Of Poetry and Criticism

    Of Poetry and Criticism

    Aside from identifying typos, issues of line breaks and general technical support or vocabulary
    suggestions, short of acclamations giving another the proverbial critque may not be very supportive.

    The idea of peers writing  criticism to others, without prior agreement, assumes that this act is welcomed by the recipient. In my opinion, at the very least a criticism must be invited or it is nothing less than harassment or a pot shot pure and simple like a bonfire on the living room couch. The reason for this is that opinions tend to be based on the bias of some a self- appointed credential -less critic and I think it’s safe to say almost all art in all forms both traditional and contemporary remain the purview of narrow contrastive interests and opinions with no epistemological overview, i.e., darkening the light with dysfunction.

    Comments other than compliments and encouragement assumes that the critic has
    demonstrated to the recipient substantial evolution and that the recipient
    recognizes the gifts of the critic’s ability to penetrate and give enhanced amplitude to the poetic
    form.  Based on that palpitating recognition a writer may feel there could be a desired progression
    to their work, i.e., a transmission of advanced ideas that seek constructively to evolve the skill of
    the receiver as a torch helps to light the way.

    Many poets are believers in a certain style or worse, remain a slave to a fashion. Their view is
    reinforced by the absence of knowledge of the distinct multiplicity of approaches that pervade the
    world of poetry. Few poets are literary, savvy academics who discerrn the difference
    between say modernism and imagist poets and would  collapse rather  than engage in the vast
    constellation of distinct ideations of poetic forms and iconographies In other words they remain naive and think their peers should conform to their paradigm, possibly the only one they know or value  i.e., a kind of base ethnographic tribal approach to their poetic form.

    As an example:
    Imagine a 17th century classicist encountering progressive jazz or the painter
    of the gesture applying the pedigree of anatomical logic to the monochromed expanses and
    seamless surfaces of color-field painting, or the paradigm of less is more axiomatic of the
    minimalist visual artists contrariant philosophy to the regional landscape painters of the Hudson
    River School or their antecedents, the French impressionist with their voluptuous light dappled
    atmospheric scape paintings.

    While these examples may seem apparent from a kind of historical overview and hindsight, let
    us remember that the history of linguistics itself, the mother of poetry, is a cauldron of unending
    mutations. In fact, it is mutating right now.

    To further complicate things, the general condition of culture remains in large part both
    derivative and in flux simultaneously ie pluralism on pluralism  Paradoxically  frequently modeling yesterday’s form, while struggling towards the inexplicable not yet fully formed expression of tomorrow.

    There is also a *neurolinguistic* component  to the art of criticism, that is the issue of alignment
    between the two writers. In other words, a poet with a strong bent and preference towards
    voluptuous linguistic texture is not helped by the strictured paucity of haiku writing unless they want to change.

    In a deep sense, influencing persuasively is sales and it requires light not heat. No one likes having
    their work torn apart. One of the most illuminated  axioms in the world of sales is
    “tellin aint sellin”.  I would submit that this axiom applies because knowledge of an oeuvre remains
    critical to understanding the patterns and components of a given work as opposed to the reading of a
    single poem.   An enlightened inquiry of intentions may be gleaned and help support
    transformation more than the proverbial offhanded comment ever could, which frequently has a
    funny way of obstructing receptivity.

    In conclusion, most criticism has an element of subjectivity predicated on personal preferences and narrow knowledge of poetry. It is earnest objectivity driven critique expressed through a firm intellectual grasp of aesthetic and historic stylistic predicates that make mentor-ship pertinent and emotionally satisfying


    I ask myself when I get a comment or criticism:-
    Who is the reader?
    How deeply do they read?
    Would I respect their writing?

    Some have a penchant for understatement and find literary devices banal. Others specialize in surreal streams of consciousness replete with symbols and signs. There are some who thrive on voluptuous textural language rich in metaphor that needs to be decoded. Still others write raw, literal, epic emotional poems
    So  when any writer is told they’re  hard to read one day and on another their work went down like melted butter …. or more of this and less of that or more of that and less is more …more or less …..We may ask what is constructive and when are poets stupefied and stultified in the bewiderment of other direction

    Consider This – read and steep yourself in what excites and touches you.  It cultivates your  aesthetic sensibility and instincts and is by far you greatest teacher Write what you love. When critiqued, consider the source. Take what you can use and move on. Shut out the noise. Find your soul and write your write right. Dig deep.  Love the process. Travel the path you believe in, and become aware of the history of alternating ideas, thesis and anti thesis, icons and iconoclasts.

    Tip: in practical self-criticism it helps to confront your uncertainties rather than to try to ignore them.
    They will not go away, and if you do confront them directly it may lead you to a fuller understanding of a poem’s effects.

    *Neurolinguistics is the study of the neural mechanisms in the human brain that control the
    comprehension,production, and acquisition of language.


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