don’t work in the arts, with very logical or methodical jobs, but when sat at a poetry meet unleash their hidden talent and flair.

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Hmmm. Iโ€™m not sure. I love your poem and the hopefulness it implies. But, Iโ€™m not sure I agree. I think there is beauty in all of us, or most of us. But, not necessarily Poetry.
For example,Iโ€™m a prose writer, not a poet. I can teach poetry and Iโ€™ve written poetry. Some pieces are quite nice. But Iโ€™m not a poet. In fact, if I wrote a spoken word poem right now, the repetitive chorus in between each stanza would say, โ€œIโ€™m not a poet.โ€.
Why? Because I think in prose. Poets think in verse like artists think in colors and shapes. I suppose it would be your definition of what you deem Poetry to be. Iโ€™ve had a classroom full of students and I promised them all Iโ€™d turn them into writers. I could do that. But only a few each year were really poets. All, however, left my room falling in love with words. So…you decide if they were poets. I think thereโ€™s a difference. When Iโ€™m inspired I write a story. When I was young I wrote a poem and turned it into music. Hmmm, perhaps thereโ€™s a poet lurking in my subconscious after all.

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    You see Lesley, I just planted the thought and seed and you poured water on it and it grew ๐Ÿ™‚ I suppose it all depends on what we define as poetry and likewise prose. What would happen if we took the labels off everything and just called it writing. Very interesting thoughts Lesley and ones I will mull over through this week. I am thinking we could teach someone the patterns of iambic pentameter, sonnets, haiku etc but would the end result be poetry or just mechanical prose?

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      Yes! Exactly. I had to teach narrative and expository essay writing for state tests and so I did. I taught poetry too, and all the forms receding plenty of studentsโ€™ work. I used my drama background with improvisation to develop sensory awareness and subtext so the children all became good writers. They could think and write on command like an actor can feel emotion on demand. ( tests required they think, plan, write and edit in 45 min.)
      They all did well, but some had writing in their hearts and others turned it into an algebraic equation to get top results. There IS a difference.

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      Your experience suggests Lesley that maybe some people are born to write and others not. Do you think it is something that has to be embedded at an early age? I picked up my love of poetry and writing from my parents who nurtured my passion from an early age. I passed other subjects at school but felt it was more about being mechanical than having a love for the subject, so I agree with you.

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      Davy while environment certainly enhances a person’s interest in writing it think it is the chemical make-up of the brain that determines whether someone is truly a writer or not. I was trained not only in elementary education but in gifted education. (The top 98 or 99% intellectually.) In studying that I had to take courses on how the brain works. Right brain, left brain, Learning styles etc. We all learn and process information differently. A visual learner learns best by seeing, an auditory learner, best by hearing and a kinesthetic learning best by doing. MOST of us favor one learning style over another, but fluctuate and use both sides of the brain. However, what I learned is that students with a propensity or talent for math, patterns, etc, don’t usually have the best writing skills. They can see architectural structures, patterns, do math in their head, I found that most of them find writing a paragraph difficult. Rather like speaking another language. They learn to do it but don’t enjoy it. So, I devised a mathematical formula for them so it would be fun. These were kids were brilliant, but found writing to be their nemesis, so my challenge was how would I make them love it enough so that it wouldn’t be torturous for them to learn. (I am ALL about joyful learning in the classroom.) For those children I presented writing as an equation and gave them the basics of what they needed to have a perfect formula. They started out slowly and complied. THEN, as I taught the children dramatic improvisation and sensory awareness (example: most kids in Florida have never seen snow. And a large part of our population is from South America or Cuba and have never seen it either.) So, I would bring large amounts of ice and have a snow day. They had to feel it, play in it, eat snow cones etc. Then we brainstormed all the emotions and sensory words about what the ice smelled like, the touch of the cold on our fingers… could they hear the crunch of the ice under their feet, the taste of the snow cones slithering down their throats? Did any get a cold headache etc. THOSE children needed to experience it and then they each wrote about it. Both right and left brained students could easily put on paper what they had just experienced. I found that as long as they thought about words as a part of their senses they could do it. Right brained children process this naturally.It just happens with them. Left brained students must have the experience first or it doesn’t seem to compute.

      So I think the key is that having an experience makes writing easier. So, yes environment, good parenting helps. But, the way people are wired makes them a writer and a poet. An artist! Musicians hear music in their head. Actors see everything around them as a film or a play, poets imagine emotions as words. And mathematicians see words as numbers.
      I wrote a paper on this when I was getting my Masters in gifted education.
      I am an ok writer and have a NEED to write. It doesn’t make me Shakespeare, just a person who is compelled to put emotions into words. My brother on the other hand is an attorney who has an appreciation for literature but doesn’t like to write. He isn’t wired that way. His vocabulary is much larger than mine, but he doesn’t have the flair or the magic. BUT… He handed me Pride and Prejudice when I was 16 and told me I would relate to Elizabeth Bennet. He gave my my first book of Shakespearean sonnets. Everyone can develop of a love for well written works. But not everyone is a writer. Does that answer your question? Sorry…. I can’t seem to answer anything in a sentence or two….. sigh…..

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      Davy, so sorry about so many grammatical errors. My iPhone is playing havoc with me….

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      Never noticed them Lesley ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

      Very interesting thoughts Lesley and if more teachers were like you I think the learning experience would be much better. It is is an interesting conversation as to what we are drawn to. I recently read the book, Each Word Is A Bird We Teach To Sing, by Daniel Tammet. He is high function autistic and from an early age saw the world in numbers, but he has adapted this to become a best selling author. I suppose there are no right and wrong answers and there is more about the brain and behaviour we still have to discover.

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    Hey Leslie,
    So, you don’t hear the babbling brook whispering to you on the summer breeze, reminding you of dreams that are fading away? Ha! Sorrow! Couldn’t resist!

    I read Davy’s post and had some of the very same thoughts but think it is true but in a certain way. Most people don’t think they can draw either but if you can write your name in cursive you can draw! You just need to learn to see in the way an artist does so they can capture the lines and angles (if you teach, you should read “Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain” – see Amazon reviews). So is there an artist in all of us? Yes, but the art may never get out. I think this is true for poetry also. You might find “Poemcrazy – Freeing Your Life With Words” an excellent aid in helping your students learn how to write poetry. I fell in love with poetry from an English assignment in high school where we had to write 3 poems. Poetry doesn’t have to be just sing-songy rhyming!
    Chuck
    Come read my post “I Am Not A Poet” inspired by a post by Davy!

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      Hi Reluctant poet. Oh yes, I most certainly hear the babbling brook, and quite loudly, not in whispers. LOL. I have synesthesia so reading and hearing words elicits distinct sounds, tastes, smells etc. (I didn’t know what was wrong with me until my grandson as a toddler would confuse the color red with the number 1 and the letter C.) As I investigated I discovered he had synesthesia. (A blending of the senses). Most artists have it, many writers do, often actors possess it etc. I have always had it, I just didn’t know what it was. (Now, it is taught when you take gifted classes because it is prevalent in gifted and talented children.) It was helpful as a writing teacher because I could vividly describe words to the chidren.

      But I I still don’t consider myself a poet. I AM lyrical, however, so I suppose I am just speaking in semantic terms. I love poetry. I was madly in love with Lord Byron and Keats in college and if I could have traveled back in time I would have run away with either of them during their life time just to hear them recite a poem or two. And I had dreams of actually sitting down with Will Shakespeare and discussing his female characters with him. Oh to have known what motivated his genius…. As I played them on stage I wanted to speak to him and yet I felt I was doing just that through his words. Except for Ophelia. She was such a wimp. I never quite understood her nor did I ever want to play her.

      I actually have the book “Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain”. In fact, I started out in college as an art major. (Now that I am retired I am once again sketching doing pen and ink now with permanent markers and water color pencils. (The art products available now are so amazing!!! My calligraphy used to run if it got wet but now with permanent markers the lettering stays intact!)
      And during my 36 year teaching career my bulletin boards were always hand drawn. Most of the time I did them in 3-D. So, I consider myself a creative artist. Just not necessarily a poet. I am a writer, an artist, an actress, a teacher, a former musician and a million other things…. all in the area of the arts. My right brain over flowith. hahaha And oh goodness yes, rhyming poems??? Ugh. I dislike those intensely. As far as I am concerned rhyming is good for limericks, nonsense poetry, and for primary school children. Beyond that, free verse is the only way to go.

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    Lesley, Have really enjoyed all of your comments to this post! Loved the idea of “Joyful Learning”. That’s what we tried to instill in our kids – the love of learning! School was so much easier for them because of that concept.

    It feels like only some people have the ability to write, paint or play music but I have come to believe after reading “Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain” that this isn’t really true. It just appears to be true because we tend to only do those things that we love and are good at. I think your examples of making writing fun for left brained kids is proof of that. One of the great ways to prove that kids who think they can’t draw is to turn a line drawing upside down and have them draw it. Amazingly most kids can. Most of us loved to draw as kids but when we got to the point that our results were no longer pleasing to us we stopped. With the proper training of the eye and mind just about everyone can learn to draw. The same type of learning can happen with writing too. I loved your explanation of how actors see the details of a scene. I think writers actually do the same to some degree. I like to close my eyes and visualize a scene and mood and then write it down as I dream it to be. Your experiment with snow was brilliant. Taking the senses into the process makes it more real and fun. I think if kids could be shown that if they visualize a scene they can then write about it more easily.

    If you work with math inclined kids you might want to get them into learning piano. It’s a wonderful blend of right and left brain and involves math too. You should check out the studies that show kids that take up piano do better educationally.
    Great sharing with you!
    Chuck

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I like this, Davy. I think of poetry as an art form and we all have a little in us. Whether or not we apply it is a different matter.

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Davy, reading all answers there isn’t much more to say. We all agree that it isn’t easy or even right to define just the word poet.
We are born with longings and dreams and they want to express themselves. Often in music, painting, wood carving, sculpting…there are so many forms.
Poetry is one form and I guess I could say I am a scribbler who seems to use verse. I actually also love painting with oils. ๐Ÿ˜Šโค๏ธ . And baking …..,
used to do exquisite embroidery, not time any more.
So there you go, a manyworded non answer. grin.
miriam

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Davy, such great responses to this post proves that to be a poet means to have passion. Some in rhythmic words, others in prose, dance, painting, or cooking. I will leave it up to the experts to determine the definition of poetry. But for me, anything that can convey emotions can be called poetry. Example; President Trump uses twitter to inspire emotions in his followers. Whether the emotion is good or bad is not relevant. Is he a poet? …I believe he is.

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    Oh boy, you had me until you mentioned he who shall remain nameless . Iโ€™ll refrain from referring to 45 Lol. Let me just say that Stepping on a nail creates emotion too but it is not poetry until talent weaves it together just so. Nope, those tweets are the ignorant rantings of a madman. If thatโ€™s poetry than call me Will Shakespeare. ๐Ÿ™€๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜„

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      How else can the orange man, who has been fact checked to have told 2006 lies since taking the oath of office, still get so many millions to follow him blindly. I stand by my statement, no matter how many trips to the bathroom it takes, and say that he is a poet of political lying. He has almost elevated it to an art form.

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    And isn’t there a book Jerry titled the Poems of Donald Trump ๐Ÿ™‚ You raise a good point here Jerry, it all depends how we define poetry. It is an argument that has been raging for centuries and no doubt will continue for many more.

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Backyardpoet, We will have to lyrically disagree. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I respectfully think you give him much too much credit. An artist tends to know when heโ€™s creating something . A pathological liar and sociopath lacks the sensitivity to be elevated to that status. 45โ€™s form of mental illness is not like that of Edgar Allan Poe, or Van Gogh who were perceived as ill but their genius seeped through in spite of their challenges. Your response and idea is brilliantly clever BTW. But, I just canโ€™t conceive as evil being art. In the same way I cannot find Hitler or Jack the Ripper poetic.
Ann Riceโ€™s vampire Lestat was poetically evil and her descriptions of his dastardly deeds read like silk flowing across the pages of her novels. But he is fiction. I cannot find poetry in real people who harm others. So, I suppose I find goodness in creative artists. And therein lies the difference in my mind. But, I do see where you are coming from.

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I love how different people express their souls (and emotions) in different ways…music, art, writing, building, speaking, teaching, etc. ๐Ÿ™‚
Of course, I have a special love of poets!
Great photo and quote pairing, Davy!
HUGS!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Davy, Congratulations on stirring it up again! So much fun! Loved your Graphic. Looks like a perfect format for presenting more of your work.

I will have to agree with your premise and think it is true, but I think there is an assumption included that is not, just my opinion. So we may be poets and there may be poetry in all of us – BUT if it doesn’t get written, put in a tangible form and then read or performed its’ not really poetry is it? Just words in our head? Is a poem really a poem until it’s shared? Hmmm. Thanks for this post! Love it.
Chuck

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we are. art is subjective and limitless.

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Poetry comes in many forms, we only need to open our eyes and look for the beauty.

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